Editor’s Note: Today’s guest post is from Jason Lauritsen, author of “Unlocking High Performance: How to use performance management to engage and empower employees to reach their full potential.” We highly recommend his book for the #HRBookClub and all leaders who want to fix work. Come learn what the book is all about!
There’s been a lot of talk over the past few years about “humanizing” work. It’s a long overdue discussion because far too many people are suffering through a dreadful experience of work day after day. It doesn’t need to be this way.
Making work more human is a noble and worthwhile pursuit. As we embark on that journey, we must not forget the reason “work” exists in the first place: performance. Performance is imperative. Without it, the organization (and all the work) will soon be gone.
“Unlocking High Performance” illuminates how to achieve both of these critical goals: to create a work experience that feels great to employees while also supporting them in performing up to their potential. This book was written for those who know work isn’t working and are ready to do something about it.
It attempts to answer three questions:
- How did we get performance management and employee experience so wrong?
- What needs to be done to fix it?
- How can you take action to transform your team or organization?
Section 1 helps to explain why work isn’t working for so many employees today. You will discover that while most employers treat work as a contract to be enforced with employees, those employees actually experiences work as a relationship. This disconnect is at the heart of what needs to change.
The solution is to redesign the work experience to feel like a healthy, positive relationship for employees. The most powerful way to consistently create an employee experience like this that supports and enhances performance is to develop a set of processes that act as an operating system for how work happens at your organization–a performance management system.
Sections 2-4 explain and unpack the core processes of an effective performance management system: planning, cultivation, and accountability.
- Planning is made up of the processes and approaches that clarify the what, why and how of the work experience.
- Cultivation is about creating the employee experience that meets core human and relationship needs to unlock our full potential.
- Accountability processes create transparency of impact, encourage ownership of failure to learn from experience, and resolve issues quickly.
These sections help you gain a deep, research-supported understanding of each set of processes that is supplemented by case studies from organizations who are already proving what’s possible.
Section 5 helps you put all the pieces together to drive change within your organization. You’ll learn both how to affect immediate change and how to use a proven design process to facilitate organization level change. This section also shares some case studies from organizations about how they managed the change process successfully as they evolved their approach to performance management.
In summary, this is not a book for those who are content with the status quo. It will change how you think about work in a way that will compel you to action. And just when you decide that something needs to change, it will equip you to find the right path forward.
It’s (past) time to fix work. Let’s do it together.