What makes a high-performing team?
Here at ChartHop, the answer is two-fold: First, high-performing teams are performance-focused. These are the teams that consistently hit their goals, drive revenue, and increase productivity. But that’s not all they do -- high-performing teams also fit seamlessly into the rich, diverse fabric of a company’s culture. In addition to being productive, they’re also highly engaged and collaborate effectively with one another, as well as the rest of the organization.
Especially in the age of remote work, managers need to acknowledge that performance and engagement aren’t mutually exclusive. They can’t exist without each other -- disengaged teams won’t drive the results they’re expected to drive, which will impede the success of the overall organization. In fact, Gallup reports that highly connected, collaborative teams increase profitability by 21% over disjointed teams, leaving too much at stake to not prioritize employee engagement.
So, on top of managers successfully leading teams remotely -- something they’ve been thrust into almost exclusively since the start of the pandemic -- how can they cultivate and support their own high-performing teams?
While there’s no single, definitive answer, an effective performance management strategy is a place to start. Teams need to understand their objectives, feel supported by their leaders, and have a way to own their growth -- all things a robust performance management strategy can do.
Below, business leaders share their insights on how they use performance management to foster high-performing teams. Managers, keep reading for tips on leading with confidence, too.
5 Ways Real Leaders Use Performance Management to Support High-Performing Teams
1. Consolidate Team Data
Managers have a lot on their plates. Between working through a pandemic and acclimating to remote work, they’re juggling a litany of different apps and technologies to support their high-performing teams.
“With the move to more flexible, more rapidly responding organizations comes the need for a better system of record and a better data strategy,” says our own Founder and CEO, Ian White. “If you're working across the globe in a flexible, remote model, you need to be able to understand, centralize, and unlock the digital map of your organization.”
Ian is right. Managers don’t need another platform -- they need one platform to consolidate and leverage all of their data, to work swiftly and effectively.
With a performance management platform like ChartHop, managers can collect and centralize data from disparate team systems and store it in one, shareable place. From a management perspective, leaders can access and share an arsenal of data to use to make more-informed team decisions around hiring, skills analyses, and budget.
With the move to more flexible, more rapidly responding organizations comes the need for a better system of record and a better data strategy. If you're working across the globe in a flexible, remote model, you need to be able to understand, centralize, and unlock the digital map of your organization.
Ian White, CEO & Founder @ ChartHop
It’s also helpful when sharing information with employees. Since managers can’t pop over to desks in-person, having data and updates ready to share with the click of a button streamlines communication and makes their jobs that much easier.
2. Align Team OKRs With Business Objectives
High-performing teams need to know exactly how they contribute to overall business success.
This means managers need to explicitly share their company’s overarching mission and goals, so teams have a holistic understanding of where the company is headed and how they individually fit in.
Performance management platforms like ChartHop also give managers a tool to track team and individual performance. Our friends at Sapling, for example, customize OKRs and set distinct output-related goals.
“When working remotely, it’s best to look at a team member's contributions to a department’s OKRs or KPIs rather than this ‘always available’ mindset,” says Kevin O'Connell, Head of Marketing at Sapling.
Managers: remember productivity doesn’t come without engagement. Growth isn’t always measured by output, especially during a pandemic that can be mentally taxing. Be sure to set cultural OKRs for your high-performing team members, too, to inspire things like professional development, leadership opportunities, and personal growth.
When working remotely, it’s best to look at a team member's contributions to a department’s OKRs or KPIs rather than this ‘always available’ mindset.
Kevin O'Connell, Head of Marketing @ Sapling
3. Provide Team Members With A Self-Service Platform
Rather than constantly having to tap their managers for feedback or track down HR to answer questions, high-performing teams need to be empowered to access the information they need when they need it.
“As companies look towards the future, they need to have more investment in knowledge bases where people can retrieve data information in a self-serve kind of way,” explains White.
With ChartHop, every employee has the context they need to own their professional growth: performance history, 1:1 forms, compensation package, and more.
A performance management platform like ChartHop empowers high-performing teams to take their career paths into their own hands. In addition to seeing their personalized OKRs and KPIs, employees can access, document, and leverage historical performance data, professional development completion rates, feedback from 1:1s, compensation packages, and more.
Even new employees who are joining a company can quickly get up to speed by having access to their job descriptions, personalized 30/60/90-day plans, reporting structures, onboarding tasks, team OKRs and more -- all by the start of their first day.
As companies look towards the future, they need to have more investment in knowledge bases where people can retrieve data information in a self-serve kind of way.
Ian White, CEO & Founder @ ChartHop
In essence: ChartHop serves as a system of record for high-performers, one that allows them to completely own their growth. So, come performance review time, they have a resource to showcase their successes and advocate for themselves.
4. Communicate Openly and Often
We are working through unprecedented times. Especially in a remote setting, communicating openly and effectively can help your team members feel supported to do their best work.
For starters, schedule regular weekly 1:1s with your team members over Skype, Zoom or Google Hangout. From there, set an agenda and use these meetings to have candid conversations with your employees: What roadblocks are impeding success? What areas of growth can they focus on? How have OKRs or KPIs shifted since they first started, and are they on-track to hit them? With ChartHop, you can document and share 1:1 feedback directly with individuals before and after meetings, giving everyone a record to work from.
While these meetings are slated to discuss work, it’s okay to embrace honesty and, in some cases, vulnerability. Our friends at Figma recognize the toll the pandemic is taking on employees, and in turn, are going the extra mile to support their people through candor.
“Sometimes managers feel like they have to put on a facade of, ‘Everything’s great’... when in reality it’s not,” says Nadia Singer, Director of Talent. “Have those conversations with your reports because it conveys to them that you’re human and you can support them not just as an employee, but as a person.”
Be honest with your people, and escalate that feedback up through leadership when applicable. Having earnest, human conversations with your employees empowers you to advocate for them, which helps everybody in the long run.
Sometimes managers feel like they have to put on a facade of, ‘Everything’s great’... when in reality it’s not. Have those conversations with your reports because it conveys to them that you’re human and you can support them not just as an employee, but as a person.
Nadia Singer, Director of Talent @ Figma
5. Inform Decisions With Data
For managers, access to data leads to more-informed decisions about how to support their teams. Regularly use insights to your advantage to get a sense of how high-performing teams are working and what improvements could be made.
ChartHop enables custom reporting so that you can slice and dice your performance data by virtually any parameter.
With ChartHop, you can take full control of your performance management data to maximize decision-making. This goes beyond seeing how OKRs are being met -- ChartHop allows you to create custom reports on virtually any metric, including promotion and raise rates, how much budget is being spent, what engagement levels and eNPS scores look like, and other valuable performance analytics.
But you also need to look beyond your team for important insights. Especially when addressing engagement and employee satisfaction, large scale company trends and HR insights can point to individual problems.
“Once you slice and dice the data to different demographics you might actually find that there are certain groups of employees that need additional support,” explains Maria Barrera, ChartHop’s Head of Partnerships & Growth . “It may not come up on the individual basis but when you look at the whole group, you may start seeing some trends.”
Work with HR leaders to look into aggregate engagement trends and use benchmarks to pinpoint areas for improvement, address issues, and enact team-wide change as needed.
Once you slice and dice the data to different demographics you might actually find that there are certain groups of employees that need additional support. It may not come up on the individual basis but when you look at the whole group, you may start seeing some trends.
Maria Barrera, Head of Partnerships & Growth @ ChartHop
Build and Support Your Dream Team
A productive team is an engaged team, and vice versa. Whatever management style you have, know inspiring performance starts with fostering engagement.
But success doesn’t happen overnight, nor does it end with these five tips. If you want to create a high-performing team, you need to continuously engage, align and support your people. That, with the help of modern technology and robust performance management tools, will take you one step closer to managing your dream team.