The beginning or the end of an Annual Performance Cycle can be a dreaded moment for both employees and managers alike. Most of the objectives typically set during these cycles have become obsolete by the time they must be reviewed and graded.
Change is the only constant in a year-long company’s journey. A vision can end up being altered, a new manager might have joined the business in the meantime or even a pandemic might have struck us all. Therefore there is a need for real tangible objectives that can propel both the company and the employee forward.
So what is the only currency that keeps on compounding interests if properly invested in people? Knowledge.
Knowledge is both the core of the business and the core of an employee’s value.
Yet, it is rarely present in performance reviews, be it at the team or individual level. We often assume it will take care of itself if we keep people happy and challenged.
We solely notice the company’s shortcomings on that front when people join or leave the company.
Knowledge Must Be Part of the Performance Appraisal.
So how do we bring this pressing and timeless issue to the forefront of employees’ development?
- First, there is a need to educate People Managers to become enablers of knowledge for their teams and agents of the knowledge strategy.
- Second, each employee, or team member must become both a producer of knowledge and a consumer at the same time.
- Third, employees and managers must become knowledge curators to maintain, enhance and retain this knowledge.
Foster high team performance in 3 steps
Make your People Managers become Knowledge Enablers
People Managers, at knowledge companies, are responsible for the most important asset, the People.
Within very experienced teams, members tend to retain a lot of knowledge accumulated over the years on a variety of technical, process, or business topics.
Therefore, knowing who knows what within the teams seems to be enough for the manager to feel reassured that critical knowledge is in good hands.
But when the business world is suddenly pushed to work remotely, and physical distance between employees grows, what do you do?
It becomes critical to have a properly mapped and transferable knowledge. You need the best knowledge management system for your business.
To achieve that, People Managers must enable the flow of knowledge in the company. To make this happen, they need to clearly identify who is knowledgeable and in what. The easiest part is to map what the employee is currently busy with, what her current responsibilities entail or which domain falls under her ownership.
But the deep knowledge is often nested one step further, in the years that have preceded her current role, either within this company or within previous ones. This knowledge is less obvious but no less critical to identify.
People managers have to accelerate the serendipity of knowledge creation. They must encourage employees to share knowledge with each other and give them the tools to do so in whatever format fits the need.
To do so, incentivizing employees to share and co-create knowledge together should be a key factor in performance goals and appraisals.
Make sure your employees consume AND produce knowledge
Employees and team members are producing knowledge all day long, should they notice it or not.
- When a project is being worked on, knowledge is created.
- When an employee chooses to alter a process to get to the goal more effectively and efficiently, knowledge is created.
- When an employee addresses a customer’s concern in a smart way, knowledge is created.
This knowledge is critical, no matter the context:
- When it helps the business moving faster.
- When it delivers more value for the customer.
- When it engages the team.
Employees need to be given the time and room to produce, capture but also consume this knowledge.
Empower everyone to become Knowledge Curators
With the people managers as knowledge enablers and team members as producers and consumers, a virtuous curation cycle is created.
Through properly crafted knowledge objectives in the yearly cycles, employees and managers alike can start tackling the curation of knowledge together.
Defining together specific locations to store, and access this knowledge at will in different formats (such as video, audio, or even written) is a critical objective to tackle.
But creating moments like recurring team events, or book club-like scenarios to share and build upon this knowledge is a game-changer in creating a learning organization.
So now that you are aware of the importance of setting knowledge-based objectives, whether you are a team member or a manager, how can you put them in place? Because it is always the hardest to start, we have put together a template that you can use to get inspired and set your own objectives with your team.
Remember, knowledge must be part of the performance appraisal.