Time is a scarce commodity for everyone, and managers are no exception. With this in mind, this article delves into the challenge to find time to manage performance right, offering practical tips and strategies to help managers reclaim their time and prioritize performance management effectively.

It’s a significant challenge to managers to prioritize performance management amidst the demands of their own work, daily meetings, special projects, and also reporting to senior management. In fact, many managers question how much time and effort they should dedicate to performance management and where that time comes from.

A study by Harvard Business Review revealed that managers allocate their time in the following manner:

  • 54% on administrative tasks
  • 30% on problem-solving and collaboration
  • 10% on strategy and innovation
  • 7% on developing employees and engaging with stakeholders

This distribution of time seems somewhat counterintuitive, because how can managers improve the team’s performance if they’re dedicating only 7% of their time to developing their people?

Indeed, managers need to find a balance in their roles, and the overwhelming amount of performance paperwork is hindering their efforts.

Strategies to find time to manage performance properly

Effectively managing performance requires careful planning and allocation of time: while it can be challenging to balance it with other responsibilities, adopting strategic approaches can help you find the time needed. Here are some tips:

1. Prioritize your people: Recognize the importance of performance management and make it a priority in your schedule.

2. Schedule Regular Check-Ins: Use weekly digital (or asynchronous) check-ins and monthly 1:1 meetings with your team members as these interactions provide ongoing feedback, goal updates, and concern addressing.

3. Time Blocking: Use time-blocking techniques to create slots in your calendar for performance management.

4. Use Technology: Leverage performance management software like Zensai to streamline the process, making it more efficient and allowing you to manage tasks more effectively.

5. Delegate: Delegate non-critical tasks, freeing up your time to focus on performance management activities.

6. Set expectations: Communicate the time you dedicate to performance management. This sets expectations and underscores the importance of their active participation.

7. Combine activities: Whenever possible, combine performance management tasks with other related activities. For instance, incorporate feedback discussions into regular meetings.

8. Break tasks down: Divide performance management tasks into smaller, manageable steps. This makes them easier to fit into your schedule.

9. Be efficient: During 1:1 meetings, focus on essential topics, use agendas, and encourage concise discussions to make the most of the time available.

10. Adopt a continuous approach: Integrate time for performance management into your daily routine. This promotes ongoing feedback and avoids extensive time blocks.

11. Flexibility: Be open to adapting your schedule based on urgent matters. Flexibility is key.

12. Leverage support: Involve HR or other colleagues in the performance management process, sharing the responsibilities and lightening your workload.

13. Reflect and evaluate: Regularly review how you’re managing your time and adjust your approach.

Investing time in people is investing in the organisation

While the initial statistics might seem daunting, remember, change is possible. By prioritizing your people, implementing these practical strategies, and utilizing technology like Zensai, you can finally transform your approach to performance management.

In other words, don’t underestimate the impact of small, consistent actions. Regular check-ins, focused discussions, and efficient time management can significantly improve team performance and engagement. Finally, remember: your investment in your people directly translates to the success of your organisation.

Embrace a continuous learning mindset and reflect on your progress, and above all: don’t be afraid to experiment and adapt your approach based on your unique context and needs.

When you reclaim your time and commit to effective performance management, you’re not just ticking a box; you’re building a thriving, high-performing team that fuels your organization’s success.