Create right habits for a true High-Performance culture

“We are really competing against ourselves, we have no control over how other people perform.” 

– Pete Cashmore, CEO Mashable1

In today’s world of globalization and competition, Darwin’s theory about “survival of the fittest” stands true for the organizational setting as well. An organization’s performance defines the success it will achieve. Thus, performance management becomes essential for companies. However, the right way of implementation is still an issue. According to a survey by Wills Towers Watson, 96% of respondents feel performance management is important and only 64% said that these are effective2. A Trinet and Wakefield survey stated that 74% of millennials feel they are “in the dark” about their performance. About 25% of employees leave due to lack of recognition. About 72% believe their performance would improve if proper feedback processes were in place3. Clearly, something somewhere is missing.

The need is to identify techniques that will act as an ingredient to forming a high-performance culture. This is possible by promoting quality work, feedback channels, and rewards for high performers. Large Organisations such as Google, Apple, all have these practices in place. Their prime focus is quality products, which their employees are devoted to providing. There are performance review channels, which give space to provide feedback. Finally, these companies invest in their employees because they take the company’s overall competence to a higher level. Thus, when companies invest in their culture, they are increasing their employees’ performance as a result.

The cycle of high-performance

“Talent is the multiplier. The more energy and attention you invest in it, the greater the yield.”

– Marcus Buckingham4

Employing and retaining a high-performing staff is the stepping-stone for building a foundation. If the right techniques and procedures are absent, either employee performance will drop, or employee turnover would increase. Thus, the cycle of high-performance becomes a focal point.

Cycle of High-Performance
  1. Quality Work: Are your employees just getting done with their work or are they invested in it? The answer will define the quality of work. It is important for companies to promote an environment that does not compromise on work quality. Why are customers willing to pay more for items they can find for a lower price? Even while buying the smallest things, why do people always ask if the product is of quality? Why is there a hallmark in gold jewelry? To declare its quality. The fact of the matter is, we all look for quality in everything. It is no different for organizations. They should encourage the employees to keep striving for better. Each step taken towards strengthening quality will result in success.
  2. Performance Feedback: Many companies are following this practice and understand that providing feedback is of vital importance. According to a survey by PwC, 60% wished for feedback on a daily or a weekly basis, and the percentage increased to 72% for people under the age of 305. Employees want to improve and enhance their skills. However, they cannot improve in the absence of proper feedback. According to Zenger and Folkman’s survey, 92% said that negative feedback is helpful if given in a constructive manner. Thus, performance feedback becomes an enabler for employees to enhance their work performance6.
  3. Rewards and Recognition: Operant Conditioning is a psychological theory that has proven that people can learn behaviors through association. For example, parents reward their children when they behave well. In return, children feel good and continue with the rewarded behaviors. How to incorporate it in an organization? By associating good behaviors with rewards and recognition. Employees will perform well if their company acknowledges these behaviors. Once an effective system of feedback is in place, companies should focus on rewarding high performers. To motivate and encourage employees to continue with good work is essential. Rewards are an effective tool that can contribute to enhance employee’s productivity and motivate others to perform well. In a study, 39% of employees said they feel unappreciated in their jobs, and 77% stated that they would work harder if employers would recognize their work. Furthermore, 42% of employees look for opportunities such as rewards and recognition while seeking employment7. Thus, it is important that companies provide employees with feedback and rewards if they wish to create a culture of high performance.

Is it Essential for all Organisations?

Performance management is an essential tool that leads to high performance. It keeps in place proper feedback channels so employees’ performance could be recognized and improved. However, these do not necessarily have to be in a traditional manner. By the end of 2015, 30 of the 500 Fortune’s Best Companies to Work For had moved away from performance evaluations. But does getting rid of ways of performance management solve the problem? Considering human makeup companies, there will be judgments, and viewpoints. However, in the absence of performance management systems, these will just become implicit. Thus, it is wiser to find the right way.

According to a global survey by CEB8, where more than 9,000 managers and employees participated, stated that absence of evaluations is worse. Research has shown that people are willing to accept even the undesirable outcomes if the processes are fair9. Each company has a different culture and they should keep this as a guide while forming ways of performance management. It is good to evaluate what and how employees of their firm are performing. After that, experiment and come up with their own effective way of performance management.

High Performers equals more responsible and aligned Workforce

Organizations should communicate what importance employee performance holds for their company. This will lead to an alignment the staff will feel with their company. Employees want to know what and how their performance is helping their company. However, only 15% of companies work towards comparing and tracking the performance with the company plans10. However, if companies want to create a more aligned and performance-focused culture, this aspect needs to be looked at.

Underperformance management, giving feedback is another area where employees struggle. According to Workplace Accountability Study, 81% said following up about their commitments is one of the biggest hurdles they experience with their colleagues11. Hence, it is important to put the cycle of high-performance correctly in place to contribute to a culture of ownership and alignment.

It takes time and effort for excellence to emerge. However, that does not indicate the process cannot be accelerated. As Aristotle put it, We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit12. Thus, companies just need to implement the right techniques, make it a habit, and then witness a culture of high performance emerge.


  2. (Wills Towers Watson)
  3. (Trinet and Wakefield)
Comments are closed.