Not all churches embrace the concept of managing employee performance. There may be many reasons for this. The church may not have the resources to create a process, may not know how or may consider it too time consuming. However, the advantages of developing a performance management system are many and well worth the effort and time investment. So what are the benefits of a structured process to manage employee performance?
10 Reasons to Track Employee Performance in the Church – 10 Advantages of Managing the Success of Your Church Employees
1. Performance-based Conversations
A structured performance management process encourages conversations between managers and employees. The truth is some managers are more comfortable having difficult conversations than others. Much of it is personality-driven, but it is a skill everyone can learn. And with training and a little practice we all can become more comfortable having these sometimes difficult, yet necessary conversations.
2. Targeted Staff Development
Employees deserve the opportunity to grow and develop so they can be prepared for increased responsibility. A structured process naturally incorporates developmental opportunities, which makes an employee’s development progression much easier.
For example, I had an employee who, had no computer skills and wasn’t interested in learning any because she was a little bit older and technology intimidated her. We worked with her, sent her to classes and gave her projects that incorporated her new skills. She not only developed as a more valuable employee but also gained self-confidence in the process.
Employees need constant feedback and encouragement. When employees have the opportunity to discuss their performance and participate in a conversation about how well they’re performing, it clarifies expectations, encourages them and provides the motivation to continue to work toward shared goals.
4. Performance Rewards
The system inherently identifies the strong performers and monetarily rewards good performance. It is an enjoyable experience to sit across the table from a high-performing employee and share with them that they received a bigger raise for their efforts. It reinforces positive things and keeps them motivated to work harder.
5. Underperformers Identified and Eliminated
It’s a sad fact, but some people just don’t cut the mustard (to succeed; to meet expectations). However, the appraisal process forces managers to deal with these underperforming employees and provides an avenue to remove them from the organization. This is never a pleasant thing to do, but sometimes, underperforming employees need to move on, if for no other reason than for the sake of their coworkers.
When employees work hard and see a coworker skimming by and not carrying his or her load, it creates an unhealthy work environment that can affect the rest of the employees, the culture and morale.
6. Documented History of Performance
Another advantage to this process is that it provides a performance trail on every employee. This is very helpful, particularly if new managers come onboard, they can get up to speed quickly on how their employees performed in the past. This also gives management an advantage by having that historical perspective.
7. Succession Planning
Everyone has seasons in a professional life. And seasons come and go – even in a church. Church leaders need to constantly look for and develop the next generation of leaders, whether it is in a pastoral capacity or church management.
Not every employee has the motivation or desire to advance within the church, but when the ministry can identify leaders and develop them in a structured format; it’s prepared when employees naturally leave employment.
8. Aligns Jobs with Strategy
One of the biggest challenges churches face is helping employees understand how what they do affects the church’s overall goals and strategy. The process of managing employee performance serves to align employee jobs with the church strategy for achieving its mission.
9. Creates a Win-Win
The employees win when they know what is expected of them and are rewarded for doing a good job. The organization wins when employees do what they are paid to do that helps the organization fulfill its mission.
10. Lessons Learned
The process of managing performance allows both the employees and the managers with learned lessons. Employees may learn different or better approaches to work processes and management may learn the need for better, more consistent communication with employees.
Anyone who works for a ministry understands the unique challenges that come with managing church employees. However, when employees understand what is expected of them, see a clear path for development and are rewarded for doing a good job, they will be more engaged and focused on doing those things that contribute to fulfilling the mission. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what it’s all about.