How to Succeed in Performance Management

What is Performance Management?

Despite the popular misconception that performance management refers to an annual performance appraisal, this is, in fact, an umbrella term for an entire workplace system which begins as soon as a role is defined, and ends when an employee leaves the organisation.

The term performance management captures a series of processes designed to create an environment in which employees can perform at their peak. It involves events such as regular one-on-one meetings, self-evaluations, performance appraisals and developing tools and strategies to effectively measure performance over time.

On the other side of the coin, this is also the system which deals with underperformance and how to manage a team effectively, whether that be disciplinary procedures, terminations and addressing developmental needs.

The goal of performance management is to identify and address inefficiencies throughout the organisation, separate departments or teams, and also at an individual level. Progress is then planned, enacted, monitored and reviewed on a perpetual basis to continue propelling an organisation forward. Performance management systems have significant influence over factors such as job design, recruitment, training, counselling, compensation and more.

A career in performance management can be achieved through online adult education courses. There are specific performance management courses available, including the Diploma of Leadership & Management (BSB50420) online.

Components of a Performance Management System

Finding and Reaching the Right Candidates

It is the role of a performance management professional to inform recruitment procedures, from writing an accurate and targeted job description to implementing the best selection process to identify the top candidate. This is a matter of getting to know what drives candidates, their needs, skills and motivators, and matching each to the organisation.

Effectively Orientating New Recruits

Once it has been determined that someone is the right fit for the job, performance management gets involved by ensuring that new recruit has everything they need to hit the ground running and perform at their peak. They must be introduced to the organisation, to people, to resources, and stepped through exactly what it is that they are expected to achieve.

Providing Ongoing Training and Feedback

Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. It is the role of performance management to tailor an approach to routinely check in with your employees, and make decisions to improve on any weak points. Training, development, and feedback are vital elements to enhance the individual’s career, not just the organisation’s potential.

Implementing Reward Structures which Encourage Maximum Performance

Investing training, development, and coaching into employees won’t do any good if they feel unappreciated and look for work elsewhere. Reward structures are indispensable tools to show your employees that they are valued – and hard work pays off.

Managing Employees Leaving

Performance management treats every contact point as an opportunity to improve, and employees leaving is no different. An exit procedure should involve finding out whether employees were unhappy, weren’t being reimbursed to their expectations, or had some other reason to leave so that it can be work on if necessary.

Benefits of Effective Performance Management

Good performance management practices have the potential to impact individuals, teams, and the entire organisation by:

  • Ensuring that everyone’s performance adheres to strategic and operational goals of the organisation
  • Increased performance translates to increased profitability for the organisation, which in turn improves individual’s’ career prospects and promotion opportunities within the organisation
  • Associating evaluation with incentives such as development opportunities or increases in remuneration
  • Identifying and addressing any specific weaknesses as they arise, such as insufficient employee training
  • Enhanced relationships and communication channels between employees and managers, translating to a more trusting, transparent workplace culture and increased confidence in the organisation as a whole
  • Maximising the opportunity for long-term growth through effective monitoring and review procedures.

Productivity Through People: 4 Tips to Improve Productivity

It’s easy to place a world of pressures on individual employees in the workplace, but it is often the case that we need to turn to wider systems, cultures, and processes when assessing the root cause of dwindling productivity levels.

If several members of a team aren’t performing as they should, then it requires you to conduct a comprehensive assessment of their journey with the company thus far. Do they fully understand their role and your expectations? Do they have the training and resources to meet your targets? Are they motivated to reach them, for reasons other than a dangled dollar?

Perhaps they are simply stretched too thin, and the solution for boosting team productivity is, in fact, a redistribution of their time. It can be mind-boggling to comprehend all of the factors which drive a person and to know how to manage a team effectively, so we’ve compiled six tips to get the ball rolling.

Let Your Employees Do What They Were Hired To Do

Micromanaging can be a huge killer of productivity, as well as employee confidence. A manager who is eager to jump in and take over, or hovers over everyone’s shoulder communicates that you don’t trust them to do a good job without supervision.

In many cases, it’s a matter of taking a step back and monitoring progress from afar. You can turn your focus to other areas of assistance, such as ensuring that your employees have the tools, processes, and resources needed to reach their goals.

Provide Constructive Feedback

We avoid the term criticism because feedback should be both the good and the bad. In a fast-paced, high-stakes environment, it can be easy to let the wins pass by unnoticed. Schedule a weekly or fortnightly check-in with your employees individually, as well as with the team together, to see where everyone is at.

This should be an opportunity for you to ask what more you can do to lay the foundations for increased performance, assess work which has been done, and for your employees to explain their circumstances. Any weaknesses or underperformance need to be addressed with positive, outcome-based, practical solutions to improve in the future.

Make Time for Team Activities

Whether they are work-related or not, team building activities can boost employee relationships—the foundation for an effective team dynamic. If team members are confident with one another, they will be more likely to discuss their work, collaborate on projects, and work better together.

It streamlines the entire process. Conducting activities outside the office can be a good way to shake those persistent barriers, and really encourage people to connect on a more personable level.

Encourage Ongoing Development

Stagnation is the last thing that anyone wants. For organisations, it means that employees can’t progress past a certain skill level, and so their value is limited. For individuals, it means that the role is unrewarding, unchanging, and they are likely to look elsewhere for job fulfilment.

Regular training and development not only offers practical skills to benefit all involved, but it provides satisfaction and confidence that the job is nested within a progressing career. Performance management courses, such as the Diploma of Leadership & Management (BSB50420) online, give individuals the chance to study leadership and management to progress.

Performance Management Practices: 5 Steps for Evaluating Performance

Performance evaluation—one component of performance management—can risk being a highly subjective process, but it is a core part of a career in performance management. Perhaps you feel that an employee is not performing as he or she should, but you can’t quite put your finger on the issue at hand.

This vague approach benefits no one. Performance evaluation needs to implement the following steps to ensure that it provides the most benefit to your team, to the individual, and to the organisation as a whole.

1. Clearly Articulating the Problem

It sounds simple, but one of the biggest problems is failing to outline the problem at hand. Whether it’s because you’re trying to put a positive spin on things, use jargon or sweeping statements, often employees leave an evaluation feeling like it wasn’t tailored to them, or worse, they don’t understand the key messages.

Using checklists, charts, or some other form of system which you can then hand over in a report, can help to clearly show what is strong and where there are weaknesses.

2. Using Visuals to Communicate

Tools such as charts are helpful for more than just getting your thoughts straight. They also help to ensure that all employees are on a level playing field and help to break down that communication barrier. Not all of us are aural learners.

Try to determine your employees’ preferred communications styles, and cater for them in your meeting. If in doubt, a combination of several methods will be able to get the point across.

3. Setting Attainable Goals

By and large, the most important aspect of leading a team effectively is the practical goals that you discuss. It may be that a knowledge or skills gap has been identified, and so adult education courses, seminars, or online learning are the solutions.

Perhaps it’s that not enough work is being processed each week, and so you look at ways to streamline the process to ensure time is being used as efficiently as possible. Whenever goals are set, ensure you discuss the short and long-term components, as well as having tangible, quantitative measurement indicators in place – this is a fundamental part of leading a team effectively.

4. Understanding Performance vs. Potential

Performance is how the employee has functioned in the past, whereas potential refers to how they could perform, hypothetically. This two-tiered approach encourages appraisers to consider the limitations or barriers that are in place, and what could be improved to help employees reach a higher potential.

The 9-box grid system of performance appraisal is the recommended format for defining this relationship. If someone is classified as having a high potential, then that person would benefit significantly from further training or adult education.

For those who may be in the running to succeed you one day, you may even consider specific performance management courses where they can study leadership and management, such as the Diploma of Leadership & Management (BSB50420) online.

5. Encouraging a Two-Way Dialogue

Remember that an evaluation is a two-way street, and should take the form of a conversation rather than a lecture. This is also an opportunity for your employees to give constructive criticism about the organisation, the team, and your role as manager. No one should feel attacked, and everyone should leave the room feeling positive about the outlined way forward.