Uncovering the Secrets to Effective Performance Management

In many ways there are no secrets to implementing effective performance management. Performance Management is a process and a process which if implemented effectively should ensure that both employees and managers remain both productive and motivated.

The actual process itself should hold no secrets. There are simply a number of steps to be considered within the Performance Management process these being as follows:

1. Agree roles and responsibilities and the objectives and targets that go with the role. Ensure that both the manager and the employee know what success looks like in relation to each objective. Sales targets are easy to quantify but project objectives may not be so easy to define success.

2. Ensure the actions needed to achieve the targets and objectives are agreed and achievable.

3. If some of the actions needed are deemed out-with the capability of the person who has to achieve them, then create a development plan in order that the person is trained accordingly.

4. Agree a review process by which each individual is coached and supported to keep on track as regards both their objectives and targets together with their development plan.

5. Mid and Year end appraisals should be simply a "tick box" exercise holding no surprises. If there are then the process building up to the appraisal is not working.

The secrets to Performance Management do not just lie with the actual process but more with the skills and discipline needed to make each of the steps work effectively. And it is the way these skills are used, or not used, that can cause the whole performance management structure to collapse.

At each of the stages there are challenges in any role. Let us look at each step in turn.

1. Objective and Target Setting ? The biggest challenge here is where all the targets and objectives are handed down without any consultation and support. If a manager does not take an employee through their objectives and targets then demotivation and in some cases panic can set in. Employees need to understand exactly why they are expected to deliver various objectives and also what the exact manager's expectations are. The aim of this stage of the PM process is to ensure clarity and focus. Leave people in the "fog" and they get lost! Do not simply "dump" objectives on people.

2. Once the objectives are set then employees need to be supported in being coached through exactly what they need to do in order to achieve these objectives. Very capable people will need less support than newer employees but all the same, time should be taken to coach them effectively. Again the challenges here are one of the manager putting time aside and also in relation to the ability of the manager to coach effectively. Most managers will advise and direct as opposed to coach and as such they really need to look at their skill level in coaching. Directing is quicker but can be very de-motivational and much less effective.

3. Training. Everyone pays homage to training and training plans but very few people actually deliver an effective training plan. Managers usually abdicate responsibility for the training plan leaving it to a training department or to the employees themselves. Even though training needs are identified, the only solutions to meet these needs may be the "sheep dip" approach of getting them on the menu of training events supplied by training department. But are they specifically what is actually needed? And what role does the manager take? Do they sit down with the employee and agree learning objectives? Do they monitor progress against these objectives? What about coaching the person post-training enabling them to implement their newly found skills directly into the workplace?

4. In terms of reviewing an employee's progress, does the manager spend enough time with the employee? How well are they utilising essential field visit (distant managers) and review skills such as contracting, coaching models such as GROW and OUTCOMES®; use of the skill/will matrix, behavioural analysis, giving and receiving feedback and of course, motivational models such as MASLOW'S and CARERS? ? Field visits are not just about going out with an employee for the day to check up how "they are getting on" and sitting in on a few customer calls. There is a lot more to it than that!

5. The aim of regular reviews and field visits is to ensure that the employee keeps on track with regards their objectives and targets. If the employee enters into an appraisal not knowing exactly what they have done in terms of their objectives and targets or not knowing what their manager is specifically going to say to them in the appraisal then the performance management system has not worked and has to be reviewed to see where the faults have originated. The only surprises that should be delivered are the good ones like an increase in pay that was unexpected or a better car! If employees are "in the dark" about what to expect at their appraisal, then I would hate to be in the shoes of the manager who is conducting the appraisal when it comes to their turn!

Performance Management is a simple uncomplicated process but one which needs discipline and a great degree of skill to implement effectively. Get it right then you are on the way to success; get it wrong and you can look forward to a really stressful year end appraisal.

About the submitter:

Allan Mackintosh is a Performance Management Coach who specialises in developing performance management skills in managers and sales managers. He is the author of "The Successful Coaching Manager" book, has written numerous articles, and is the creator of the OUTCOMES© and CARERS? coaching models. He can be contacted on 00 44 1292 318152 or via his website at http://www.pmcscotland.com. Allan also represents Reivers Development, a specialist organisational transformation company. http://www.reiversgroup.com

In The News:


pen paper and inkwell


cat break through


Hire Winners: Ask the Right Questions

How do you as a manager, supervisor or team leader... Read More

Protect Your Computer System with a Comprehensive Security Policy

The most difficult part of creating a Security Policy for... Read More

Crisis Management Tips

The term crisis management has different connotations. In this article,... Read More

ISO 9001, What Next?

The overriding goal of ISO-14000. (History 1995)As ISO-9000 becomes a... Read More

Office Politics

Office politics! It's just another way of saying: "The employees... Read More

Knowledge Management - Learning Whilst Doing - Facilitating an After Action Review

Introducing a learning culture into organisations can be difficult at... Read More

Problem-Solving Success Tip: Whatever You Do, Do It on Purpose

Decision-making shows up throughout the problem-solving process. The decisions may... Read More

Once Upon a Conflict

Once upon a time there lived an innocent, hardworking manager.... Read More

Tales from the Corporate Frontlines: Adapting Human Resource Functions

This article relates to the human resource functions competency, commonly... Read More

Too Much Time Treating Symptoms

A man drives down the highway each day on his... Read More

Well-Defined Processes ? How to Create

Interested in learning how to reduce development time, save money... Read More

Retaining An Expert -- What Every Business Owner Needs To Know

As an entrepreneur, hiring an expert can be one of... Read More

Presenteeism: The Hidden Costs of Business

(prez.un.TEE.iz.um) nPresenteeism, a relatively unknown concept, is the complement of... Read More

Communicating In Chaotic Environments

How do you, or would you, communicate in a chaotic... Read More

Effective Meetings by Phone - Part 1, How to Plan a Teleconference

Teleconferences can be a boon or a bust. On the... Read More

Dividing The Loot

It is when the going gets better, that the going... Read More

Book Summary: Mind Your Own Business

A maverick is an independent person who will not go... Read More

Boost Your Leadership Skills By Disciplining Yourself In The Way Of The Question Mark

I'm often asked to come in to organizations and give... Read More

Faith is the LIFE-blood of Your ACTIONS before the Benefit -

Nothing has changed. Your ancestors lived by faith. Some planted... Read More

CEOs Are Great, Top CEOs Are Greater

People in leading positions are often in a dilemma: on... Read More

Drafting an Employee Manual Sample Outline

One of the hardest things I had discovered running my... Read More

The Inferno of the Finance Director

Sometimes, I harbour a suspicion that Dante was a Financial... Read More

Train Me -- But Follow Through

My mechanic has me trained. When I take my car... Read More

IT Expenditure - Why Businesses Spend Huge Amounts on Ineffective IT Investments

Another IT White Elephant!It seems that almost every day we... Read More

Document management : A dream of paperless office

What is document management: When we think about "Document Management"... Read More

Quick Tip - Effective Meetings Have a Complete Agenda

Most agendas for a meeting look like this.* Budget* Payroll*... Read More

Planning a Productive Retreat

What value is there in leadership or team-building retreats? Just... Read More

Innovation, Idea Selection, Valuation

There is no sure fire route to commercial success, but... Read More

The Supervisors 14 Essential Truths For Communicating With Direct Reports

One amazing, but sadly true, fact of today's advances in... Read More

Reflections in the Glass Ceiling

The recent news about one of America's most powerful woman... Read More

Your Blueprint For Business Success

Before you start your own business one of the first... Read More

Dont Wait for Tax Time to Look at the Bottom Line

A curious thing happens to entrepreneurs in the spring of... Read More

How to Delegate Effectively

ACCOUNTABILITY: Delegation is not complete unless subordinates are held accountable... Read More