Are you dealing with employees who are constantly disgruntled? Are your star employees not performing like stars? It’s probably because you have a performance management system that is faulty…or worse, you don’t have one at all.
Performance management is a task often relegated to the human resources department of an organisation. And employees construe it for ‘appraisals’…but performance management is far from that.
Let’s understand what performance management is…
Hrcouncil.ca says the main goal of performance management ‘is to promote and improve employee effectiveness. It is a continuous process where managers and employees work together to plan, monitor and review an employee’s work objectives or goals, and his or her overall contribution to the organization.’
Performance management begins from the moment you set an organisational goal, create an organisation structure and write a job description for a potential candidate. Performance management includes a continuous and holistic set of processes, that ensure both employees and employers are in constant dialogue.
Why focus on performance management
The constant flow of communication between the management team and employees is often a function of HR. They play the role of the spokesperson, conveying vital information such as organisational developmental plans, remunerations, role developments, appraisal reports, and employee grievances, if any. For HR managers, this means constant follow-ups with team managers to ensure that the performance management process is executed in a fair and timely manner.
For team heads, they are caught in a dilemma between giving time to the appraisals versus executing daily operational matters. This results in appraisals being rushed through, and almost never 100% complete. When this happens, there is a bitter feeling about appraisals and performance management among both the employees and management.
But there are ways in which a company can derive maximum benefit from the time and cost spent on performance management. Here’s how…
The first step of performance management is to link the role of the employee with the goals of the organisation, and this requires healthy collaboration between the two. The planning process starts with the company putting an organisation structure in place. This is then followed by a job description for each role.
During the performance management process, managers need to review the job description and understand if the employee is performing the same tasks as stated in the job description – or if he has in fact been delegated other tasks that do not reflect his career goals. In the case that he’s happy with the new tasks, his job description should be altered; or else, he should be given a new work plan that is in sync with his skill set.
The next part of the planning phase is to link the employee’s work with the organisation’s strategy and goals. A clear work plan needs to be charted mutually by the two. The work plan of the employee should have two-three clear work goals for the next quarter, and clearly state the parameters on which the goals will be measured. Any additional tools or learning needed for the employee to achieve these goals should also be accounted for, like the need for a skill upgrade program, or perhaps more exposure to industry events.
The second phase of performance management is to monitor the progress of the employee. This is a continuous process, and requires regular tracking of the employee’s work. This does not mean you micro-manage, but that you ensure the broader tasks have been achieved within the given timeframe. This also requires managers to observe if employees are interacting well with their peers to execute a project, if the team dynamics is working, and if they have the required resources to complete their tasks.
This phase requires plenty of meetings and interactions with the employee to gain and give feedback on the progress of the goals. This may also require them to review the goals, and check if they are still in sync with the organisation’s objectives. Achieving a specific goal may also require more support and assistance, and together the two can determine if it is indeed still feasible for the organisation.
To monitor progress effectively, channels of communication should be open, allowing both the management and employee to freely address issues and concerns. The HR’s ability to ask the right questions and provide feedback on performance is crucial at this stage. The feedback given should be positive and constructive: acknowledging the good aspects, and pointing out areas for improvement.
Monitoring can be a time-consuming process, but a necessary one if organisations wish to accelerate their growth, both quantitatively and qualitatively. Regular monitoring will only make the annual appraisal, a mere summary. This will increase their efficacy, helping managers and employees focus instead on future goals.
Performance appraisals are a part of the review phase, where all that is achieved over the course of the given timeframe is assessed by the employee and management. Most appraisals have a self-appraisal component, allowing individual employees to introspect and assess for themselves how successfully or unsuccessfully they have met their goals.
When the team heads and its members meet for the joint review, they can together analyse the accomplishments and setbacks faced, while completing the goals that were set at the beginning of the year. They could also discuss the challenges and barriers faced by the employee during the process. At this point, it is also essential to understand the aspiration of team members versus that of the department and organisation at large…the stronger this alignment, better the performance.
The review process normally has a form with a number of questions that addresses both the employee and management, and pertains to the performance of the employee during the given timeframe. Once discussed and mutually agreed upon, they can both sign off on the document. If the employee is not in agreement with the supervisor’s assessment, peers or higher level management can be included in follow-up meetings to overrule any biases.
The performance management review system finally gets linked to the compensation, employee development, and rewards and recognition of the employee within the organisation.
Tips to ensure effective performance management systems in your organisation
- Create systems that are fair and flexible at the same time, allowing room for individual improvisation.
- Use standardized measurement systems for assessment, ensuring they are easy to use while assessing the development goals of the employee.
- Develop performance management systems that reflect the larger vision and strategy of your organisation.
- Monitor and measure progress regularly, communicating clearly where performance expectations have not been met.
- Provide professional development opportunities for employees, encouraging them to learn and grow within the organisation.
There are many performance management systems. Through our upcoming blogs, we will share the different types of systems that have been effective in organisations. Appraisals too, have a variety of types, and we will talk about those too.
Yellow Spark has also developed effective performance management tools that you can implement at your workplace. Additionally, we could conduct workshops with HR departments who would like a more detailed understanding of the subject and its workings.
For more details, write to us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Author Profile: Ritika Bajaj is a prolific writer and editor, focusing on people, startups, and the finer nuances of life. She is currently a content consultant, generating ideas and providing solutions for online and offline mediums. Ritika describes herself as a spiritual seeker, voyager, and change agent, constantly finding ways to make life richer and more meaningful.