Performance management techniques for your workplace that work

Performance Management Techniques for Your Workplace That Work

Employers are often faced with the confusing question of how to best carry out a performance management strategy. Driving your business’ success while maximising the potential of your workforce is challenging. We’ll explore some of the HR-approved ways of improving your performance management techniques.

Why is performance management important?

Performance management is often a process many employers feel uneasy about. Knowing how to get started with it, how to implement one in your workplace and how to build a plan that ensures its continuity might seem too complex.

The importance of a performance management process lies in its ability to drive a business forward using the power of employees. When an employer shows a sense of commitment to the employees’ long-term goals, a synergy between the business and the employees’ growth is born.

Not only will a performance management plan instill a sense of commitment in your employees, but it will also improve your retention rates and loyalty, two key metrics in assessing whether your business is doing well or not. High staff turnover will increase business expenses while demotivating your existing staff.

As an employer, you should be conscious of how your staff feels as this is directly linked to how they perform in the workplace. A team which performs well and feels valued is a team willing to advocate for your business and to pave the road to success.

How does effective performance management work?

As a collaborative process, the foundation of a good performance management strategy must incorporate a clear flow of communication between the employer and the employees. Another essential part of it is the planning, monitoring and reviewing of the employees’ progress.

The process should give both the employer and the staff member the opportunity to plan together for the next milestones that need to be hit. In turn, the employer should seek to motivate and help the employee reach those goals.

From an employer’s point of view, the goal is to ensure the company is going in the right direction while its staff are developing on both a professional and personal level. While this might sound complicated, there are a number of proven techniques that upgrade your performance management game.

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How to choose a performance technique for your business?

Before jumping into the techniques, you should be aware that performance management is, in fact, an HR requirement you must take on-board. Your approach will differ but the fundamentals remain the same. Generally, some performance management essentials are:

Close monitoring of the performance. Employers should keep a clear track of each meeting with their staff and regularly check-in with them to see if they are n the right track;

Provision of reviews. Periodical reviews and summaries are also an essential part of ensuring the process is going as planned;

Incentives to your employees. This will depend on your own preferences and how you want to approach it. Think of potential rewards or recognition for the good work and alternatively, for poor performance, think of how to address this in an encouraging manner;

Implementation of a professional development plan This will come in different forms with coaching and mentoring as the most popular ways of achieving this goal.

Regardless of which technique you decide to implement, it’s important to remember you need to ensure both the organisational and individual performance objectives are communicated clearly to the employee and they know how to progress based on your feedback. Some of the performance management techniques we recommend are:

Personal Development Plans (PDP)

One of the most popular and effective performance management technique is the Personal Development Plan (PDP). A PDP is structured as an action plan with clear objectives based on the real needs of an employee.

The value of PDPs lies in their power to establish attainable goals with their required steps as well as ways on how the company supports and monitors its employees’ progress.

During a PDP, managers can identify skill gaps and discuss how the employee can fill them with adequate training. The staff has the opportunity to raise their concerns and needs. This, in turn, increases their confidence that their role is appreciated and valued.

Advantages:

  • Employees feel more confident and devoted when they see their efforts are recognised. In turn, their motivation to be more invested grows;
  • It minimises your staff turnover by showing that you are a committed employer who believed in the growth of your staff;
  • A PDP gives your staff a sense of direction which allows them to work together with the rest of your team. 

Is this technique for me?

PDPs are ideal for start-ups and small businesses as they can see the real benefit of training their employees from early stages. Starting with a happy workforce and keeping this standard up as you grow is probably the best way to ensure your business is on the right track.

What does success look like?

A PDP should be structured accordingly with clear action points for discussion. Focus on your employee’s strengths and weaknesses and agree upon a concise action plan for them to fill their skills gap. And most importantly, schedule frequent PDPs to show that they are not just formalities but something your company takes very seriously.

360-Degree Feedback

360 reviews, also known as Peer Reviews, are a great way of involving your entire team in identifying the skill gaps and areas that need further improvement. It acts as a broad assessment of the entire team and every member gets the opportunity to provide feedback for others and for themselves as well.

The value of this technique lies in its ability to bring together a pool of different views and by adding everyone’s perspective in, the managers can gain a holistic view of how the workforce productivity can be improved. Eliminating bias

While 360-degree feedback sessions are led by team members, managers should keep a close eye on the ideas generated, the course of action which has been agreed on and its implementation.

They are a great way of ensuring that everyone is equally responsible for their performance as well as the team’s performance. Staff feels more comfortable sharing insights when they can freely discuss it with other team members. As a manager, the provision of training and development in a timely manner is crucial.

Advantages:

  • Gain a multidimensional view of the existing skill gaps, your current team performance;
  • Encourage employees to equally participate in driving business objectives;
  • Promote self-development;
  • Allow employees to be aware of their own impact on the business while actively promoting training.

Is this technique for me?

Private sector companies would benefit more from this technique.

What does success look like?

If you want to make it work, make sure your team members are complying with the time frames agreed on. Effective planning is crucial and the feedback after each meeting should be outlined very clearly so the manager knows exactly what are the future steps to be taken. Competitiveness can also be a pitfall and knowing people are fair and honest is something to be taken into account.

Performance management techniques

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Performance Appraisals

Another technique is the performance appraisal method. Performed yearly or quarterly, a performance appraisal is a process which allows the employer to assess the performance of the team members over a set period, overviewing the objectives accomplished.

The manager takes into account the skills that have been developed, the strengths and skill gaps. During this meeting, past and future goals will be discussed, as well as what progress looks like, how to achieve the set goals and what the training is needed.

Advantages:

  • Allows managers to identify the true potential and strengths of the employee and learn how they can contribute to the business;
  • It gives the employees a sense of achievement if the performance metrics are positive;
  • Acts as a great way to develop a training programme which works best for the employee;
  • Improve your communication with your employees.

Is this technique for me?

Usually, this method is widely employed by medium to large-sized companies as they have the human resources to perform them in a professional manner.

What does success look like?

There are different ways of ensuring your performance appraisal process is on point. If not conducted properly, it can be a real time-draining process with no effective outcome. As a manager, you should remove personal bias and be as objective as possible when assessing the performance of your employee.

Summary

Making sure you have a well-prepared performance management process in place will let your business flourish, driven by a happy and motivated workforce. Avoid getting trapped in high staff turnover, poor performance and low productivity levels and step up your performance management techniques. It will pay off in the long run.

 

About the author

Michael Doolin created Clover HR with the ambition of demonstrating the value the HR function can add to SME businesses. He has more than 30 years of diverse Human Resources experience and is a subject matter expert in the areas of HR employment law, Re-organisation and Change, HR infrastructure, and policy and procedure development.

He has held board director positions and designed and developed HR strategy for some of Europe’s leading brands.