Stay Involved in your Employee’s Progress
Performance management is defined as the process of establishing performance goals and designing interventions and programs to motivate and develop employees to improve their performance. This is a continuous process and involves much more than the typical “annual review” that we all think of. Relating back to succession planning, this process involves having a deep understanding of the different positions in the company, as well as the people in these roles.
“Although performance reviews have been in place for generations, until recently, very little effort was given to understanding whether the process motivated employees or irritated them.”
– The Eleventh Element of Great Managing
The first step in performance management involves establishing the expectations of the employee in their role, and the expectations the employee should have for their supervisor. This will provide both parties with a deeper understanding of what is expected of them for both to be successful in their roles and lay it all out on the table so there is no misunderstanding. While establishing this understanding of expectations, goals for employees should also be created in accordance with the company’s organizational goals. While creating these goals, it is crucial that they are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely; aka SMART goals.
Once these goals have been set, it is the responsibility of management to monitor daily performance and provide constant feedback to indicate how they are performing in accordance to their goals. This informal method is widely used as a way to stay current with the employees and also allows you, as a manager, to reinforce these goals and provide opportunities to motivate and coach them in the right direction in the moment, on-the-job. An important aspect of the informal method is documentation. A practice that has been well received is to provide all employees with the opportunity to provide coaching and mentor other employees to help them develop.
For example, in a retail outlet the manager is responsible for seven employees. The manager decides that to better coach and train her employees, she will delegate and have mentorship program for all employees. This process will begin by the manager leading by example and mentoring the associate manager. This means that the manager trains, coaches, and provides constant feedback to the employee while recording progress in the associate manager’s file for future reference. They also create a plan together on how to provide this training/coaching to the assistant managers. Then it is the responsibility of the associate manager to take on this role with the assistant managers to implement this plan within the timeline established in the plan they had created and to provide that constant feedback that is necessary for the employees to understand how they are performing. The associate manager then documents the coaching with the two assistant managers and they create a plan on how they will each coach and mentor two associates, and it is then their responsibility to implement this plan. This method allows for the employees in this scenario to learn proper coaching techniques and empower them because they have the responsibility of training others and monitoring their performance which allows them to grow as employees.
“In high performing teams, the cost of speaking out is lowered, the cost of silence is raised.”
– Nick Pope, Global Learning Director- Unilever
In the example outlined above, the manager has decided on a mentorship strategy as a means of delegating and having each employee responsible for another in their training and development. As long as all information is documented properly, the manager now is able to pick up any employee file and understand exactly where they stand in their plan and timeline, and can reference this during any formal performance evaluation.
The formal performance evaluation is the next key component of performance management. While this is typically thought of as a simple face-to-face meeting between the employee and management where the manager provides the evaluation, it is also an opportunity for management to request a self-appraisal from the employees. This is an excellent tool for management to see how the employees view their own progress and compare it to their own notes. This should be done prior to the meeting on a self-appraisal form, which could then be referenced and discussed during the meeting to understand why they feel they deserve the evaluation they provided for themselves. If management feels they disagree with certain aspects on the self appraisal, this is something can can be brought up in a manner that will not offend the employee by just asking why they feel they deserve this rating. This meeting will also allow for performance consequences, which could be positive or negative, depending on how they performed on the goals that they had set together prior and it is also a chance to renew the expectations, set new goals, and create a new timeline with an action plan for both parties to bring them back to the beginning of the performance management cycle.
Author: Brysan Cumming, TIAPEI HR Advisor
This project is funded in whole or in part by the Canada/Prince Edward Island Labour Market Development Agreements.