Why Performance Management?

Performance management in the workplace can be highly beneficial. Monitoring areas for improvement can help employees develop. However, when conducting a performance management meeting or delivering a plan, it's essential to make sure that business needs are being addressed but also that the employee isn't left feeling demotivated. 

What is performance management?

Performance Management is a tool used by employers to improve and then maintain performance in the workplace. It should be actioned in a way that looks to achieve business goals while developing employees so that they can reach their potential.

Creating performance management plans can motivate staff. By setting goals, you can ensure that they are making positive contributions to the business and staff have the opportunity to develop their skills.

Being aware of employee performance and having a procedure in place can also help you quickly identify the areas for improvement and then deal with any poor performance.

Ways to handle performance management

  • Discuss problems as they arise;
  • Don't just rely on yearly performance reviews;
  • Be aware of any areas where an employee could claim discrimination (for example, they have a disability that impacts their ability to perform the role);
  • Make employees aware of your expectations, but make sure they are realistic;
  • Set employees targets and goals;
  • Regular meetings (perhaps monthly) to discuss whether targets are being met;
  • Keep a record of employee performance.

Measuring Employee Performance

The areas to be aware of when considering whether any performance issues, for example, a person’s age, are they pregnant or whether they have a disability. An employee who has a disability and as a result, they are identified as under-performing and therefore be at a disadvantage compared to other employees.

  • Set Objectives - You will need to specify what your expectations of the employee are and how this will be measured. It is important to explain why this relates to the business or their department. Once this has been completed, it would be useful to give a time limit for the completion so that the employee has an understanding of what is expected and by what date. 
  • Discuss Behaviours - While it is essential for an employee to reach the expectations of the Company, how they conduct themselves in work is equally important. For example, how they work in a team or how they embrace change can impact the efficient running of the business.

Maintaining Performance

Regular meetings can be highly beneficial. These do not have to be to discuss poor performance. Giving employees positive feedback when they are carrying out their duties will improve morale and job satisfaction.

Keep your employee performance records up to date to ensure that issues or improvements are not being missed. Records should only include referring to points that are role specific for example, a customer service advisor you would consider client complaints or errors.

When areas of improvement have been identified, determine whether the poor performance is due to an employee needing additional training or whether it is an issue surrounding morale and motivation.

When you are reviewing employee performance, consider whether your business aims have changed. A Company's needs can change dramatically and what is essential for the efficient running of the business one year may not be essential the next.

Also, look at whether there have been changes to the business structure or working practices that would impact performance. This may mean that you need to amend a performance plan that is already in place to reflect the new way the Company operates.

Employee Feedback

In addition to checking whether business needs and goals are being met by employee performance, it can be useful to get staff feedback about procedures you have in place.

When you conduct a performance management meeting, it may prove beneficial to ask if they feel the objectives are consistent, or fair. An employer may feel that the set targets are realistic, multiple members of staff may struggle, and it could be that the goals need to be reviewed.

When you are looking to conduct performance management reviews of employees, have in mind the Company objectives and what you want to achieve by having the meeting. During your meetings with your employees, make aware of both positive and poor performance. This will highlight areas for improvement but also that the Company are conscious of areas they are doing well in. If there are performance issues, some additional training may help to resolve the issue quickly.

After the review, ensure that you keep up to date records. If the plan to improve an employee’s performance is not successful in achieving your goal, the records may be required for potential disciplinary action.

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About the author 

James Rowland

James is the Commercial Director at Neathouse Partners and regularly writes articles surrounding issues in HR & Employment Law. Outside of the office, James is a keen Cricketer, playing in the Cheshire League for Nantwich CC. He also loves going to watch his football team, Crewe Alexandra. Feel free to connect with James on LinkedIn.

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