Performance management is about managing and improving the performance of the people you lead in order to ultimately increase the effectiveness of the organisation. This module covers a range of activities to help you better manage the performance of others.
Understanding Performance Management
Performance management means constantly managing the performance and behaviour of your team members, both good and bad. It is more than just a performance review meeting once a year between an employee and their manager.
When performance measures are managed consistently with open channels of communication, team members will feel motivated, which can improve team performance, leading to higher levels of individual performance and output. With regular performance discussions you can also identify ineffective behaviours immediately and provide a solution before they turn into larger performance management issues.
Effective performance management skills allow line-managers to effectively develop employees, implement performance measures and improve team performance.
The very first step in the performance management process is to set clear expectations for performance and behaviour.
- Clarifying each team member's roles and responsibilities
- Setting goals that they are expected to achieve as well as the KPIs that you will use to measure their progress
- Agreeing expected standards of behaviour
Setting goals and KPIs
Setting out clear and concise goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) is a critical step in the performance management process. They promote healthy employee development by setting out a roadmap of attainable targets that boost personal and professional skills.
While KPIs can just be a breakdown of a goal into smaller time periods (i.e. yearly target into a monthly target), they can also be used to measure all sorts of things that impact success.
Performance Management - Feedback
Research shows that feedback is one of the best tools available to help your team members learn, grow and feel engaged at work. Corrective feedback clarifies and reinforces expectations, and helps your team understand what they need to do in order to be successful in their roles.
Positive feedback (a.k.a. praise and recognition) boosts their confidence in their abilities, makes them feel appreciated and respected, and has a profound impact on their motivation. In a study by McKinsey & Co, employees actually rated praise and recognition from management as a more effective motivator than cash bonuses.
Performance Management - Coaching
Coaching is a collaborative process where a manager helps their employee overcome challenges and develop their expertise by asking the right questions and helping them to find solutions themselves rather than telling them what to do.
A good model to use when coaching is the GROW model. It is an excellent tool to use to structure your coaching sessions and ensure that your coaching sessions reach the desired outcome.
Underperformance is when an employee fails to perform the duties of their role to the required standard, fails to comply with workplace policies, rules or procedures and/or behaves in an unacceptable manner in the workplace.
There are many reasons why an employee might perform and/or behave poorly in the workplace. In order to manage underperformance, you need to understand why it is occurring. Leadership Success has broken down some of the most common reasons for an employee's underperformance.
When you are faced with an ongoing performance issue and informal methods (i.e. corrective feedback) have failed to address the problem, you may need to move into formal performance management.
Although it's unpleasant, knowing how to manage underperformance is an important part of performance management. If you can quickly and effectively deal with employees who are continually underperforming, you will help to reduce the impact on the performance of the whole team.
Handling negative responses
If you manage others, at some point you will have to have a difficult performance discussion. Difficult conversations can provoke emotional responses, and when emotions run high, it can become difficult to make any forward progress if you don't manage the situation correctly. Instead of a constructive conversation focused on problem solving, it can quickly descend into blaming and personal attacks - and that is not a good place to be.
Read some of our tips for handling negative responses and keeping the conversation on track.
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