The Secret to Improving your Performance Management Process

The Secret to Improving your Performance Management Process

One of the hallmarks of the high performance organization is robust performance management. For many organizations performance management revolves around a process. Over the years I’ve seen all kinds of processes including sophisticated on-line real-time versions that are linked to strategic goals, talent management systems, merit pay and high potential development plans.

In fact I’ve designed, developed and implemented several performance management processes and have facilitated hundreds of training workshops on how they work. And despite this I’ve yet to see the perfect process. That’s because performance management is a daily effort and all about the quality of the conversations a manager has with his or her people. It is not about filling in endless forms with reams of information.

The job of the people manager boils down to ensuring that employees know the answers to the following 3 simple questions:

1.   Do I know what’s expected of me?

It’s amazing how few people know exactly what it is they are expected to deliver and how they contribute to what the organization is about. Most managers and employees agree annual performance goals that by the end of the 1st quarter are out of date and redundant. Managers need to clarify and agree expectations on a regular basis having regard for constantly changing business priorities.

2.   What are the skills, knowledge and behaviors that I need to deliver on these expectations?

You get a greater bang for your buck by leveraging the strengths of your employees rather than trying to fix all their weaknesses. Employees need to be equipped for current and future potential roles through regular coaching and experiential learning rather than sending them on a training program.

3.   Do I know how I’m getting on?

We all need timely regular feedback on our performance and not just on the things we do wrong. Simply asking employees how they’re getting on and recognizing when they do a good job will do more for engagement than most reward systems. Address performance issues using calm, evidence based observations and 2-way solution driven discussions rather than pointing the finger and getting things off your chest.

You don’t need a sophisticated process for performance management but you do need to make time to talk and have quality conversations.

Richard McCarthy

Richard joined OMT in 1998 and is head of Consultancy Services following a 14 year international career in project management, financial control and various management development roles. Richard specialises in working with Senior and Middle Management, focusing on critical Organisational Development Initiatives such as Strategy Development & Implementation, Change Management, and the roll-out of extensive Management & Leadership Development Programmes and One to One Executive Coaching. His previous work across Europe and Africa has helped him understand the impact of organisational culture, and change on managers’ ability to deliver successful results. Richard enjoys the challenge he gets from his work, especially working with clients who face difficult strategic choices or need to develop new skills & behaviours. Richard believes the rewards are satisfying when you know you have made a meaningful contribution.

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