Establishing a performance management sytem
Performance management involves a lot more than simply dealing with problems after they have arisen. Positive performance management should be built into every employment relationship and is equally important for setting expectations and rewarding success as it is for dealing with problems.
Performance management is an ongoing cycle (usually annual) with three basic steps:
- Establishing agreed expectations for the job. Apart from the employment agreement and documenting routine duties, employers and employees may also want to agree on matters like:
- particular milestones the employee is to achieve and whether there will be extra reward for achieving them
- any training or skill development the employee needs and how that will be accomplished
- the employee’s longer-term aspirations and how the employer might help the employee achieve them.
- Reviewing progress regularly and routinely. It is important that employers and employees review progress at an agreed interval (every quarter is typical) and discuss both successes and problems. The credibility of the process can be undermined if performance reviews are only held sporadically or when there is a problem.
- Each review should deal with any problems, recognise success, and revise the objectives for the coming period. This is the opportunity for employers and employees to agree on the state of the existing relationship and to work together on what the future should be. Over time, dealing with problems and seizing opportunities should become part of the fabric of the relationship.
The level of formality should reflect the circumstances of the workplace but having regular discussions on performance enables issues to be raised early on, creating an atmosphere of trust and understanding that should avoid problems.