Managing employee performance is an ongoing process that involves keeping in touch with employees on a frequent, ongoing basis, to ensure they are meeting performance expectations and contributing to the company’s organisational goals.
Unlike a formal performance appraisal, where an employee’s work behaviour is analysed at a set period of time (usually once a year or more), performance management is about maintaining regular communication – typically between the employee and the employer, a consultant or HR person – through informal meetings along with structured performance appraisals and interim reviews.
By having a plan tailored to the individual needs of each employee, you can improve the odds of boosting workplace productivity, morale and employee retention.
Effective performance measurement requires knowing which management problem you want to solve, and choosing a performance management system that works for you and your employees.
Based on the size and type of company, you may have one or more systems in place to resolve different work-related issues. Make sure your employee handbook clearly outlines what these systems are, the steps involved in each system, and the kind of outcomes they are meant to achieve.
Here are some of the most common and effective ways to manage employee performance in the workplace.
Before the advent of performance management systems, employers relied solely on annual performance reviews to touch base with employees and check-in on their job performance, productivity, and contribution to the company as a whole.
These days, performance appraisals are no longer just an isolated review of an employee’s performance, instead they are one of many crucial steps that make up a performance management system.
The process itself is simple. Once a year, the employee meets with their employer or manager to have their overall performance analysed and compared to preset standards established by the company, and to receive constructive feedback in regards to areas of performance they need to improve.
Most formal performance reviews are conducted annually. But they may be carried out more frequently to:
Also known as multi-rater feedback, this process gives each employee the chance to receive performance feedback from a broad range of people which includes their employer, manager, supervisor, colleagues, clients and customers.
By getting feedback from multiple sources both inside and outside the company, the employee gets an honest idea of how their behaviour and performance is seen by others, and whether their conduct meets the company’s standards.
To get the most effective feedback, seek comments only from raters who frequently interact with the employee in question. And the rater’s feedback should only reflect what they have personally experienced – not what they have been told by other people.
Most 360 feedback is given anonymously. For this reason, it’s important that the person giving the feedback to the employee explain the reason behind the comments. This way, the employee can better understand why the person felt that way, and what they can do to improve.
Management by objectives is a type of performance management system that involves finding the right balance between the goals of the employees and those of the company itself.
Through a process of collaboration and understanding, both employers and employees have an open dialogue to discuss:
By giving employees a say in regards to company goals and action plans, this makes them feel more valued and helps the company align their objectives with the needs of their individual staff.
When it comes to addressing poor behaviour and performance, smart action can turn an otherwise confronting situation into a solid chance to make changes for the better.
The most common type of workplace disciplinary action is to give the employee an oral or written warning. When the first warning is given, the employee should be told exactly what the issue is, and what they must do to improve their conduct or performance. From there, the employee must be given enough time and support to adopt these changes and work towards self-improvement.