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How to Build a Performance Management Program that Works

Once you get the talent you need through the front door, how do you ensure that the quality of their work will remain consistent?

Nobody likes a micro-manager.  Hanging over your employees like a bad smell is bound to raise hackles.  By the same token, there need to be benchmarks in place that assure you of consistency of effort, quality and value.

This post looks at how to build a performance management program that works.

Defining Required Competencies

Every role in your organization is different.  Nonetheless, there are certain overarching competencies you demand from all your employees.  These boil down to a handful of necessaries which define an employee who’s doing the job right.

But first, it’s crucial that you codify the behaviors and competencies required by individual roles.  Setting these out at the time of onboarding makes your expectations clear to the employee and prevents unnecessary misunderstandings.  Going back to these when it’s time for employee reviews is a best practice that helps employees keep their eyes on the ball.

Performance Review Structure

Performance reviews are important, because they keep you in touch with how employees are doing.  By the same token, they can be time-consuming and even a little intimidating for employees under review.

An annual review is generally expected but dispensing with quarterly or post-project reviews is probably advisable.  There are better ways of achieving the end of managing performance.  And when annual reviews are scheduled to coincide with yearly business planning, you’re more likely to find the sweet spot for aligning your organizational goals with employee development.

Online tools are a good supplement to the annual review, allowing for peer commentary and encouragement or critique from managers.  But don’t let technology get in the way of face-to-face conversations that may have the effect of cementing relationships and boosting engagement.

Sometimes, that brief head-to-head is the most effective tool in your performance management toolbox.

The Manager’s Role

Once you’ve decided on the frequency of employee reviews and the tools and strategies you’ll deploy to support these, your next step it to ensure that managers are on board and fulfilling their duties in this regard.

Managers play a pivotal role in performance management, as they’re on the ground, working closely with employees. Create a rating system which allows them to gauge performance in a variety of areas like meeting goals, consistency of work and core competencies.

Rating employees in each area on a scale of 1 to 5 establishes a framework for discussion and exploration of where improvement might be seen.  But sharing these markers with employees is crucial to ensure transparency of the process.

Managers take on a coaching function with their pre-review assessments.  This opens the door to frank discussions with employees on where they can do better and where they’ve excelled.  Employees can then move forward with a clearer idea of how their work can better support your goals.

Precedent HR is setting the standard in employee recruitment and retention.  Contact us for a free demonstration.

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