Hitting Targets in 2024: Performance Management Dos and Don’ts

Performance management can be a very powerful tool for businesses to mobilise the energy of Employees toward contributing to the achievement of the Organisations’ strategic goals.

While it’s important that everyone is clear on what they need to do to achieve expected standards, it’s also important for management and leaders to support individual Employees and teams in achieving their goals. To help busy Employers avoid some common performance management pitfalls, we’ve compiled the following list of dos and don’ts….

Do align performance management systems with your Organisation’s strategy
Not all performance management systems are the same. Once senior leadership teams are clear on the strategy of the Organisation, the individual and team objectives within the performance management system should align with this overall strategy. There are motivational benefits for individual Employees and teams when they can see how their roles help the Organisation move closer to its strategic objectives.

Do encourage regular Employee-Manager communications
Ongoing communication between Employees and their Managers has been found to improve performance and overall Organisational success. Managers who communicate well with their Employees tend to spot issues at an early stage and work with their Employees on developing solutions. How often to check in with Employees on an individual or group level needs to be judged by Managers based on contextual factors like the nature of the work and the personalities involved. A good manager will develop contact points that can work for both individuals and teams.

Do appraise the appraiser
Managers are generally responsible for monitoring individual Employee performance. While the performance management process tends to be standardised to avoid allegations of unfair treatment, there is a risk that certain Managers may let conscious or unconscious bias influence their appraisals. Providing appropriate training to Managers on how to conduct evaluations and appraisals will help maintain the integrity of the performance management system and improve the Manager’s own performance.

Don’t set standard or generic goals
Managers should consider the type of work performed by individual Employees. If team members are working in roles that involve straightforward or predictable tasks, individual and team goals that are clear, measurable, and challenging may be most appropriate.

Employees who are working on complex tasks that involve developing new skills or using their judgment based on data analysis for example may be distracted rather than motivated by a challenging goal. In these circumstances, the goal might focus on how the Employee approaches their tasks, how they will handle setbacks, or on personal learning outcomes that will help the Employee perform their best.

Whatever the role, ensure to establish the goals and objectives jointly with the Employee.

Don’t underestimate the power of feedback
Monitoring performance is intrinsically linked with feedback. From a Manager’s perspective, ongoing feedback is likely to produce better results than waiting for a scheduled appraisal meeting. Feedback that is given well and at the right time can be inspiring. On the other hand, poorly timed or judged feedback can also be discouraging. Studies have found that there is no universally correct way to give feedback and management must use an individual approach to include the Employee’s personality and any relevant contextual issues around their role and position within the Organisation.

Don’t avoid dealing with poor performance
Poor performance may sometimes be avoided as it is a difficult situation to manage. The following steps may be considered when addressing poor performance:

• Define the problem and its effect
• Link the problem to the role requirements or behaviour where improvement is required
• Seek the Employee’s opinion as to why the problem is occurring
• Identify the performance indicators by which improvement will be measured
• Establish SMART objectives
• Develop a performance improvement plan (PIP)
• Monitor this plan and measurement against performance indicators

The first meeting to discuss an Employee’s poor performance is often the most difficult. The Manager should aim to keep the meeting as informal as possible and emphasize why the meeting is being held. The Employee’s opinion is an important consideration to help accurately identify why their performance has dipped and to develop a plan to turn it around.

The discussions at this meeting will inform the development of a performance important plan (PIP) that should be drawn up as soon as possible. Review dates should be arranged where the successes or failings of the PIP can be discussed with the Employee.

An effective Performance Management System Framework develops an engaged and productive workforce. The process promotes active and ongoing communication and supports the Organisation in accomplishing its strategic objectives.

Performance management is sometimes perceived negatively by Employees but Managers should work hard to dispel this myth. Performance Management that is based on two-way communications can build trust, promote transparency, and deliver exceptional individual and Organisational performance.

If your Organisation needs advice, support, or guidance in relation to compliance requirements or any HR issues, please check out our website https://www.shannonchamber.ie/services/shannon-chamber-hr/ or contact Adare Human Resource Management call (01) 561 3594 or email info@adarehrm.ie 

Adare Human Resource Management is a team of expert-led Employment Law, Industrial Relations and best practice Human Resource Management consultants. If your Organisation needs advice, support, or guidance about compliance requirements or any HR issues. For more information, please visit our website www.adarehrm.ie