Performance management the key to ensuring effective staff

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1 Performance management the key to ensuring effective staff How do you get the best out of your staff? What factors are key in people achieving what they need to achieve -- being effective in their role? I have spent over 10 years training and developing managers and supervisors and their staff. I have studied good business practice and effective human resource systems, policies and procedures. I have reflected on the issues that manager s mention to me as their problems, what behaviour is causing aggro in the workplace, makes being a manager a challenge. My conclusion is that performance management is key to achieving effective people. What is performance management? Essentially it's what it sounds like -- managing the performance of people. A performance management system can be simple or complex, informal or formal it depends on the needs of the organisation and the individuals working within the organisation. Key aspects Its an ongoing process It s a communication process It s a partnership, between an employee and his/her immediate supervisor It s a process that involves establishing clear expectations and understanding about the jobs to be done. It s a process that has components parts Components of an effective Performance Management System: - Performance Planning The starting point for performance management: employee & manager work together to identify, understand, and agree on what the employee is to be doing, how well it is to be done, why, when etc. Ongoing Performance Communication A continual dialogue between manager and employee to ensure that job tasks stay on track, that problems are highlighted before they grow, and that both manager and employee keep up to date. Data Capture and Documentation This involves collecting information about how the organisation and individuals are performing. The purpose is to identify how to improve performance. The information can be captured by different means by tangible measures e.g. calls per hour, production levels or by observation of behaviours by the manager. Performance Review meetings These are meetings to assess the degree to which performance objectives have been achieved by the employee and to plan further objectives, deal with problems etc. Review meetings can be as frequent as required. Many organisations have an annual formal performance review meeting, often called appraisal. Performance Diagnosis A process of problem solving used to diagnose and find solutions to problems. Development/Coaching Integral to the performance management process are activities that assist in performance improvement. These maybe on the job learning, training programmes, coaching or any other intervention that enables performance improvement. Why manage performance? Every person working for an organisation - private or public sector - is a resource. Thus it is essential for any organisation to maximise the potential and effectiveness of the resource:- For private sector organisation it increases competitiveness and reduces costs For public sector organisation it maximises the value from the resource

2 Benefits of Performance Management For Managers If you follow good practice principles and invest time in communicating with your staff performance management offers many benefits It can: Reduce the need for you to be involved in everything that goes on as you are more confident of your employees ability Save your time by enabling your employees to make decisions on their own as they have the necessary knowledge & understanding to make decisions properly Reduce time consuming misunderstandings and disagreements among your staff about who is responsible for what Reduce mistakes and errors by helping you and your staff identify the causes of errors or inefficiencies Performance management is essentially an investment up front so that you can let your employees do their jobs and you can focus on your own added value activities. Benefits for Employees Staff will Know whether they are doing well or not Know what level of authority they have Get recognition for a job well done Have an opportunity to develop new skills Make decisions for themselves Performance management can provide opportunities for discussion of work progress. As performance management helps employees understand what they should be doing and why, they are more able to make day-to-day decisions and they require less monitoring from managers. Benefits for the Organisation Tangible business benefits gained from effective performance management are Being able to Meet business objectives Improve productivity Meet deadlines Achieve Quality In terms of the impact on the workplace other benefits are A positive working environment Customer satisfaction Staff retention How to ensure you manage performance effectively 1. Performance Management starts before recruitment Identify what the job fit is Research has identified that job fit is crucial to achieving job performance. Job fit is the match of the job with the individuals doing it. A fit is required with skill set/competency, knowledge and attitude requirements and also with the culture and structure of the organisation. Every organisation has a culture and structure and it cannot not impact on the organisation. As well as identifying the skill set required of a prospective employee also consider your organisations culture and structure and its impact. Align job performance to the organisations objectives and goals Every organisation has goals and objectives. It makes sense to align people s goals and objectives to the organisations so that both are moving in the same direction. As a result consistency and achievement of objectives is more likely.

3 Some questions to ask prior to the recruitment process What knowledge, skills and attitudes are required in the job? How do these fit with the culture and structure of the organisation? What fit with the organisation do we want to see? What level of knowledge, skills and attitude are required? What enhancements do you want to see in the person s knowledge, skills, and attitude? Over what time scale? How can you translate these enhancements into behaviours how will you know they are or are not being achieved? Some tips Beware of Woolly words Woolly words will get woolly results. For example if you want people who care What does that mean in behaviours? How can you assess whether it s being achieved? How are you going to measure it? Recruit for attitude, train for skills Note this maxim - it s much harder to change attitude than skills 2. Work in Progress You ve recruited a person who you believe will perform well for the company. What next? Managing and developing performance Personal Development Plans Every employee should have a personal development plan. The objective is for the person to be as effective as they can be. In terms of performance this means high levels of competence and high levels of commitment they are able to do the job well and do it well A personal development plan is a road map to get an employee to this outcome. It can be useful to audit current performance levels. One approach is to assess every person against the following criteria:- High commitment and high competence High commitment and low competence Low commitment and high competence Low commitment and low competence This approach offers an opportunity to start managing performance. Note well that this is a starting point only you are making a subjective assessment and you may be incorrect in your assessment. Ask yourself Why are you reaching your decision? Why do you identify them as having the levels of competence and commitment what tangible evidence in behaviours do you have to back up your assessment? What behaviours are high commitment and high competence? How do you plan to manage the performance so that staff get to a level of high competence and high commitment and stay there? Setting goals and objectives The development plan and other performance planning should use SMART objectives and goals:-

4 SMART Specific Measurable Agreed/action focused Realistic Time bound These enable performance to be planned, measured and reviewed objectively and constructively. Think behaviours Focus on changing behaviours rather than attitudes. You cannot manage how people think, but you can manage behaviours that impact on their performance. Focus on these. Manage people as the individuals they are but be equitable Each person is unique and needs to be managed accordingly. The one size fits all approach does not work with people. People are different and assuming that how you will motivate/develop person A will work for person B is flawed. Some people need more praise than others, some can work more independently. An effective manager is one who is flexible enough to manage people how they want to be managed, whilst still being equitable and keeping the long term objectives of the organisation in mind. Each member of staff will have different things that motivate them and help them perform find out from your staff what motivates them. Encourage involvement, feedback and dialogue Ensure your staff feel able to discuss their role and performance with you, and others, openly and honestly. They know their job best so Discuss performance on a frequent, regular basis Encourage personal ownership of performance Involve your staff in their own performance as much as possible - help them to learn, develop and enhance their performance Communicate, communicate, communicate - Don t assume your staff know what they are doing or why. Good communication is key to enabling good performance. Lead by example Your own approach to your job will impact on your staffs view of theirs so lead from the front and work in ways you want them to. Do you do any performance development? If not how can you expect others to see its value? Recognition and reward What gets measure gets focused on how are you recognising and rewarding good performance? Reward doesn t have to be financial praise, recognition and feedback are powerful motivators Give praise and positive feedback Encourage and reinforce good performance by recognition and reward of positive behaviours Sounds great - How do I put it into practice? Performance management is a critical aspect of managing people effectively. The scale of input required from managers can make it seem daunting for many, especially if they are inexperienced. The good news is that there are many sources of information to help you to manage performance effectively. Web sites The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has a great deal of information and advice about performance management much of it available to non members web site Training programmes Many organisations run training programmes on performance management Contact us for a free tip sheet on performance management -

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