Debunking Performance Management Myths

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min read
June 28, 2024
July 1, 2024
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Our recent webinar Debunking Performance Management Manager Myths explored managers' excuses not to engage with performance management. This blog post explores some of the questions attendees addressed during this session.

 “I don’t have time.”
“My team is doing fine. I don’t need to keep meeting up with them.”
“I only need to check in with people at salary review time.”

…and other excuses, were the subject of discussion during our webinar on Debunking Performance Management Myths.

Performance management experts Amira Kohler, Tom Blake, Marc Earnshaw and our founder, Roly Walter, worked through the most common reasons that we hear from managers. You can watch a video of the whole session here:

Watch on-demand

Below, we answer the questions that we didn’t get to on the day. Thanks to everyone who came for your active participation!

Q | What can I do when a manager says they haven't had enough time with the employee to set objectives?

A |  There are a few courses of action and it depends on why the manager hasn’t had enough time with the employee to set their objectives. If the reason is, perhaps, that the manager doesn’t know how to set objectives then it might be that they need some coaching (take a look at the Appraisd guide to do’s and don'ts guide to setting objectives as a resource to help them). Alternatively, if the manager isn’t prioritising setting objectives, but knows how to do it, then it comes down to explaining the value to them – how will setting time aside for this be a positive for them as a manager as well as the employee?  

Q| How do you get managers to start having regular performance management conversations, especially when the last performance conversation they had might not have been effective and was a year ago?

A | One of the most powerful things you can do is role-model what you want to see happen. So, make sure that the HR team is doing what you’d like others to do. Secondly, check whether managers are reticent because they had a poor experience in their last performance management meeting as some training may be required. Appraisd has lots of free downloadable resources that HR can use to help managers prepare. Lastly, could you switch up your process to encourage more regular but less daunting performance conversations? New templates and forms that are more inviting can help you chip away at old habits.

Q | How do you approach a situation whereby you're continuously bringing up minor issues and not seeing any improvements, but when you tackle things with a bit more strength you get push-back?

A | Firstly, be clear about what you expect from the employee, and why they need to act. Make a shared summary note (ideally in Appraisd) of even the briefest of performance conversations to emphasise that this is important. If informal discussions don’t work then the HR process has to kick in – what are the consequences when change doesn’t happen? Importantly, this needs to be a regular, ongoing and documented discussion so there are no surprises come annual review time when a discussion about salary or promotion takes place.

Q | How do you manage a conversation with an employee that is not realistic about his/her performance and is constantly asking for a salary increase?

A | When there’s a gap between how the employee and manager see performance, it’s best tackled regularly so that the employee’s expectations are managed throughout the year. Regular informal and formal conversations can ensure there’s no surprise come salary review time. There should be clear parameters for what constitutes high or outstanding performance so don’t be afraid to challenge and ask questions about what the employee feels they’ve done to meet the requirements for a pay rise.

Q | The time issue comes up frequently for our education staff in our schools, where staff work 8.30 - 3.30 with SEND pupils and are exhausted and keen to get home.  As their teaching / support is with small groups there is a challenge to release time.  What would you suggest in that setting?

A| Try to break down ‘performance’ into its component parts so that conversations can be shorter, more focused and less daunting. For example, hold separate discussions on: career progression, objectives, wellbeing, salary reviews, training and development. Little and often may help. Try a daily stand up, popular in agile tech teams. To guide conversations, take a look at some of our downloadable guides such as our Career, Personal Development and Check-in templates.

Q | What is the best way to prepare for performance management meetings?

A | To an extent, it depends on the type of meeting. Those which are formal might require more preparation compared to regular 1:1s. Take a look at some of our downloadable guides such as How to Prepare for a Performance Review, How to Conduct a Performance Review, and our check-in template.

Q | Is there a balance between more informal check-ins and formal performance meetings?

A | Yes, our belief is that a mix of regular (weekly or monthly) 1:1 check-ins, paired with a more formal meeting (quarterly or bi-annually) is the best combination. This means there is ample opportunity for quick course corrections as well as time set aside to reflect and discuss career development. We have free resources to support managers at either end of the spectrum from check-ins to end-of-year reviews.

Q | Can I get a recording?

A | Absolutely! You can access it here.

We’ve created a suite of resources for line managers, first-time managers, accidental managers and anyone who needs a refresher! Talk to us if you’d like to learn more about Appraisd, our platform and our community.

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