Navigating performance management

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7
min read
March 19, 2024
March 21, 2024
Two women speaking in a corporate setting
In this article

While there is no route map for ideal performance management, we can help you to navigate the essentials effectively

Performance management has come a long way from the days of the annual appraisal. Then it was a once-a-year activity that took centre stage for a few weeks, before being largely forgotten until the following year. In the modern workplace, it’s become a core part of people management, linking to other key areas, such as employee engagement, recruitment and retention,and wellbeing. Processes vary hugely, with many organisations developing their own unique approaches to meet their particular circumstances and requirements.

At Appraisd, we often get asked what the ideal performance management process is. While there is no set answer, what works for one business will be completely wrong for another, there are certain elements that should form the basics of every process. Over the next few months, we’ll be talking to a range of experts and practitioners to discuss what these elements are and what factors should be considered when deciding how little or much you want to include each one. These are the areas we’ll be discussing:

What do you want to get out of performance management?

Successful businesses need to have employees that are focused and motivated, aligned with organisational goals and equipped to perform their roles to the best of their abilities. Performance management provides the framework to make this happen.

Every organisation should ask themselves what the main purpose of their performance management process is on a regular basis to make sure it remains fit for purpose. Knowing what you want to achieve will guide you in what your process should include. Any process should match business and employee needs, so it’s highly likely to change over time as your business evolves.

Feedback

One of the main reasons why annual appraisals aren’t effective is that they don’t facilitate timely, relevant feedback. Finding out once a year what you are doing well and what you can improve is pretty useless. To support proper development, you need to know at the time if you are on track or going off the rails. Waiting a whole year to find that out means huge amounts of time can be wasted and bad habits can become ingrained. Conversely, not knowing what has worked well can leave employees feeling unappreciated and undervalued.

Including regular feedback into your performance management process aids with recognition, employee development and motivation. Providing a proper framework for this activity means it can be delivered quickly and easily, allowing managers and employees to make it part of their working day.

Check-ins

Building an open, collaborative relationship between line managers and their employees is vital for creating a happy and healthy workforce. This is the most important relationship within any business. If this becomes toxic, it can have dire consequences, often leading to employees leaving the organisation.

One way to help foster a positive relationship are regular check-ins. They allow line managers and employees to discuss any issues, find solutions and adjust objectives so they remain relevant. They are also valuable in supporting career progression, personal development, wellbeing and every other part of the employee lifecycle.

Objectives

To be as productive as possible, employees need to know what tasks they should prioritise first and when they should complete them. Creating SMART objectives that provide this framework is vital to keep employees focused and motivated.

The number and frequency of objectives will depend on a wealth of different factors including the needs of the organisation, how quickly their market is evolving and what their competitors are doing. It is up to each business to determine what works best for them.

Organisational alignment

A business is like a clock. It consists of multiple moving parts that work together to achieve one key aim – telling the time accurately. If one part becomes misaligned, then the rest of the mechanism breaks down and the clock fails.

Your performance management process gives you the framework to keep all your people, the moving parts, aligned through objectives linked to business goals, working towards the same aim.

Talent development and succession planning

No one likes to feel stuck in a rut. They want to know that they have the option to acquire new skills, take on fresh challenges and develop their experience. While not everyone wants to climb the corporate ladder, they do want to feel they are going somewhere and not staring at a dead end.

An effective performance management process should capture employees’ career ambitions and highlight development opportunities. It should also identify those employees with the desire and aptitude to become the next generation of leaders, ensuring they get the support and training they need to progress. It’s important too that employees are part of this process so they can see their development is a priority.

Performance management works best when everyone across the organisation understands its value. The more tangible benefits managers and employees can see, the more committed they will be to it. If you need help to develop a performance management process that fits your business, contact us for a demo to see how Appraisd can help.

Appraisd’s new podcast series explores these elements through the lens of practitioners. Join our founder and CEO Roly Walter and his guests to hear more about the essentials of performance management in Navigating Performance Management: Your Compass to HR Success.

Watch on YouTube

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Apple Podcasts

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