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Managing performance management

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Performance management will always be something that is part of the core business model, whether you’re being managed or doing the managing. Performance management is supposed to act as a more proactive method than a weekly/monthly/annual review. Well-structured performance management is the continuous process of objective setting, assessment of progress and continuous coaching and feedback to ensure that employees are meeting their objectives and growing in their role and career.

So what defines poor performance management?

Well as stated above, performance management is supposed to be proactive, to be effective and to be on going. If there were an issue with an employee, poor performance management would be not engaging with that employee until a scheduled review.

It’s obviously human nature to try and deter from conflict, so managers not well versed in good performance management; may avoid or delay having difficult conversations with underperforming employees. This effectively derails the whole meeting as the employee’s fight or flight response is triggered by the perceived threat of coming under pressure from a ‘list’ of concerns, which have been accrued overtime.

In other cases, managers take the safest approach and give an average review to poor performers simply to avoid conflict. It also means that high performers will be lost in the process, as they won’t receive an effective or honest review. Therefore, organisations will quickly lose their best people as they’ll feel they’re being mismanaged or not being taken seriously.

I feel performance management can be improved in organisations, simply by following some of the below steps:

  • Create an environment in which high performance is the norm- You want to celebrate your high performers successes and get them to guide and the rest of your team, publicly celebrate success, embrace victories and learn from them.
  • Keep the conversation’s flowing- performance manage employees regularly and make it spontaneous, get your employees to relax and not dread ‘going into the meeting room’ every time you hold a performance chat. Maybe start holding them more casually at their desks to mix it up a bit?
  • Keep it simple-Don’t overcomplicate the situation and stick to managing their personal performance rather than bringing other non-related matters into play, it’s supposed to be about them, so keep it that way