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Are you sabotaging your employees' performance by giving them nonsense targets?

by , 20 November 2013
A schoolteacher in the UK is stunned after being told that her newest job target is to change her accent so she sounds 'more southern'. The question is, how will that make her a better teacher? And does the person who's setting her goals and targets really have a grip on proper performance management?Do you?

We asked the experts at the Labour Law For Managers Loose Leaf about the performance management process, and how to simplify the requirements for the employer.
Take a look at their step-by-step instructions.
Manage your employee performance in these six steps:
Step #1: Tell him what his job is – the job description
You employ a person to achieve certain desired results. You must discuss these results up front and record them in writing in a job description. The job description must contain key performance areas, standards of performance and specific tasks.
You must set the employee's targets taking into account the company's strategy and budgets. Then pass on to your subordinates the targets for which they must be responsible and must deliver.
Performance standards must be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, reasonable and time-framed). Simply put, if you can't measure it, you can't manage it. If there are no standards for a key area, then you should discard it, since it has no real value.
The standard helps you to define when your employee has done his job well. Clearly, if the employee has achieved the agreed standard, you know he's done a good job.
How the employee carries out the tasks or activities is dependent on his own management style and personality. Each task in itself has a standard.
Step #2: Give him the tools and training he needs
Where you don't have a formal training programme, assign him to a person who is competent in the processes and systems, or let him spend time with you to learn. Conduct informal appraisals throughout this time to help the employee to understand and learn the products and systems on a daily basis.
Step #3: Give him the opportunity to perform
You need to monitor him as much as possible and give him feedback so he can attain high levels of performance as soon as possible and sort out any shortcomings before they become serious issues.
Don't forget to measure the employee's performance throughout this process.
Step #4: Follow a proper appraisal process
There are two approaches to appraisal: informal and formal.
·         The informal appraisal: This appraisal takes place as you interact with your employee, e.g. you see he's doing something incorrectly and you suggest an alternative (correct) action.
·         The formal appraisal:This takes place at least once a year but more often every six months.
Step #5: Keep written records
You must minute the results of the appraisal, sign it and get your employee to sign it too.
Step #6: Reward employees appropriately
If the evaluation was poor, then you must tell the employee that, unless he improves, you won't grant him any further increases.
Tell those who've done well that you'll reward their contribution at increase/bonus time – and you must do so. You must meet the expectations of your good performers.

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