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Four performance management activities to make your job easier

by , 24 January 2017
Four performance management activities to make your job easierI had some very interesting discussions with a client over the past month about the challenges of managing performance. He was complaining that it's very time intensive to stand over each of his employees, checking they're doing their job. He isn't getting his own work done and he's getting more and more despondent as time goes on.

Luckily for my client there is help at hand and we're implementing a performance management process for him. If you're doing performance management right, then you shouldn't be standing over your employees all the time, checking what they're doing. In fact, if you put the most effort into these four key performance management activities, you'll find that you will have the time to get on with the business of running your business.

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4 Key performance management activities to make your job easier
  1. Set goals. This entails setting goals and measureable targets. Define the accountabilities and span of control to get the job done properly and set timeframes for delivery. It's also the time to agree what support and assistance your employee will need going forward to get their job done. The more detailed the goal setting, the easier it is to manage performance and measure the deliverables against the desired goal(s). Spend at least 40% of your performance management effort here.
  1. Have quarterly performance reviews. When you review your employees' performance, you need to focus only on the timeframe under review. So, for example, at the end of Q1, you'll assess whether your employee has achieved the deliverables for Q1 that were detailed during the goal setting phase. At the end of the performance review cycle (usually 12 months), it's acceptable to not only assess the deliverables for Q4 but also to assess the overall delivery for the past 12 months (always in light of what was set during the goal setting phase). Spend at least 20% of your performance management effort here.
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  1. Manage poor- or non-performance. Ideally, besides the formal performance review, you should hold informal performance discussions with your employee as often as required but usually on a 6 week basis. This'll allow you to see if problems are developing and nip them in the bud before they become debilitating to your employee's performance and your organisation.
Managing poor- or non-performance can include counselling, training, mentoring, coaching, etc. and extend as far as disciplinary action for misconduct or for incapacity. The key with managing performance is to quickly identify the problem(s) and then take decisive action to deal with it. Spend at least 30% of your performance management effort here.
4.            Reward and recognise superior performance. This important performance management step is often overlooked – with dire consequences for retaining your good performers. Keeping your superior performers happy is a crucial step to ensure they stay with you and that good performance standards are maintained and can be used as an example to others who may not yet be delivering at the desired level. Reward and recognition comes in many forms besides the traditional money-based bonuses, so get to know what drives each of your superior performers and implement a 'basket' of reward options that suit a range of lifestyles. Spend about 10% of your performance management effort here.
I'm glad I could help my client out on this issue. He understands that to free up his time in the long term, he needs to put in the effort now, in the short term, as we build a performance management system that suits his environment. It's going to be great to see him less stressed in the future as productivity increases in leaps and bounds. In this tough economic climate, that's enough to make any manager smile again!
Until next time….
Warm regards

Janine Nieuwoudt
Editor-in-chief - Practical Guide to Human Resources Management

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