Guide to improve performance management system.

By Janardhan Reddy

An evaluation tool makes people recoil, postponing the discussion, disappear at least temporarily whether it is the employee or the manager.  But performance management system which is the systematic approach to measure the performance of employees cannot be ignored since it directly reflects on the organization’s growth. To achieve overall growth, the company not only depend on its sales but also on a well-designed performance management process to ensure the improvement of employees’ performance and the businesses’ bottom line. Following guidelines will help in making the performance management process a success.

Organizational goals:

Goals should be written clearly and objectively. They must directly contribute to the achievement of business strategy. Goals are set annually and cascade down from organizational and business unit goals; Departmental managers should help employees connect their work to organizational priorities. Goals should be focused on the most important responsibilities for each employee’s role. Goals should be set that not only address what is expected but also how it will be achieved. Streamline goal format by providing a simple template to make it workable.

Making a goal specific, measurable, and time-bound contributes to the ability to make progress on the goal and track that progress. Improve communications and feedback skills of managers to help them do a better job of explaining performance ratings and rewards to employees; be transparent about the impact of organizational budgets on rewards.

Chalk out the performance planning:

Performance planning is a collaborative process between the manager and the employee. Starting with the job description and identifying major job expectations where expectations can be further clarified for each major area. Once this is planned and listed in a simple template as long-term and short-term goals along with action plans, the employee is now ready to work on these designs. At this point the manager should visualize obstacles that might come in the way of achieving the goal. Here the solution to resolve the obstacle should be decided and plan actions needed. Eg: Training / mentoring / installing a new tool etc.

The performance plan works as a reference document as well as establishes a close association between the employee and manager. They should regularly monitor progress against goals chalked out, solve problems when they are in tight corners, re-assess goals, change goals as business direction changes, and training and resources can be re-evaluated.

Goal tracking – A guideline to your PMS:

As all know performance management is a continuous process where the manager and employee work together tracking the achievement, tacking obstacle and providing feedback on various steps. This works like a regular check and guides the performance planning to achieve its goal. The attitude towards ongoing feedback is also crucial. If there is organizational support for building constructive feedback into the fabric of day-to-day interactions, then the environment will encourage development and drive goal-directed performance improvement.

This close watch also guides the participants to prepare contingencies when they meet setbacks.  The learnings become a stepping stone and to create contingencies for future planning. If there is organizational support for building constructive feedback into the fabric of day-to-day interactions, then the environment will encourage development and drive goal-directed performance improvement.

improve performance management system

Documentation gives a helping hand:

Various records maintained by employees, managers, departmental heads within the organization documented should be available for reference. The manager should maintain the performance log objectively for each employee and must record all significant occurrences, positive or negative. These can be of great help when the employee wants to salvage himself from an impending failure to meet the deadline. And when the employee performs exceptionally well or meets deadlines consistently, the manager cannot fail to reward the employee.

Gathering performance information from a variety of sources increases objectivity and ensures all factors impacting performance are considered in the right direction.  Feedback from all quarters helps in guiding the performance management and the performers (employees and managers) take correct steps towards their goal.

Consistency in training needed:

A performance management system requires guidance to all the employees of the organization.  The HR personnel should arrange for training at various levels from PulseHRM personnel before the implementation of the system.  It will be wrong to take for granted that the senior members will know everything and only the junior employees need to be coached.  Training sessions from PulseHRM experts will guide the organization to streamline the flow and achieve the target. Training is required to ensure managers are adequately prepared to effectively complete all the tasks related to performance management and also understand that individuals at different levels of comfort, ability and experience with their jobs will require different levels of input, support and supervision.

Performance appraisal:

Based on job expectations, key areas of contribution, previously discussed goals and evaluation methods, the appraisal should be a written confirmation of what has already been discussed with the employee. The performance appraisal form needs to be job-related and based upon observable behaviors should include

  • key job responsibilities
  • current project work
  • relevant competencies
  • goals and achievements
  • an area for employees to record their self-appraisal and comments.
  • An area for the manager to summarize key points

It is imperative that the employee needs to sign the appraisal at the end of the discussion.  This form becomes the basis of compensating the employee for his performance in the present day.

Making performance management process a success:

The performance management process must add value to the employee and the organization. Else problems with resistance and non-participation will surface.  Automated reminders and scheduling tools can help keep the process on track when employees are busy with their day to day work.

Finally, Performance management –goal setting, performance planning, performance monitoring, feedback and coaching – should be an ongoing and continuous process, not once or twice-yearly event to be used as a tool to compensate employees. The feedback that is delivered when it is most relevant enhances learning and provides the opportunity to make any adjustments needed to meet objectives of the performance management process.

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