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What Are Some Performance Management Dos & Don’ts? An Overview

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Performance management is one of the most important activities that are undertaken at the workplace. Yes, there is the job description, and yes, there is the day-to-day management of employees at the workplace, but if you don’t want the risk of being thought of as simply taking advantage of employees but providing them with a healthy workplace where they also grow along with the firm, effective performance management is a must.

Effective performance management cycles take into account the needs of the employee along with the needs of the organization and aim to equip the employee with the right skills and talents they need to perform their job roles with room to spare. Here are some Performance Management Dos and Don’ts that can help you plan and prepare an effective and comprehensive performance management plan for your organization:

Take Performance Management Seriously:

One of the first things that senior managers need to change their outlook towards is the need for effective performance management. It should not be one of the many tasks that they do but one of the most important tasks that they should be doing. They should take care of the employees, who would then go on to take care of the organizational tasks. If employees set specific goals and are trained to perform their goals, they will also be happy to perform well, which would reflect well on the organization.

Set SMART Goals:

SMART refers to Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely, and is one of the guiding principles of goal-setting that needs to reflect in the way managers set goals and go about trying to achieve them. As per these guiding principles, goals need to be Specific, not vague, which means if one is writing down a Key Result Area (KRA) for the HR team, one should write down, and reduce the attrition rate in the coding team by 5% in a year instead of something vague such as reduce employee attrition. Such a KRA is also measurable since it is quantified.

It also needs to be realistic — if the current attrition rate is more than 15%, one cannot expect it to fall down by more than 10% in a single performance management cycle. Similarly, it needs to be Achievable, something that can be done by the HR employee instead of being left to external forces.

SMART goals also show the employees that the managers know what they want and will motivate them to achieve their goals.

No Shortcuts:

One thing that we notice, especially in today’s world, where time is at a premium, is that managers take shortcuts in performance management. The full performance management cycle consists of multiple steps, starting with setting goals for the given performance management period, ensuring that employees have enough training to attain these goals, offering continuous feedback and encouragement, and appraising performance at the end of the given feedback, and offering more feedback to ensure that they attain the goals set for the next performance period.

Each of these steps has further steps, such as preparing scorecards, calling meetings, designing a proper feedback mechanism, and so on. There are no shortcuts in the process, and taking shortcuts will only reduce the sanctity and effectiveness of the process.

Use the Right Tools:

As with many official tasks, performance management also becomes a joy to be undertaken when the organization has the right tools at its disposal. Expecting employees to carry out their performance management-related tasks using email and individual documents is a big ask. When organizations use specific software to manage performance or use specific modules of a Human Resource Information System (HRIS) dedicated to managing performance, leaders and managers will also find it easy to measure employee performance against the goals set to them and quantify the intangible performance of their employees.

Change Goal Posts Constantly:

Changing the goalposts is commonly used in a negative manner, but in the case of performance management, it can have positive connotations as well. When organizations employ the same metrics all the time or use the same old, outdated processes to manage performance, it becomes tedious and time-consuming for employees, who are likely to simply drop the process or simply go through the motions. By ensuring that the performance metrics are keeping in touch with the fast-changing world, and by constantly changing the processes, for example, changing it from an annual exercise to a quarterly or per-project exercise, organizations can keep their employees on their toes constantly and make performance management more meaningful.

In essence, performance management should be one of the more important tasks undertaken by the HR team and the leaders in the organizations to ensure employee motivation and organizational development. When organizations use solutions that take away the grunt work from their HR teams, the HR teams will have more time to undertake these activities.

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