Effective managers practice Performance Management for long. To them it is not just target setting, also is it the most common to plan the work, to measure progress, to improve performance and to give staff feedback and appreciation. It is a way of managing that promotes successful performing. The Performance Management process is one of the most important resources available to an organisation to be successful and to continue to do so; it builds a results-orientated culture. Results-orientated organisations it shows perform better, both financially and non financially. The Performance Management process is an important tool to managers, yet employees use it to be successful. It enables every employee to take responsibility and significantly contribute to the success of the organisation. It enables every employee to control his or her own performance and be held accountable for the results achieved. It pays to continue to invest in the quality of the performance management process.
Performance Management has been founded on a clear people and organisational vision. In that it assumes that people are naturally motivated if they:
Remember the story about the naive student in his first English literature course who was worried because he didn’t know what prose was? When he found out that prose was ordinary speech, he exclaimed, “Wow! I’ve been speaking prose all my life!” Managing performance well is like speaking prose. Many managers have been “speaking” and practicing effective performance management naturally all their supervisory lives, but don’t know it!
Some people mistakenly assume that performance management is concerned only with following regulatory requirements to appraise and rate performance. Actually, assigning ratings of record is only one part of the overall process (and perhaps the least important part). Performance management is the systematic process of:
Effective managers plan their work. Planning means the setting of performance expectations and goals for groups and individuals to channel their efforts toward achieving organisational objectives. Getting employees involved in the planning process will help them understand the goals of the organisation, what needs to be done, why it needs to be done, and how well it should be done.
The regulatory requirements for planning employees’ performance include establishing the elements and standards of their performance appraisal plans. Performance elements and standards should be measurable, understandable, verifiable, equitable, and achievable. Through critical elements, employees are held accountable as individuals for work assignments or responsibilities. Employee performance plans should be flexible so that they can be adjusted for changing program objectives and work requirements. When used effectively, these plans can be beneficial working documents that are discussed often, and not merely paperwork that is tiled in a drawer and seen only when ratings of record are required.
Effective managers see to it that assignments and projects are monitored continually. Monitoring well means consistently measuring performance and providing ongoing feedback to employees and work groups on their progress toward reaching their goals.
Regulatory requirements for monitoring performance include conducting progress reviews with employees where their performance is compared against their elements and standards. Ongoing monitoring provides the supervisor the opportunity to check how well employees are meeting predetermined standards and to make changes to unrealistic or problematic standards. And by monitoring continually, supervisors can identify unacceptable performance at any time during the appraisal period and provide assistance to address such performance rather than wait until the end of the period when summary rating levels are assigned.
Effective managers evaluate and address the developmental needs of their employees. Developing in this instance means increasing the capacity to perform through training, giving assignments that introduce new skills or higher levels of responsibility, improving work processes, or other methods. Providing employees with training and developmental opportunities encourages good performance, strengthens job-related skills and competencies, and helps employees keep up with changes in the workplace, such as the introduction of new technology.
Carrying out the processes of performance management provides an excellent opportunity for supervisors and employees to identify developmental needs. While planning and monitoring the work, deficiencies in performance become evident and should be addressed. Areas for improving good performance also stand out, and action can be taken to help successful employees improve even further.
An effective manager will, from time to time, find it useful to summarize employee performance. This helps the manager look at and compare performance over time or across a set of employees. Organisations need to know who their best performers are.
Within the context of formal performance appraisal requirements, rating means evaluating employee or group performance against the elements and standards in an employee’s performance plan and assigning a summary rating of record. The rating of record is assigned according to procedures included in the organisation’s appraisal program. It is based on work performed during an entire appraisal period. The rating of record has a bearing on various other personnel actions, such as granting within-grade pay increases and determining additional retention service credit in a reduction in force.
Effective managers understand the importance of using rewards well. Rewarding means recognizing employees, individually and as members of groups, for their performance and acknowledging their contributions to the agency’s mission. A basic principle of effective management is that all behaviour is controlled by its consequences. Those consequences can and should be both formal and informal and both positive and negative.
Good managers don’t wait for their organisation to solicit nominations for formal awards before recognizing good performance. Recognition is an ongoing, natural part of day-to-day experience. A lot of the actions that reward good performance like saying “Thank you” don’t require a specific regulatory authority. Nonetheless, awards regulations provide a broad range of forms that more formal rewards can take, such as cash, time off, and many nonmonetary items. The regulations also cover a variety of contributions that can be rewarded, from suggestions to group accomplishments.
Good managers have been speaking and practicing effective performance management all their lives, executing each key component process well. They not only set goals and plan work routinely; they measure progress toward those goals and give feedback to employees. They set high standards, but they also take care to develop the skills needed to reach them. And they use formal and informal rewards to recognize the behaviour and results that accomplish their mission. All five components working together and supporting each other achieve natural, effective performance management.