We are well into a new year and it is time to start organising this year’s performance management review. Even though you might say it is too early and you only do Performance Management at the end of the year when the yearly evaluation is due.
If you wish to increase the average performance of your employees then it is now time to start working on the performance management of your employees. You need to indentify employees Key Performance Indicators at the start of the year. Find out what is essential for your business and what employees need to have achieved to make the year effective for both company and employee.
Let the employee first present his ideas on objectives which should be achieved at the end of the year, starting with the objectives with the highest priority. Next the manager introduces his ideas on the employee’s key objectives for the upcoming period. Discuss the differences and obtain mutual understanding and agreement about a set of three to a maximum of six key objectives. Remember the key objectives should fall logically in the employee’s key results areas and should be important for accomplishing the organisational objectives. The manager typically has the ultimate responsibility and authority to set the final objectives. However, showing empathy and demonstrating good listening skills will facilitate the employee’s acceptance of objectives that address genuine business needs. Remember that research shows that employees will normally set higher objectives for themselves than what a manager would have set. Giving employees a strong input in their own objectives will result in better objectives for the organisation. However ensure that some employees don’t overstate their case by setting too difficult objectives.
Once the objectives are set, make sure that the objectives are not ambiguous. The usual test is that an objective should be SMART: –
- Specific – As a clear and precise as necessary to avoid misinterpretations
- Measurable – Measurable defines how the manager will know whether the quantity, quality, cost timeliness of the result have been met. Measures preferably are numeric, i.e. they define units to be tracked.
- Agreed, Achievable and Ambitious. Both manager and employee should say ‘We can do it’ the aim is to provide for the ownership of objectives not the imposition. Account should be taken of the employee’s capabilities and resources.
- Related – The objectives should be related to the Mission, Vision, Values and Plans of the organisation.
- Time-bound – A specific date for end results has been set. The more complicated or longer and important the objective is the more checkpoints the manager require.
Common sense suggests that when the employee agrees to work on up to six objectives, it would be a good idea to identify their order of importance. Ranking them on importance can help the employee discuss priorities and agree on what is really important in the job. It also avoids employees wasting time on less important objectives and avoiding the really important ones.
After setting the key objectives then coaching employees becomes important. Coaching is the art of facilitating the performance, learning and development of another. The essence of coaching in a working environment is to explore and increase the potential of an employee and using this to mutual benefit of both company and employee. To coach is to listen to how employees handle situations and ask clarifying questions in order to let the employee become aware how they should act effectively in the future. Coaching is a very effective way of developing your employees to become more resilient employees who are able to handle more situations on their own. You need to assess that your employee is ready for coaching. There are two basic requirements to successfully coach an employee. The employee needs to be: –
- Able to do the job
- Willing to do the job.
If the employee is not yet fully trained then instructions and training need to be completed to ensure that the employee can handle tasks on their own and from that point onwards coaching can apply.
If the employee is able but not willing to perform their task a more directive management style is required. You need to tell the employee what and when to do their tasks in clear and unambiguous terms and only after the employee has proven to be willing to do the work then you can delegate more responsibilities.
It takes time for managers to coach employees however, the returns will be great once employees become more independent and able to handle different situations. It is an investment at the start but you will gain more time once the employee and you become confident that they are able to handle various situations independently.
All of this will enable you to make a good start to your annual Performance Management. If you have any questions regarding performance management you can give me a call at 065 7071933