Q: What is performance management?
A: “Managing” the performance of an employee involves identifying poor performance, monitoring and recording it, and tackling performance issues either by finding ways to improve an employee’s performance or moving them out of the business. The aim is to ensure employees fulfil business objectives and do the job they are paid to do, in line with the requirements of the role.
It brings together many elements of good people management practice, including learning and development, measurement of performance, and organisational development. For this very reason, it is complex and often misunderstood.
Performance management should incorporate:
- Performance improvement– throughout the organisation, in respect of individual, team and organisational effectiveness
- Development – unless there is continuous development of individuals and teams, performance will not improve
- Managing behaviour – ensuring that individuals behave in a way that fosters healthy and productive working relationships.
Performance management is not, as is often assumed, only used when an employee is underperforming. Performance should be measured right from the start of employment so that there are clear parameters in place and transparency over expectations:
- Develop clear job descriptions and employee performance plans;
- Encourage high performance by putting in place rewards and employee engagement plans;
- Set realistic and achievable targets for improvement;
- Provide continuous coaching and feedback during the period of delivery of performance;
- Identify any training and development needs by measuring the outcomes achieved against the set standards and implement effective development programs for improvement;
- Hold at least quarterly performance development discussions and evaluate employee performance on the basis of performance plans;
- Provide career development support and guidance to employees;
- If performance remains poor, ensure you follow a robust capability procedure and, if necessary, issue warnings or dismiss;
- Perform exit interviews to understand the cause of employee discontentment and take action to rectify things which have gone wrong in the past.
Q: Who should undertake performance management?
A: Ordinarily, performance management would be undertaken by an employee’s line manager. HR is often involved with the process though – if only as they are ordinarily the ones that produce the tools that the managers then use.
Q: What help can we give to you?
A: As well as providing legal advice on any aspect of performance management, our Employment Law and HR Adviser team includes HR practitioners who can come in and conduct performance management for you, leaving you free to run your business.
Our HR advisers are trained to understand the important HR issues and to make sure performance management procedures are compliant from an employment law perspective – giving you the peace of mind that if any disputes arise you will be in the best position to deal with them.
We work on day and half day rates and remember, if you are a Watertight member, you get 10% off our fees.