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Three Ideas about Performance Management

In the last couple of posts, we posted about goal setting and key performance indicators. This post will focus on the broader topic of performance management. We will describe a few common objectives of performance management processes and share a few helpful ideas.

When teaching HR management, I often describe performance management as the process by which we monitor, evaluate, and strengthen the performance of individuals, teams, and/or organizations to most effectively achieve our purpose, often defined as organizational goals.

Performance management systems/processes can be designed to accomplish a variety of goals such as:

  • Clarifying performance expectations

  • Identifying and addressing performance problems

  • Recognizing and rewarding good performance

  • Identifying barriers to performance and addressing them

  • Supporting administrative decisions such as succession planning

Performance management processes come in many shapes and sizes executed through everything from paper-and-pencil documents to sophisticated software systems. There are organizations that do not use them while others over-use them. Regardless of the scale, scope, and existence of your performance management system, the goals identified earlier are important for supporting individual and organizational effectiveness.

The following ideas can help you get the most out of your system/process in whatever form it currently exists:

Idea 1. Determine what goals you want to accomplish with your performance management process and evaluate its effectiveness.

  • How well does its design align with its purpose? For example, are you capturing and using the right information to support succession planning?

  • How has the process or purpose shifted with the changing needs of the organization? It should evolve with the organization. For example, rapid growth for an organization might represent a need to get more out of the performance management process (e.g., support succession planning).

Idea 2. Performance management can provide valuable information for understanding and strengthening performance, but it is not the only source.

  • How are you identifying and developing the future leaders of your organization?

  • How are you anticipating and addressing changes related to how you accomplish your goals?

Idea 3. Your performance management process should integrate with your other human resource management processes.

  • How good are you at hiring employees who meet or exceed performance expectations? Alignment here will strengthen engagement, performance, and retention.

  • What types of results do you see from operational or leadership training? Does training support employee performance? Are leaders trained and held accountable for specific expectations?

Bonus Idea. Ensure your performance management process should not exceed your ability to execute on it and should be no more complicated than it needs to be to serve your purposes.

Performance management is a broad and complicated topic. Thorough analysis and review are beyond the scope of this post. Are you uncertain about the effectiveness of your performance management processes? Let us know. We would love to help. Also, we shared just a few ideas in this post and encourage you to add on to them in the comments below.


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