The secrets to getting people to perform well.

Performance Management is the term used to describe the continual process of reviewing staff performance.  Used effectively, it helps you to optimise the performance of your people; this in turn helps to ensure:

  • Individual success and job satisfaction – yours and theirs.
  • Team success
  • Organisational success

So, having a good performance management system in place is so useful as it will bring together for you so many of the elements of successful people management.  It begins with the appointment of the right person in post – I’ve helped you with that under Management Challenge Number 2 – and continues all the way through to exit strategies if necessary.  Managing performance is so much more than just having an appraisal system.  Here’s an overview first of all.

 1. A great induction makes all the difference 

As I explained earlier, put yourself in the shoes of the new member of staff.  Remember how it felt to be the newbie on the block?  As the manager, you can make a tremendous difference to how quickly the new team member settles in and as a result starts performing well.  Ensure that the person is welcomed, introduced, and has all the tools that they need to do their job from day one.  Have an ‘Induction Checklist’, and make sure everything is covered, including Health and Safety and any other legal requirements.  Identify any skills gaps, agree a personal development plan (PDP), and set a series of simple goals with the employee.  Monitor and review.  Remember, employees make up their mind very early on if a job doesn’t get off to a good start.  The last thing you need to have is a potentially excellent member of staff going home at night googling other job opportunities because they don’t feel anyone is helping them to settle in!

2. Probationary period

You’ll know from Challenge Number 2 that the probationary period, as agreed in the terms of the contract, is an essential time for you as the manager.  Make sure you are setting realistic goals with the new member of staff, reviewing progress regularly and arranging support and training as set out in their personal development plan (PDP).  Agree and jointly sign off any additional support necessary and ensure you give constructive feedback.  If things are not working out, make sure you follow the probation guidelines for your business and take corrective action, in line with legal requirements.  Remember, handle situations appropriately during these initial weeks in case you have to confirm that the employee has not passed their probationary period.

3. How to set goals

Jointly set goals with the new member of staff.  These should be SMARTER- specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-bound, evaluated and reviewed.

4. Carrying out an appraisal

This is what people most associate with having a performance management system.  Here’s an overview and I’ll give you lots more helpful detail a bit later on.

Use the documentation, the process and timeframes for whatever Appraisal system is used in your organisation and ensure that actions and follow up are agreed and signed. Once the employee has passed their probationary period, you need to carry out regular appraisals with them.  Whatever system you use, your attitude and skill in conducting appraisal interviews will be hugely influential in its success or failure.  Lots of the skills you used to appoint the staff member will be useful here, as well as your job description and person specification.  Review these together, along with other goals set and jointly agree objectives and training for the next period.  Allow plenty of time before the review for both of you.

We have over 10 more key tips on managing performance. They are featured in our free book ‘New Manager Secrets – How To Accelerate Your Success As A Manager Immediately‘ You can apply for this on the Home Page of this site.