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Blog : How to manage performance effectively


How to manage performance effectively

This article came from FreshBusinessThinking.com and was writen by Jane Sunley, Managing Director of learnpurple.

Performance management should be at the heart of any organisation. With people performing better if there is a shared understanding of what is to be achieved by the business (strategy), leadership, teams and the individual; Performance management should become all-encompassing with clear norms for 'how things are done around here' and what is expected. Depending on company culture, performance management works in a variety of ways. Which ever way it is managed it is extremely important to decide on the process and stick to it, evolving and refining as necessary. My 'ten top tips' will help you do this:

1.Recruitment: make sure your recruitment and selection process is effective i.e. produces people who have the skills and attributes to perform well within your business. Involve the candidate's potential colleagues in the selection process as peers are more likely to be helpful and supportive if they were responsible for the recruitment decision. Consider work trials as part of the selection process. This will allow existing team members to 'try out' their new colleague and have evidence on which to base their decision as well as giving the candidate the opportunity to see how they fit culturally within the company. Finally, make sure the job description; standards; boundaries; rules and metrics are completely clear at the recruitment stage so that the candidate knows exactly what will be required and how this will be measured before they accept the job.

2.Induction and review: if possible, send information about the role and the business to the new recruit before they join as they will be able to review and reflect on the information in preparation for their first day with the company. On their joining day ensure a formal induction has been planned, even if it's just a simple checklist. This will make sure the new starter has the best chance of settling in well, meeting the right people and achieving the required standards for their role. Formally review the induction at weeks one, four and twelve to give both parties an opportunity to raise any issues and to reinforce positive progress made. Keep notes so that both you and the new recruit are clear on the progress made.

3.Leadership: ensure that you and your managers demonstrate role model behaviour, which others can learn from and adopt. Make it clear that you are available should the new recruit need support and guidance and give frequent feedback, praising the positives rather than just highlighting the shortfalls. Making sure the person has the 'tools' to do the job (physical, developmental, environmental) is equally as important as well as using a coaching approach to provide ongoing development.

4.Trust: it's important to believe in the abilities of your new recruit - they are 'innocent until proven guilty' rather than the reverse. If you believe in your people and trust them to get on with things, they will perform better, feel more valued and empowered which in return creates loyalty and motivation. If you are having doubts about someone, set them some small activities to test their commitment and ability rather than relentlessly monitoring their performance which will create distrust and could possibly cause stress.

5.Speak to the one person: create a culture whereby everyone owns performance management and it's OK to be straight-talking about things. If someone sees a colleague doing something that doesn't fit with 'they way we do things around here' it becomes their responsibility to give feedback to that person. So rather than complaining about someone's behaviour or performance to others, the individual should be encouraged to speak to the one who can make the necessary changes - the perpetrator. Train people to do this assertively and positively and make it part of the fabric of your business.

6.Take action: instead of waiting (and hoping) that things will improve, if someone is underperforming leaders have a responsibility to the business and the rest of the team to ensure that resolution is swift. If things aren't working out, find out why - it could be a developmental issue. It's far easier to fix a problem early on than wait until it's started to have a negative effect.

7.Formal appraisal: this is essential to provide an overall review of progress, achievements, standards, developmental needs, goals and aspirations. It's also a great opportunity to find out how you're doing and how employees feel about the business. In our experience, this is an area that frequently 'falls off the bottom of the business manager's to-do list' - so make a new year's resolution to put it at the top of yours. To help you keep focused and to provide consistency and transparency, consider using an on-line system (e.g. http://www.talenttoolbox.com).

8.Mentoring: provide new recruits with a 'buddy' to help them settle in; understand the company culture; give them feedback and provide general support. Consider mentoring some of your managers yourself. Set up a scheme whereby people from different parts of the business provide mentoring to one another. It's a cost effective method of developing your people, providing support, reinforcing your culture and moderating behaviour. The mentor will also learn from the experience, will feel trusted and can keep in touch with other parts of the organisation.

9.Profit-share: performance related pay works in some cultures and not others. For many, money is not the main motivator so find out what makes your people 'tick' and reward accordingly. To encourage team work and a feeling of ownership, consider profit sharing and / or arrange an end of year team event or reward linked to profitability. Keep people informed and share financial results with them as they are more likely to perform well if they know what the goals are and how they contribute.

10.Continuous improvement: create pride within your teams by creating a culture of ownership where everyone can offer ideas, make a difference and evolve the business. By making everyone feel responsible for growing the business, suggesting improvements and performance management will become less of an issue. And don't forget to celebrate these achievements.

Good luck!

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