RMC Management Blog

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Performance Management

Matt Parry - RMC Consultant

Matt Parry

Performance management when well executed can be a great tool for optimising your workforce. However, in a few organisations one can observe areas where systems failed to work very well or where a new method of implementation simply didn’t catch on. So what are the pitfalls and how to avoid them?

Some organisations still use paper systems, whereas others are beginning to take on new software based models. Whether you are a smaller organisation starting out on a paper based model or have budget to invest in a new software system, the following pointers may still be of use:

As in any change process communication is paramount. Avoid planning it all secretly from HR and then launching it wholesale on the organisation. Keeping your managers informed – eliciting communication about what end features they would like to see will help get their buy in to what kind of system to adopt.

Keep it relatively simple and bring about change slowly.

Organisations need time to digest change.  Just because there happen to be drop down menus available on a computer based system, it doesn’t mean they all have to be used!  Similarly, if using paper based system you don’t have to produce something the size of a book for each staff member’s appraisal.
Understand the Change Management process and start by setting small achievable targets in implementing any new system.

A key part of successful performance management is to link it to objectives; business and managerial as well as personal objectives all play a part.  The performance appraisal needs to have true meaning and have a means of accurate and fair measurement.  Metrics will include skills, competencies, goals, and outcomes for both the team and the individual.

Ideally the metrics above should link with an employee’s Role Description.  There should be a direct correlation between what is expected, understood and agreed upon at the outset of employment or beginning of review period.  Re-working an entire organisation’s Role Descriptions into a format that has parallels with metrics used in an appraisal is a sizeable challenge and can take a very long time but in the end it is a very worthwhile task.

Simply doing reviews robotically and implementing a new system won’t bring about the desired changes a CEO or Board may wish to see in overall organisational performance.  A shift in culture of an organisation may well be needed for new systems to work.  The executives and managers may need to understand it is not just a “workforce” they are trying to get results from but rather that the whole organisation is made of unique contributors.  Improving results involves recognizing strengths and investing in weaknesses.  Managers will need to understand the value of each individual.

Managers often need training and support to help implement organisation changes or they may likely abandon them.  During appraisals managers need to act more as mentors, coaches and teachers as well as be encouraged to tolerate their own staff conducting reviews back on them.  Manager training and development for those who lack skills and find the conversational aspects of appraisals difficult may be necessary.

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Filed under: Management Services, Management Training

2 Responses

  1. Dawn says:

    It would be ideal linking appraisals to role descriptions and having it all nice and neat. However, I find in the real world positions and roles are in continual flux to meet business demands. Therefore role descriptions need constant work and the linking task you describe could be endless.

    • Matt says:

      Yes, role descriptions can change frequently in response to organisational change etc. – That just goes with the territory. The general format can remain unchanged though and this can be mirrored in layout of appraisals. It still takes ages to get all of an organisation’s existing old role descriptions into the chosen format…that can seem endless!

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Jeanette Richardson - Managing Director

Jeanette Richardson - Managing Director

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