What Is Performance Management? A Go-To Guide


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Kristina Udice
Kristina Udice

If you’ve got goals, you probably have some form of performance management.

On the surface, this vague phrase might seem daunting and scary, but in actuality, it’s all about making sure your organization or business is consistently meeting its targets as effectively and efficiently as possible. It’s about employee performance through effective performance management and an appraisal process that ensures an effective, efficient, and productive workforce.

Performance management can be a broad system of checking up on the performance of a company as a whole, or it can be more specifically geared towards a specific department, team, or individual. Performance management is also tied into how an organization utilizes its resources, employees, systems, and services.

For the most part, when you hear people talking about performance management, it is usually in a business setting, though any organization that needs to make sure goals are being met can utilize this application. The whole point is to ensure maximum productivity among individual employees, departments, and teams. This might mean that goals need to be realigned, teams need to be reassigned, or objectives need to be altered.

This is a three step process of planning, monitoring, and reviewing.

In the planning phase, supervisors can review job descriptions and team descriptions to assess the work that they should be doing. Any new responsibilities and tasks should be reflected here. Then a plan must be devised for professional goals, personal goals, performance objectives, tasks and deliverables that must be achieved, training objectives, and career development objectives. This plan needs to be signed off on my both the employee and his or her supervisors. The importance of planning is to give structure and stability to an employee’s, and a company’s, goals.

These goals and objectives need to be SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.

The next step in the performance management process is the monitoring stage. This is to ensure effectiveness at all stages. And monitoring should be a constant part of the performance management process. Here, employee performance or team performance is monitored. It is not something that should be done at the end of a given period, but throughout it. Keep an eye out for the process an employee is taking to achieve a certain goal. Identify barriers or obstacles that are being met and overcome. And if these barriers are not fixable, make a plan to help work around them. It’s also important during this process to share your feedback — with the employee and with supervisors. During this time you should be able to identify any factors that might mean a goal is not met. It is vital then to change the goals and objectives or figure out if additional support is needed before the allotted end date.

The last step is the review process. This is known as the performance review or appraisal process. During this review, an employee will be given a summary, or give a summary, of their process and identify their strengths and weaknesses, as well as identify any challenges. Part of the performance review or appraisal is an employee self-assessment, and part of it is a review by a supervisor. This is a back-and-forth process where both parties identify barriers or challenges, as well as points of success and improvement. This will end in the signing off by both parties of another form for future reference.

Effective performance management systems are fair, concise, and attainable. They strive for high-performing teams and individuals. Their goal is performance improvement at every step of the way by giving an employee goal that will not only help the employee become better at their job, but will also drive business success for the company.

Obviously, an efficient and productive team will see results — and this is exactly the point of effective performance management. Here are some specific benefits to motivate you and your team towards success.

Increased financial gain

By enacting these performance management protocols and keeping a closer eye on the workload done throughout your organization, you will see an increase in financial gain. For one, if goals are being met, then you will hopefully begin seeing a rise in sales and ultimately a rise in profits. You will also reduce costs throughout the organization as a whole by becoming a more cohesive unit. Not just that, but by streamlining your approach, you will be less likely to go over project deadlines, losing out on sales. And less time spent on projects mean less money wasted paying for said projects.

More productive workforce

Another way performance management benefits an organization is by reinvigorating its workforce. People become more motivated when they are given the skills and told they need to succeed. It’s also important that everyone gets on the same page so that productivity is at an all-time high. Giving employees more incentives to complete a project to the best of their abilities will drive them to do so. This could be small incentives like events and opportunities, or bigger incentives like bonuses or raises. This also creates more transparency within the organization as employees have a better understanding of what they are working towards and will more effectively work towards it.

Improved management

This is vital for success. By enacting these applications, your managers will have a better understanding of the goals they need to hit and can allot the right amount of time, energy, and resources towards achieving it. Again this is a transparency thing that gives clarity to objectives, but it also gives managers the authority to take charge and initiative. It also simplifies the process of data collection which is helpful up the chain of command. This is also good for improving communication across departments and up and down the organizational ladder.

An effective performance management system will take your company from good to great by setting attainable goals that will drive success financially and professionally. It also tells your employees that you want to see them succeed just as much as you want to see the company itself succeed. If you don’t already have an organized process for performance reviews, now’s the time to start. Success is only a few goal-setting meetings away.