What is performance management?

We explain what performance management is and how to introduce an effective policy in your organisation

Performance management is a way of tracking your employees' progress - from on boarding, through to working at the company and then leaving at the end of their tenure.

It comprises setting targets and objectives and assessing how well they are achieving progress on a regular basis.

However, these tasks should be completed in line with organisational objectives and it's vital to ensure whatever processes you employ do not conflict with other strategies or policies the business may have in place. 

On a broader scale, performance management also relates to fostering a more effective work environment, helping employees become more productive and motivated.

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In fact, performance management is one of the reasons ambitious millennials are likely to join one particular company over another that may not offer such a proactive environment.

Here, we'll go over the top features of an effective performance management strategy, explaining why they're essential to keep your staff motivated and productive.

Getting to know new starters

Whether during the interview process, appointment or onboarding process, line managers should take the time to get to know an employee's strengths and weakness. By doing so, they can start to identify the objectives and where they may need training to develop and hone their professional skills.

This information can be used to create the employee's job description and get them enrolled in the business's performance management software, which will enable managers and colleagues to provide valuable feedback.

Detailed job descriptions

One of the most important elements of a solid performance management system is ensuring every employee's job description is as clear and concise as it possibly can be.

There should be no room for misinterpretation and it should use the information gleaned from initial conversations with the individual employee to make sure it's tailored for that person, rather than generic for the job role.

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Having a clear job description means progress can be easily tracked against objectives set at the beginning of employment.

One off reviews vs. ongoing performance assessments

Performance management could include formal reviews or a more relaxed approach, with management and colleagues feeding back on their performance over the course of the year.

This latter approach is becoming more mainstream as employers begin to understand the value of ongoing reporting rather than a one-off assessment that often omits certain incidents where the employee performed above or below expectations.

Training opportunities

If an employee's performance is tracked on an ongoing basis, it's more likely to expose when training is required and which skills need boosting.

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Training and professional development, whether in a formal environment, as short bursts (known as micro-learning), via tailored adaptive learning or through more informal mentoring, is essential to help employees do their job better and contribute towards the company's objectives.

Performance management software

The majority of human capital management (HCM) software includes a performance management module that allows managers and employees to track their progress in real-time. Both workers and their managers can set objectives and tasks and add feedback throughout the year.

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Any training the employee has received can also be tracked here allowing everyone in the business to keep tabs on their performance. It will also expose areas in which they may need mentoring to offer further support.

Take a look at our roundup of best performance management tools to find a full overview of features and find the performance management software to meet your business's needs.

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