Managing Performance

How effectively do you manage your employees performance? 

Not managing poor performance can lead to absenteeism, it can effect team morale and undoubtably will result in poor customer service or productivity.

Managing performance is not a once a year exercise – 92% of employees want feedback throughout the year but we know from speaking to managers that managing performance is not an easy task.  

If you’re a new manager or have been managing performance for many years but would like a refresher on the key elements, hopefully you find this article useful.

This article focuses on: 

  • Understanding why we need to manage performance early
  • Awareness of the benefits and risks of not managing performance
  • What gets in the way of managing performance!
  • Tools and skills needed to manage performance 
  • Ensuring you are aware of how to formally manage performance.

In all of the areas above, you will have a full understanding of your employees performance

Unfortunately at times, performance can dip and if it does, deal with it straight away!  If you do not manage issues early…

  • It becomes harder to raise and resolve (feedback should always be timely);
  • It can have a negative impact on the performance of the team and organisation;
  • It can have a negative impact on colleagues’ motivation levels;
  • There is a greater risk of dispute as memories fade; and
  • It can raise suspicion of ulterior motives.

REMEMBER: if you do not intervene, the employee may not think there is an issue.

Managers can feel reluctant to manage performance and these are the common reasons:

  • You may feel it opens you up to criticism and conflict as a manager
  • You may want to be friends with your team
  • It involves management time
  • You may think it’s not your role – it’s up to HR (it isn’t but we can guide you!)

These are also the barriers that may get in your way, how many of these can you relate to? If you can relate to any of these, then please give us a call so we can help you manage this.

Leaders who practice favouritism in the workplace
have no chance to build a culture of trust
“ Robert Whipple

It’s very important to be consistent otherwise it undermines performance management and your authenticity as a manager, therefore:

  • be reasonable and fair;
  • don’t single out employees;
  • don’t treat others more favourably due to their culture, age, gender;
  • avoid favouritism or talking about one team member more favourably;
  • don’t compare team members to each or discuss others performance with other colleagues; and
  • maintain confidentiality.

It is best to deal with performance on an informal basis.  About 80% of the time, the formal process isn’t necessary if this step is carried out correctly. 

When giving feedback, ensure it is:

  • objective and constructive;
  • face to face (where possible);
  • consistent and fair; and
  • ensure the employee understands the feedback.

Feedback must:

  • be a mixture of negative and positive examples;
  • include an explanation of the impact on colleagues and the organisation
  • provide details of the improvement required;
  • include your encouragement; and
  • include support and advice.

We understand that giving feedback is hard.  If the conversation gets heated, we suggest postponing the meeting and let the employee have a break.  Also ensure:

  • that you don’t get angry or defensive if the employee tries to deflect onto your style of management;
  • don’t embarrass the employee in front of colleagues, have meetings in a confidential space;
  • don’t be judgmental, try to put yourself in the employees shoes, this is a difficult conversation for the employee too; and
  • Never threaten dismissal (remember there is a formal process that has to be followed in law).

Performance management can be a positive process and have a successful outcome.  It’s much more beneficial to retain an employee who has poor performance that can be improved upon with some support.  It’s always worth the time you invest in the process. 

Work with the employee to help them succeed. Consider the following ~

  • Additional training
  • Additional time to complete tasks
  • Providing external coaching 
  • Introducing alternative, or improved, resources or systems
  • Support from an external HR consultant (like us!)
  • Flexible working – would a temporary or permanent change to the employees hours help?
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