Meaningful Performance Management
Key Learning Points:
- Managing employee performance is critical to the sustainability of organisations;
- Generic performance ratings prove ineffective and result in demotivated employees;
- Utilising the correct tools can provide meaningful information that motivate and develop employees.
Organisations have had to adapt to a fast-paced changing environment by reengineering, restructuring, changing their focus or location of their production, or downsizing to remain competitive. Each of the possible activities employed by organisations to adapt to the changing environment has led to a number of significant changes in the way that work is organised. Employees need to deal with technological advances and the increased rate of change, while managing information and being sensitive to diversity within the workplace. Amidst all these changes, employees are required to learn faster and to deliver outputs of a high quality at a quicker rate. Employees are also required to perform to their potential in order for organisations to stay competitive in the market place. A management process with a specific focus on ensuring that employees perform optimally and that employees’ performance is aligned with the strategy of the organisation, is often a large contributor to the sustainability of the organisation.
Performance management is concerned with the management of employees’ performance in order to align employees’ performance with the organisation’s goals. It is important that the design of the performance management system meets the following two requirements in order to be effective:
- Produces a clear understanding of what performance is expected from an individual; and
- Effectively measures whether the individual accomplished what was expected.
There are many detailed features that make a performance management system effective, some of which include objective measures, ongoing feedback on performance, and input from employees on the system such that they are part of the process. In addition, an effective performance management system has to ensure that the ratings given to employees are meaningful3. Perhaps, this may be one of the most challenging aspects of performance management. Organisations aim to differentiate high from low performers but often this process can leave employees feeling demotivated. This can especially be the case in the instance where employees are ranked from best performer to worst performer. Even in an instance where developmental guidelines are given for the improvement of performance, employees may still feel demotivated as these guidelines may be so generic that employees may feel lost between what is expected of them and their current behaviour.
Our assessment tools enable individuals to understand what their unique strengths are, as well as what their potential performance could be. The performance feedback tools allows individuals to rate themselves, and to be rated by their peers, colleagues, subordinates, clients and management on their actual performance. Individuals may then make a comparison between their potential performance and their actual performance in order to gain relevant insights into their unique developmental areas. When relating these unique development areas to the individual’s key performance areas, the individual may gain further insight as to what specific behaviours need to be changed or optimised. Using our comprehensive assessment toolkit helps to ensure that performance appraisals are more meaningful for employees, and provide employees with more specific information on how to develop or to enhance behaviours to improve their performance.