Making Performance Management Work

by Declan Kavanagh on Monday 13 March 2017, 9:08 PM | Category: Human Resources| View: 365 views

I learned many years ago, there are only three things that are important when considering any individual, team or organisation activity:

·        Task: The focus of the activity and the deliverable/outcome “What is it we/I have to do?”

·        Procedure: The process is it clear, relevant and understood “How will I/We do it?”

·        Relationships: Individual and group behaviours and their impact “How we will behave towards each other and others?”

I use this as a check list for activities I am involved with whether as a leader or a participant.

When we look at individual Performance Management in the context of teams and organisations the same is true: -

·        Task: Is there a clear and consistent understanding of what the performance management system is about? What outcomes are expected? Usually a statement of intent or definition can be helpful here.

To enable all staff/members maximise their individual contribution towards achieving the aims of the team/organisation in line with their position/role”

·        Procedure: Do the participants understand how it works? And what their role is in the process? If we fail to engage individuals in the process and to have ownership for their role in the process, then we get sub-optimal outcomes. In the “Digital Era” we need to leverage the relevant technology to achieve the aims and tasks of the system.

·        Relationships: There are many stakeholders who can be part of the individuals/team's performance management eco-system, these normally include those whose input can impact the performance (Direct), those who use or have a vested interest in the output (Direct & Indirect), those who provide support and guidance (Direct). How do we ensure they are appropriately engaged in the process and how do our values inform the behaviours and practices of the members of the eco-system?

Best Practice Models (Such as Collaborative Performance Management )

When we plan the Task, Procedure & Relationships for a best practice performance management system, we often fail to consider how the plan will get executed. There are many pitfalls that can be prevented or avoided, in the execution/implementation of a performance management system ( See Pitfalls & Prevention ). Let us take a look at some of the critical success factors:

·        Ownership of Performance: Performance within any performance system only occurs when each individual performs their role to the expected performance standard, and continually strives to improve their performance. So, each individual stand-alone, as part of a team and/or as part of an organisation must own their own performance. The most obvious example of this is in professional team sports. Does the system allow individuals take ownership for their own performance and performance improvement? There is much written on this topic but what it all comes down to is, have they the required knowledge and skills? And are they motivated to set and achieve ambitious Goals in line with the overall system aims.

·        Quality of Goals/Objectives/KPIs': So often do we set ourselves up for disappointment by setting a poor goal. Perhaps it's unrealistic, undefined, unrelated or incomplete, whatever the issue a good approach to getting it right is to test it against the SMART2 standard:

o   Specific & Short “Unambiguous Focus on Purpose”


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