Performance Management - Getting The Most From Employees

performance management

Performance management is the process of mentoring employees every step of the way, throughout the year, to ensure they keep focused on the targets, objectives and assessment criteria for the year. And, thus, ensure they deliver on the set objectives.

Performance management (PM) is not the same as performance appraisal or performance development review (PDR).

Surprised? Don't believe me? Not sure what the difference is?

Well, here's the difference.

Performance appraisal is exactly what it is . . . an appraisal of performance against pre-defined criteria. On the other hand, PM seeks to guide employees during the year to help them focus on the objectives and ensure they deliver acceptable levels of performance by year end.

In simple terms, effective leadership seeks to help subordinates succeed by conscientiously helping them manage their performance.

Here's how it works.

At the beginning of the new year (or the close of the current year), each employee sits with his boss to have a one-on-one session to discuss the objectives for the new year. At this meeting the leadership and the subordinates agree on the specific targets for the new year.

Good targets are SMART. That is . . .

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic and
  • Time bound

    For example, a common assessment criteria upon which targets are based in manufacturing outfits is called QCDSM. That is . . .

  • Quality
  • Cost
  • Delivery
  • Safety
  • Morale

    SMART targets are then set for each of the performance assessment criteria.

    For example, the targets for cost could be to . . .

  • Reduce edible waste by 20% in 2009
  • Reduce irreworkable waste by 10% in 2009
  • Reduce give away (or percentage over weight) by 30% in 2009
  • Cut stationery waste by 50% in 2009
  • Reduce overtime costs by 50% in 2009
  • Cut corporate car cost by 15% in 2009

    . . . and more.

    Now that the targets have been agreed upon, the role of an effective leadership is to create an atmosphere that makes it possible for subordinates to achieve the targets.

    Hey, it's not funny if 60% of your subordinates cannot achieve their targets for the year. Remember, if your subordinates under-perform, so do you. Your success is tied to their success. If they lose, you lose.

    How does performance development review fit into the picture?

    Well, as the name suggests, it encompasses performance appraisal. It involves . . .

  • assessing the performance of employees at the close of the year
  • identifying areas where improvements are required
  • identifying training needs and
  • developing employees in line with the needs or gaps identified

    All of these roles fall under performance management.

    In effect, performance management is about helping subordinates succeed.

    Unfortunately, a large number of bosses do not see performance management in this light. They see themselves as people who set targets and then 'AX' subordinates who cannot meet the targets.

    I will tell you this without mincing words . . . that is archaic management.

    Want to grow as a leader?

    Then help your people grow. Stop focusing on firing subordinates. Stop focusing on using performance appraisal as a means to nail non-performing subordinates.

    Instead, adopt modern management approach to performance measurement. Help your people succeed so you too can truly succeed.

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