Performance management aims at improving the organization as a whole by stimulating and increasing the productivity and performance of employees. It is a communication process by which managers and employees work together to plan, monitor and review an employee’s work objectives and overall contribution to the organization. More than just an annual performance review, performance management is the continuous process of setting objectives, assessing progress and providing ongoing coaching and feedback to ensure that employees are meeting their objectives and career goals. There is much more to performance management than the annual performance review meeting. Performance management is a continuous process of planning, coaching and reviewing employee performance.
As stated previously, performance management has a variety of purposes, one of which is documentation should there be a legal challenge related to performance. To ensure that your performance management process is fair and defensible:
- Base each evaluation on well written job descriptions and job-related activities.
- Collaborate with employees when setting objectives.
- Develop observable measures for the established objectives/goals and behaviors.
- Ensure employees keep a copy of the initial PMP document which includes the expectations set at the beginning of the performance management cycle.
- Provide employees with ongoing monitoring and feedback on performance.
- Provide support (training, coaching, etc.) and adequate time for improvement when performance problems are identified.
- Work to reduce biases and errors in assessments.
- Ensure the performance assessment form accurately documents performance.
- Periodically review the performance management process to ensure it is applied consistently and fairly.
- Show respect to each employee by preparing for the performance review. Schedule meetings at least a week in advance at a time that is convenient for the employee. Conduct performance reviews in a private office or conference room. Have all documentation completed and provide a copy to the employee.
- Do not wait until the meeting to inform an employee of unsatisfactory performance. There should be no surprise issues raised during the meeting.
- Maintain a professional approach when completing your evaluation documentation. Remember this document can be used as evidence in grievance hearings and other legal proceedings. Do not include humorous anecdotes, personal information, judgmental statements or offensive or discriminatory language.
- Include all pertinent information. Do not omit information because it is uncomfortable to discuss or potentially contentious.
- Keep control of the meeting. Do not enter into a debate with an employee. As the supervisor, you make the decisions about the ratings, and if you have been fair in your assessment, you must stand by your rating.
- Provide a copy of the evaluation to each employee prior to the meeting, allowing time to review your ratings/comments. Begin the meeting by providing a recap of the employee’s overall performance in a positive and supportive manner. Next, explain that the remainder of the meeting will focus on accomplishments, areas of concern and setting future goals.
- Encourage employees to share their thoughts and suggestions. Be open-minded and look for opportunities for improvement.