Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Checklist for An Effective Performance Management System

The words, “performance management” usually bring out a negative reaction from employees and managers alike. However, a good performance management system is vital to any organization, and can help you increase both employee productivity and satisfaction. Check out these 10 tips that should help you develop an effective system that will result in an enhanced workforce-

1. Report Regularly

Never judge based solely on one mistake or one great job done. Make sure all team leaders make regular appraisals of how employees are faring at their work. A good way to do this is for bosses to keep a little notebook where they make a note of the employee’s performance at least once a day. When the time for the periodical assessment is due, compile all the data and then reward or penalize accordingly.

2. Have Regular Appraisal Meetings

Instead of annual appraisal meetings, try having quarterly or at least bi-annual meetings. This way, you can regularly keep track of an employee’s performance, and suggest improvements if required. Employees would also prefer this system, as it is not fair to be basing your review on criticism from a year back. Regular appraisals will also help you pinpoint exactly what is going wrong, and rectify mistakes before they start happening regularly. Thus, regular meetings are the way to go.

3. Have a 360° Feedback System

Feedback does not only come from managers. It is essential to include feedback from the employee’s customers, peers, and even employees who report to him or her. This will help you get a more complete picture of the employee’s performance, and be objective during the appraisal. Keep in mind that sometimes bosses may be biased in their view towards a particular employee, so it’s always better to have feedback from different sources.

4.Be Objective

Never let a performance appraisal be subject to someone’s personal opinion. Be very careful when considering feedback from peers and managers, as they tend to be biased even when they don’t mean to be. Employees also tend to feel victimized when the reports contain personal feedback. Try and base your feedback on concrete results. And whatever you do, never make a personal criticism against an employee.

5. Give Clear Targets

Very often, employees fail to reach your expectations only because their goals are not clearly outlined. Make sure all your employees have clearly outlined goals whose success can be measured easily. Achieving or not achieving a clear target is one of the clearest indicators of an employee’s performance. In addition, if the targets are defined beforehand, this indicator is objective and not subject to people’s personal opinions.

6. Give Constructive Criticism

Make it a policy to never criticize an employee without telling him exactly what his mistake is, and what he could do to fix it. Criticism without suggestions will only anger an employee. Even if your criticisms have merit, employees will tend to feel victimized by them if they are not accompanied by constructive advice on how the employee can improve.

7. Listen

Performance appraisals should never be a one-way communication. Your employee must have the chance to get his viewpoint across as well. This is especially true if you are criticizing the employee. When giving negative feedback, it is vital that you give the recipient the chance to explain themselves. Also, an employee will tend to be much more committed to a target if he was involved in its creation.

8. Reward

Give people a reason to achieve their targets. Without an adequate rewards system, most employees don’t see the need to achieve their potential at work. And remember, rewards come in forms other than money. While monetary rewards are usually a powerful motivator, ensure that you also give recognition in other ways. For example, taking your team out to lunch to celebrate a success can also be a great motivator, which will also serve the purpose of building unity in the team. Remember, the message your rewards sends out is as important as the value of your reward.

9. Create A Performance Development Plan

If you do find that an employee’s work is substandard, schedule a performance development meeting. Try and establish a comfortable rapport with the employee, and ensure he or she is not feeling victimized. During this meeting, after adequate discussion from both sides, create an effective performance development plan. Both employee and manager should work together to understand what went wrong, how the employee could improve on his strengths and agree upon a clear set of goals.

10. Ask The Right Questions

Instead of only considering what you would like the employee do, ask questions such as “What things have made your job difficult in this period?” “Is there anything we can do to make your work environment more productive?” and “Do you think your talent would be better utilized somewhere else?” These are the questions that will help you understand if the employee would be better suited to another role, or if the company itself is at fault anywhere. Besides, any employee would be glad to work in an organization where his opinions are valued.

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