Performance management - managing your team performance
The performance review process enables both the team member and manager to discuss the team member’s performance against a defined set of objectives and values. The discussion should be based on the principles of openness and honesty and should provide constructive feedback for the team member. It should be appropriately balanced between positive feedback and areas for improvement. For the discussion to be most effective it should be two-way, involving assessment and discussion from both the manager and the team member.
The outputs of the discussion should be based on setting performance objectives and identifying development actions, based on the current review and the requirements of the role relevant for the next performance period.
Whilst one formal discussion is required annually (typically in line with the end of the financial year), informal performance discussions should be encouraged to facilitate ongoing development and provision of timely advice or guidance. The frequency of the informal discussion should be at the discretion of the manager and agree with the team member, to suit the particular needs of a team member, however, at a minimum, one should occur at the six-month interval between formal discussions.
The outcome of the formal review conducted annually should link to reward and recognition processes. It does not always have to result in a pay increase or bonus paid as performance achievement may not warrant an increase or bonus. However, the process should be linked so that if a team member exceeds the expected performance objective outcome they should be appropriately rewarded and acknowledged for their efforts. There are a number of reward and recognition options available other than pay increases and bonuses that should be considered when wanting to reward and recognise a team member’s achievement.
Open and honest performance discussions
Discussions actively involve both manager and team member
Feedback is timely and constructive
Performance is linked to reward through a fair and equitable framework
Team members are appropriately recognised for their performance and efforts
Individuals are personally accountable for their performance
Take time to build rapport and trust in each performance conversation, particularly if this is your first performance review with your manager. Allow sufficient time to discuss topics such as:
- How you are feeling about your work/life/this conversation
- What you both enjoy outside of work
- What is significant to you in your life
- Your objectives and aspirations in the short and long-term and proposed actions to achieve these
For this process to be effective, ratings of performance must be consistent and objective. Managers need to be aware of their own biases and other influences, in order to counteract these tendencies.
Focus on the facts not beliefs
Describe to the recipient what you observed and not what you believe they did or what you presume their motivation was. This also reduces the need for the individual to react defensively and gives them something tangible to improve upon.
Confine your feedback to behaviour that the individual can correct and/or develop. Do not comment on something over which the person has no control, such as personality traits.
Encourage and support first
Give positive feedback before giving constructive criticism. This gives the recipient confidence in their strengths and reduces feelings of confusion, hurt, surprise or suspicion when given feedback on areas that require improvement.
Ensure feedback is timely
Feedback must be as close to the event as possible. Individuals are then immediately made aware of circumstances to ensure they are not surprised at a later date.
Deliver specific and simple feedback
Never generalise; be specific about particular incidents so that the person is clear about what areas need working on. Where you lack evidence of the necessary behaviour, be honest and say so. Aim to give recipients one or two areas to work on. Providing them with a long list of areas for improvement is both confusing and demoralising.
Balance sharing of ideas and advice-giving
Focus feedback on both sharing of ideas and information, and giving advice. Remember, people are more likely to change if they have been involved in deciding how. However, at times employees will be looking for the benefit of your experience and will welcome specific advice.
Expect feedback in return
Having given feedback yourself, you must be ready to receive it. Build trust by inviting it. A working relationship can only improve if we are all working to improve our performance.
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