Performance Management

Performance Management

Performance Management

Managing People – Is Your Performance Review Really Necessary?

Performance management – lots of organisations carry out “performance appraisals.” Most people consider them a “good thing!” And there is lots of information around to help you do them well.

But there is more to encouraging good performance than carrying out the annual performance review. Some people question whether carrying out annual performance reviews actually impacts on the quality of performance.

Let us think a little about the person being assessed. What do they usually think about when a review is due.  Here’s what it likely to be.

What your employee thinks about before their performance management review

  • How is this review going to affect my bonus/performance related pay?
  • How am I being assessed and is it fair?
  • Is my contribution really going to be recognised and acknowledged?
  • How does this review affect my chance of promotion?
  • How well am I doing compared to my peers?

But if you think about it.  These questions don’t reflect why, as a manager, you carry out a performance review.

What you are concerned about is;

  • How will you help the person understand what you think of their performance?
  • What evidence is needed to support your view?
  • If they are not meeting the standard, what advice should you give?
  • What action should follow on from the review?

You are looking to do an assessment that helps your member of staff become more committed to your objectives. How do they become more motivated, accountable, reliable, creative, dedicated, and, yes, happy in the job?

Given the difference in perspectives, holding one annual performance review doesn’t really seem to meet your purpose or theirs. Surely what you need instead is a relationship and structures that support an ongoing dialogue?

No you don’t want spend every day discussing performance.

There is much to be said, though, for commenting very quickly on exceptions in performance – be they good or bad. Giving praise is as important as giving criticism.

Having a performance stock take once a month works for many! Certainly, having a more formal review quarterly, where the question of the bonus isn’t part of the mix, has worked for me. And then, at the end of the year, it is an agreed summary of those quarterly reviews that feeds into the financial reward system.

Developing an effective relationship, and  having an open discussion about the quality of performance is works. It is much more likely to help you and your staff member achieve your goals, both corporate and personal.

Remember, performance management is the process of creating a work environment in which people are enabled to perform to the best of their abilities. Performance management is a whole work system that begins when a job is defined. It ends when an employee leaves your organization.

With a performance management system that works (and a well developed relationship), it becomes much easier to discuss career development. You can consider together opportunities for career progression. Threats to good performance can be seen off before they become real issues. Everyone benefits.

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

Project specification – make it precise

Project specification – make it precise

The project specification is key to your assignment’s success. This will provide your terms of reference. If you are going to succeed it needs to be an accurate project specificationdescription of what the project aims to achieve. It should set out the criteria for success and how much flexibility you will have in how you achieve it. Your specification should include parameters forthe project; scope, range, outputs, sources, participants, budgets and timescales. Be careful when considering timescales.

Usually you will consult those with an interest in the project. You will agree the project specification with the project sponsor, or whoever is accountable for your assignment. The specification may involve several drafts before it is agreed.  But a clear specification is essential. It provides the measure to which you will be held accountable. The specification is important for potential reviewers so they can assess how the project is going.

A terms of reference framework helps to keep the project on track. It protects the project manager from being held to account for issues that are outside the scope or beyond their control.

Drafting the specification means any special conditions or exceptions can be agreed with those in charge. Once the specification is finalised you have created a very firm set of expectations by which you will be judged. So, if you have any concerns discuss them while the specification is being drafted.

It takes time to produce and agree a complex project’s terms of reference. Simple tasks and projects won’t take long to think through and consult about! But even for simple tasks, getting clear what is expected is important.

A project specification template

This is what a project specification could include:

  • A description of the purpose, aims and “deliverables” agreed for the assignment.
  • A clear statement of timescales, budgets, scope, any agreed constraints and to whom you will be accountable.
  • Who is involved and the way the team will work together. For example, frequency of meetings and the decision-making process.
  • Established ‘break-points’ at which to review and check progress, and how progress and results will be measured.

Make sure you and the person in charge have the same understanding of the specification and what it actually means. You would be surprised how often there can be confusion.

If you need help please get in touch.
Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link