Performance Management … done right!

Performance ManagementPerformance management is a phase of overall management that has been and continues to be misconstrued. Performance management has a negative connotation because it is frequently associated with pointing out mistakes, granting or withholding salary increases, promotions and documenting reason to fire someone. These situations occur in the ordinary course of leading a team in an organization.

Have you ever hired a candidate and later wondered why he or she was not successful? This happens often for a variety of reasons. At least one of those reasons could be that the candidate possessed excellent skills, but they happen to be different from the skills that you needed or required for the job. Although an honest mistake, this is costly and inefficient in organizations and counterproductive for the candidate or new hire.

Performance management begins with the job analysis and job description. Let’s assume that an accurate job analysis was completed and an appropriate job description was developed. Now, get ready for the interview. What happens if the interviewer does not design the interview questions to elicit the applicant’s experience or ability to fulfill the competencies of the position? The candidate may actually have the experience you are seeking. Another question is, has the candidate succeeded in an environment similar to yours. Suppose that the candidate came from a command and control environment and you have a self-directed team environment.

The question becomes adaptability and flexibility. Can this candidate duplicate his success in your self-directed team environment? This is only one area that must be covered.

Performance Appraisal
Appraisals have some clear benefits if you do them correctly and on time. The purpose of an associate appraisal is not to fix behavior once a year. If an associate has poor behavior, less than adequate performance or attitude problems, don’t wait a year to fix them. Regular on going coaching cannot be replaced with an annual associate appraisal.

Appraisals give the associate the opportunity to understand expectations, standards and rules better. They also give the team leader an opportunity to get to know the associate better. In the area of team development, appraisals give the associate the opportunity to learn what behaviors and attitudes they need to improve or modify. When the appraisal is properly conducted, the associate receives the message that the team leader cares about their performance as well the associate as a person. When this attitude is present, it is much easier to chart a course for the future of the associate and they can help the team leader to identify strengths and weaknesses that may not have surfaced on a day by day basis.

There are disadvantages to a poor performance appraisal process or the absence of an appraisal process. In both cases, this could send a message to the associate that you are satisfied with their performance, attitudes and behavior, when in fact, you are not. Alternatively, the associate may feel that they are not important enough for you to take the time for a properly conducted and effective performance appraisal.

What Associates Want From Their Job
Studies show that associates want appreciation, good wages and working Conditions; Interesting Work; Job Security; Growth Opportunities; Personal Loyalty to Workers; Feeling “In” on Things; Sympathetic help on personal problems and tactful disciplining.

It’s not necessarily the highest wages. It’s the way the associates are treated by the organization. And does it make a difference? According to the Gallup survey, “The Impact of Associate Attitudes on Business Outcomes,” organizations with high associate job satisfaction reported 38 percent higher customer satisfaction, 22 percent higher productivity, and 27 percent higher profit! Don’t forget the Platinum Rule, “Treat others as THEY would like to be treated.”

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James E. McClain is the author of Successful Career Development: A Game Plan, the book upon which some of our training programs are based. He has over 30 years' experience as a corporate HR executive, small business owner with ongoing experience in career development and as a college instructor. His educational background includes a B.S. and Masters degrees Education and Certification in Financial Planning. Our promise is that "you can pay more for training but you can not buy better training." The mission is to deliver the most effective and cost effective training and development programs.

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