Time to Evaluate…You! When and How to Reexamine Your Management Process

A good performance management system needs to go beyond the once-a-year performance appraisal that involves merely filling out a form. Supervisors and managers need to provide employee feedback all year long. Although performance appraisals are typically tied to salary increases, the true goal of a superior performance management system is focused on employee development and organization improvement over the long term. When done successfully, a solid performance management process can give a company a competitive edge.

Not a Once-A-Year Glance

All too often, performance management is done as a low-priority task when compared to other business tasks of an organization. It’s often a once-a-year “glance” instead of a detailed review. When focus is placed on improving the performance management process instead, bottom line business results can be significantly improved.

For that reason, an exceptional management process for performance development doesn’t happen overnight or in a week. It needs to be carefully planned and designed before it is implemented for managers to use in evaluating employees.

The performance appraisal form isn’t just a necessary evil in conducting an employee’s performance evaluation. Nor should it only be reviewed once a year. Rather, the completed performance appraisal form should be a tool to support an ongoing performance management process. It can help serve as a reminder that performance management should be happening the entire year.

In other words, the performance appraisal is the total of a total performance management system. It’s not the be-all or end-all. It doesn’t have a beginning or an end, but represents a continuous tool that is used to not only improve an employee’s performance, but the organization’s success as well.

A successful performance management system enables good communication about performance between a supervisor and employees. Performance management isn’t a one-way street with feedback going in one direction. Rather, it should be two-way communications that occur continuously throughout the year.

Employees Need to Take Responsibility

Employees need to know that they have a responsibility and accountability in the performance management process. To that end, they should be prepared to give their honest assessment and feedback about their past, current, and future performance. In addition, they should be a knowing participant in their plans for improvement and goals for the coming years.

Supervisors and managements should be observant of development and coaching opportunities throughout the year to improve the overall performance management process.

Practical Tips

One of the best ways to ensure that your performance management process is a year-long process, instead of an annual paperwork task, is to create a performance management checklist. The checklist should contain action steps for interim performance discussion meetings, pre-planning performance appraisals, performance appraisal meetings, post-appraisal meeting follow-ups, goal setting and goal achievement.

A year-round performance management system is the true driver of both employee and organization success.

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