Managing staff performance is the core duty of all managers. But how do you do this? The process often has a bad name and is heavily focussed on appraisals and the processes. This is not managing performance. Performance is all about jointly managing success so that the organizational aims and goals are achieved. It is highly reliant on good relationships and a proactive approach between the manager and the individual.
Performance management is often seen as a formal process consisting off:
Planning for the year: Reviewing the past year and setting new goals and objectives. (Often the past is not reviewed, but this is a great source of lessons learned for the manager the individual and the team).
Mid-year reviews: An opportunity for the manager and the employee to review progress, identify road-blocks and ensure that objectives are achieved.
End of year review and appraisal: If as an employee, at the appraisal stage, you are told something that you were not aware of (in terms of your performance), ask yourself why? Regardless of the feedback, why are you being told this at this point? Imagine it is praise and appreciation, why receive it at the end of the year and not when it occurred? The appraisal is an opportunity to reflect back on what happened and identify the gaps between the planning and its delivery. It also becomes the input for future goal setting.
The key for managing performance, from my perspective, is not these three stages, but actually the continuous feedback, coaching, review and mentoring, that occurs between the employee and the manager throughout the year. This can occur formally and informally, and informally and should occur as and when it occurs.
If performance is managed well, it acts as a motivator to all. It is at the heart of good managerial practices.