Conducting Performance Management
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Performance management is “a formal, structured process used to measure, evaluate, and influence employees’ job-related attitudes, behaviors, and performance results” (Jackson, 2009). The purpose of employee performance assessment is to improve the quality of an organization’s environment and competence through positive communication, mutual respect, improved employee performance, individual growth and career development. To ensure that employees perform satisfactorily, employers may use a variety of practices aimed at performance management. The purpose of a performance appraisal is to help employees better understand what is expected of them and whether or not they are meeting those expectations. For this to occur, employees need fair and clearly stated performance standards. That means performance must be measured in some way. Employees also require constructive feedback and the support needed to identify and correct performance deficiencies. When appropriate performance standards, measures, and feedback are provided, capable employees become a high-performance workforce.
The appraisal process affords an opportunity to recognize superior performance, and assists supervisors in making decisions concerning employee pay rates, promotion, transfer or discipline. Appraisals should be based on objective facts related solely to performance and conducted in full compliance with a nondiscrimination policy.
I have been with my current employer for 23+ years. I have attended many training courses offered to increase knowledge and develop skills. I have taken advantage of their tuition reimbursement program and have completed an Organization Management B.S. I am close to finishing an Executive MBA. For the first 23 years, my supervisors set “informal” goals for me because my classification at that time did not require or recognize goals as part of the appraisal process. I viewed this as a lack of fairness among staff members because some classifications were required to have goals and others were not. All the steps I had taken to advance in my career had been decided based on discussions between my supervisors and me. Because my organization’s Human Resource Department (HR) did not have a career development program in place for my classification, I continued to accumulate training and college degrees with no reward system in sight. I have always gone above and beyond and found it difficult not to lose the motivation.
Another factor that has affected me personally is the lack of mid-year reviews. Supervisors should meet with their staff to discuss their achievements/progress to date and applicability of their goals. Although these reviews are suggested in the HR guidelines, in most groups, these reviews are simply not given. Employees must wait an entire year to find out if they are reaching the goals that have been set for them.
Now the roles have changed. I have recently been promoted to a supervisory position. I currently have three staff members whom I am responsible to for providing attainable goals and feedback. It has been my experience that goal setting and performance appraisals are not taken seriously. That is about to change for my staff. For the first time, I was now on the other side of the appraisal system. It is my responsibility to review the information the staff provided me with to give them an overall rating. It is my responsibility as their supervisor to provide them with feedback on how they performed during the year and what they can do to improve. I do not take this responsibility lightly. It is important to me that I provide the members of my staff with the guidance they need to help them establish and advance their career goals. The final step of this process is to rate the employees and provide a monetary reward that will also encourage long-
term growth and development. They key thing to remember is that the behaviors that are rewarded are repeated. When the relative amount of raises and promotions correspond to the relative performance levels of people in the organization, people tend to accept the system as fair.
Although I came into my current organization eight months into the fiscal year, I made sure I met with each of my staff members to discuss the goals they had set for themselves that year and whether or not they felt they were on track to reach them. It was much to my surprise that I found goals had not yet been established at that late date. Another example as to how the process is not taken seriously for some staff members.
I scheduled appointments to meet with each individual to set goals that could be reached in a short period of time. I found one staff member to be resistant to the process, but after some discussion I was able to get her to come up with three procedures she was interested in learning. The next step to completing the performance appraisal process was for the staff members to rate their performance against the goals they had set, and also to complete a self-evaluation. Supervisors are expected to rate their employees consistently and accurately based on their achievements, using the rating definitions provided by HR.
As I learned first as the recipient of evaluations, and now as the supervisor who delivers them, effective performance feedback is the key to engage and motivate employees to higher performance. At the end of the day, it is all about the end result. Data and research show that one of the keys to strong corporate performance is a strong workforce – employees who are highly engaged deliver on their goals. (Kranz, 2010)
Jackson, Susan, Schuler, Randall, and Werner, Steve, Managing Human Resources. Mason: South-Western Cengage Learning, May 2009.
Kranz, Gary, “Employees Want Feedback – Even if it’s Negative,” Workforce Management, p. 10-11, February 2010.