Performance management Dos and Don’ts
This section aims to offer insights into performance management, based on international literature, practitioners and specialists opinion. The insights are structured in DOs and DON’Ts that need to be analysed and applied, considering each organisation's context and reality
1. Do take one step at a time – Following a structured and sequential approach is highly important to develop a performance management framework that can respond to the needs assessed.
2. Do take the necessary time - Performance management covers a set of sub-processes that needs time to be implemented, reviewed and improved. Therefore, implementing performance management instruments, tools and systems within the organization can be time consuming, especially at the beginning.
3. Do prepare everyone involved - When managing performance, it is important for everyone involved to know and understand the purpose, the process, the goals and their role. As performance management aims for performance improvement, everyone involved should contribute and be accountable for their part.
Also, have clear procedures for the evaluator, explaining clearly the responsibilities before, while and after the performance meeting (State Personnel Department, 2008) .
4. Do periodic reviews - Performance reviews should occur on a regular schedule that is known and communicated within the organisation, to both employees and management. As a follow up for monitoring performance, performance initiatives should be defined and tracked.
If workers’ performance is only “reported back” annually, they can become suspicious and distrustful of the entire measurement and reporting system (Sashkin, 1981), rather than when having no performance appraisal at all. Having periodical performance evaluations, with constant feedback is highly important to increase employees motivation level.
5. Do align and integrate – Any performance solution planned to be implemented in the future must adjust to the ones already in place. Integrating solutions and aligning levels within the organisation is very important, being a major influential factor for successful implementation.
1. Don’t expect short term results– Performance management is a long term, sustainable investment. The most important effects can be seen over time, from results generated to performance-oriented culture. Performance Management programs should have a long-term perspective, emphasizing employee development and process improvement (U.S. Office of Personnel Management, 2010).
2. Don’t design procedures for procedure’s sake – This is a principle generally valid, no matter if we consider procedures, processes, instruments, systems etc. Each performance solution or initiative implemented should have the purpose to cover a need within the organisation. For example, dashboards and scorecards are implemented in many organisations, being handy for viewing key indicators at a glance. However, they can’t be used for effective management or performance improvement without the required intelligence behind them.
3. Don’t rush into measurement – Measurement is a two phase activity that follows the target setting phase. Measuring against targets is more efficient than just measuring, as it indicates how close or far an entity is against its goals.
4. Don’t forget about technology support – Implementing analytic technology such as data mining and forecasting, can increase the chance of achieving higher levels of performance maturity and response time in decision making processes. This is specifically valid for innovation, competitive advantage and organisational agility.
5. Don’t ignore the cultural aspects – Performance improvement initiatives often meet cultural resistance to change, sharing information or collaborate between organisational levels. A proper environment needs to be created by the management, in order for employees to understand the benefits of performance measurement and how their roles in the effort map to the success of the organisation (SAS, 2007).
- U.S. Office of Personnel Management (2010), Optimizing Organizational Performance
Performance Management and Organization Development Solutions for the Public Sector, available at: http://www.opm.gov/hr/employ/products/performancemgmt/index.asp (accessed 8 September 2010).
- State Personnel Department (2008), Performance Management Responsibilities and Procedures, available at: http://www.in.gov/spd/files/perf_management_procedure.pdf (accessed 8 September 2010).
- SAS (2007), The truth about performance management: a report of survey findings – white paper, available at: http://www.sas.com/ci/whitepapers/102716.pdf (accessed 8 September 2010).
- Sashkin, M. (1981), Assesing Performance Appraisal, San Diego, CA.