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Performance Management - don't let it scare you!

AS a HR professional, I’ve often pondered over why these two words terrify employees? Over the years I’ve started to attribute this to the misconception of what employees think the purpose of performance management is. Employees often describe this as happening when someone is in trouble or is underperforming which, to a certain extent may be true, but this really is taking the glass half empty approach.

So, let’s put a spin on this misconception and look at how performance management can be a positive and helpful tool within organisations.


What is Performance Management?

One may then ask, what actually is performance management? For many organisations, performance management is the process that is used to monitor and support employees in their roles to improve productivity, efficiency and job satisfaction. Performance management is about helping employees to fulfil their potential through outlining expectations, organisational goals, agreeing levels of engagement and a process of two-way effective communication.

At its best, performance management centres on two-way discussion and regular, transparent, open, honest and supportive feedback on progress towards objectives. It brings together many principles that enable good people management practice, including objective setting, performance ratings, reviews, learning and development, performance measurement, performance-related pay and organisational development.

An interesting link can be identified between performance management at its best, and the top ten things’ people want at work to promote their intrinsic and extrinsic engagement. The top 10 things employees want at work include:

· Clear Expectations and Goals

· Recognition and Praise

· Communication

· Growth

· Trust

· Responsibility

· Respect

· Pride in their Work

· Learning

· Achievement

This in a nutshell is performance management. So, if employees are asking for these and performance management is providing these, why is it still a misconception on performance management?


The CIPD factsheet (August, 2022) states that;

“People managers are central to performance management. They should help employees see the connections between organisational and individual objectives, give feedback that motivates employees and helps them improve and hold them to account. Managers need to be suitably skilled to do this and in turn need to be supported by HR practices and processes that are fit for purpose.”


Performance management is constantly evolving and therefore, it is imperative that managers are skilled, to ensure that their approach empowers employees to improve their own performance and experiences at work.


Top Tips

So, what are the top tips to ensuring that performance management happens in an effective and positive way?

· Think about adopting an employee-centred model empowering employees to own their performance

· Consider a flexible framework to enable continuous performance management

· Hold regular discussions/check-ins or ‘one to ones’ to, review and amend in line with changing organisational priorities, and feedback, making the small adjustments when required

· Provide employees with autonomy and their own goal-driven approach

· Link employee performance to the overall company performance and vision to grow engagement

· Ensure that performance management is a continuous cycle, not an isolated event

· Consider how you deliver feedback – do you know how to give it constructively? Are you clear on what its purpose is? Feedback is truly a gift if delivered well.

To change the misconception, employees need to believe the process is there for the good of both the organisation and employee, it is not just as another means of measuring their personal performance. In other words, good and effective performance management starts with a conversation. It’s that simple.


SO the question is, are your managers skilled and ready to performance manage effectively? Are your HR practices and processes fit for purpose?

Ena-HR and Training can help!

At Ena-HR and Training we offer advice, training and materials that can help employers and employees. We offer a tailored, bespoke, and personal service to each company helping with people health checks, managing, and developing people.

At Ena-HR and Training we can review your HRpractices and processes to ensure that they are fit for purpose and have several courses that may help you and your organisation:

· Performance Management

· Effective communication

· How to have difficult conversations

· Dealing with conflict

· Coaching techniques

If you need any support, please contact us at or on 07779 788 957

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