Sullivan Business Psychologists
Well done, you met all your objectives… I exceeded… You met… I exceeded… you met… 2% and not a penny more!

In many people’s experience the biggest mistake managers make is to confound a Performance Review – a review of how someone has performed over the last year – with a negotiation over both performance and pay.

Performance Management should be mainly about the present and the future – whilst having learned from the past. It should be about removing blocks to performance, about developing new behaviours and skills, whilst motivating people to achieve. It should also be engrained in the culture. To perform at their best people need, constant feedback, coaching and stretch – not exclusively at set periods of the year.

And it is not about paperwork! It is about coaching, mentoring, teaching and challenging. It is about being clear with people about what is expected of them and then encouraging a two way process of feedback, discussion, and objective-setting.

And it starts at the top! A clear strategy should be communicated and cascaded so that people understand how their role, their behaviour and performance contribute to the overall drivers, goals and direction of the business.

We get the behaviours we reward (some would say deserve). It is often enlightening when discussing the performance of groups or individuals to look at what people are really rewarded for, for example: a client had the challenge of needing their managers to be more strategic. Yet, when we looked at what the managers gained thanks or kudos for, it was solely for meeting their weekly target achievements – a reasonable goal, but unlikely to reinforce behaviours leading to them making a longer-term, strategic contribution.

An effective Performance Management process is one that people feel ‘part of’ – rather than ‘done to’ – where the manager and employee are ‘on the same side’ and where the individual feels motivated to be pro-active about their own personal and career development.

An effective Performance Management processes would therefore encompass the following principles as a minimum:

  • Clear direction, expectations & measures
  • Well-articulated competencies and behaviours
  • Accountabilities
  • Giving ownership and enabling pro-activity
  • Rewarding high performance
  • Challenge and stretch
  • Developmental support
  • Improved personal and business performance

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