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Could you define performance management?

Performance management is the process of managing staff throughout a business year to give them the motivation, skills and focus to deliver their best. It should be a two way process between the manager and employee and involves setting and clarifying objectives, regular discussions – monthly 1 to 1 discussions are ideal – coaching, and feedback.

The image to the right outlines a positive performance management cycle that you may want to consider emulating. The year should start with a review of last year’s performance, followed by a focus on this year’s performance where you can set objectives – we have a great guide on setting SMART objectives that you can download here:

How to write SMART objectives

What we like about this approach is that it highlights the importance of performance management being a year round activity that includes both development and performance, it also incorporates the more day to day discussions and one to ones which are a key part of managing performance.

Unfortunately, the term ‘performance management’ has too often been associated with managing under performance, and the HR/disciplinary process that people are put through when deemed to be under-performing. This is a shame because if managers were managing effectively this would be so much less likely to happen. If performance management is done effectively, across the entire year, underperformance issues would be nipped in the bud before they became issues that were too big to conquer. Regular discussion helps everyone stay on the same page, and managers understand how their staff are feeling before they decide to hand in their notice!

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