How can a performance management system help prevent underperformance?

The lack of visibility caused by hybrid/blended working has created an undercurrent of concern about underperformance for some. However, others believe that performance and productivity have increased. The reality is that many managers struggled to deal with underperformance in the traditional working environment. Perhaps the physical proximity of staff camouflaged this. Some of you may have read our white paper Managing Underperformance in a virtual world and in that paper we explained some of the causes of underperformance. Because this is a hot topic for many managers, we thought a blog was in order explaining specifically how a performance management system can help to prevent underperformance.

Shared Clarity

One of the primary causes of underperformance is a lack of clarity. Unfortunately, this can evolve over time due to lack of clear goals and/or no corrective feedback. If you want to prevent underperformance, this is where a performance management system can be your new best friend. It facilitates the setting of objectives and milestones covering key results areas and enables them to be reviewed regularly. Some performance management systems like Actus are particularly helpful as they also allow you to comment against objectives over the course of the year. As a result, this provides a helpful and clear data trail for feedback and progress.

Nip performance issues in the bud

Reviewing these objectives and milestones regularly during one-to-ones is also a great way of preventing underperformance in the first place or nipping performance issues in the bud. If you have a performance management system like Actus that helps you embed a culture of regular one-to-ones and document them, then this process should be really straight-forward. Conducting regular one-to-ones is a critical part of preventing any potential performance issues through early discussions. Documenting this process provides clarity and a data trail that you can be refer back to. This also demonstrates that people are being managed fairly and consistently, protecting your business from litigation if things go wrong.

Dealing with underperformance

Identifying development needs

Another way in which a good performance management system can help to turn around performance is by identifying and clearly defining development needs and tracking achievement of these. All too often development is seen as afterthought of an appraisal process or a reward for good behaviour. It would be better to look at it as an incredibly important way of improving performance and developing talent. In actual fact your performance management system should help you to put the ‘Why’ into development and the ‘How’ into Talent Management by helping people understand why they need to learn certain new skills and help you as a business manage and develop your talent.

Actus empowers people to manage and record their own development including self study and on the job learning, helping people to realise that learning is their responsibility and giving L&D greater visibility of training needs. This makes it easier for them to provide ‘point-of-need training’, helping people to upskill faster and therefore reducing the likelihood of underperformance.

Audit trail of performance

Finally, if you do have to go formal with performance improvement plans or disciplinary action, then evidence is key. Certainly, having a documented audit trail is highly important to demonstrate fairness and avoid litigation. A performance management system like Actus gives you the structure, transparency and rigour to help you deal with issues fairly.

If you would like to find out more about how Actus can support you with performance issues, why not book a free demo below?

Performance Management Resources

Part of our ethos is to help build a better workplace for people, whatever their location. We achieve this through great performance management software, the HR Uprising Podcast, and free thought leadership resources.  Therefore, if you would like to learn more about this topic, you can find some additional resources below.

Blog: How to improve business performance

Infographic: Managing Virtual Performance Issues 

White Paper: Managing Underperformance in a virtual world