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Performance management – Where are employers going wrong?

Performance management – Where are employers going wrong?

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According to Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service), one in ten employers believe their performance management processes are actually demotivating their employees.

This shouldn’t be happening. Performance management is about setting clear expectations, giving people praise and constructive feedback, identifying training and development needs and increasing your employee’s engagement level. All of this will ensure that your business is getting the very best out of your employees.

So where are employers going wrong?

Often managers fall into the dangerous trap of thinking that performance management starts and stops with an annual review, but a successful performance management strategy involves many more layers.

Here are the key ingredients to successful performance management:

  1. Use probationary periods

If you notice performance issues during the probationary period, do not leave it until the last minute to start addressing the problems. Holding mid-probation reviews and regular feedback sessions to explain to the employee in what ways they are progressing well and what areas they need to work on ensures that everyone knows where they stand. To discuss probationary periods in more depth, contact Ellis Whittam (details below).  

  1. Set objectives

Consider what objectives you want the employee to meet and how they align to your business’ goals. Use the SMART acronym to ensure they are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely.

  1. Monitor performance frequently, not just once a year

By carrying out one to one meeting on a monthly or quarterly basis, you can ensure that the employee is working on target and offer them support when they need it. This should be accompanied by formal reviews which you may decide to undertake once or twice a year.

  1. Train your managers

In order to ensure consistency of approach across the organisation, all your managers should receive training on performance management.  They should know how to identify poor performance, carry out appraisals, set objectives, develop a Performance Improvement Plan, keep effective records and understand the process to dismiss.

  1. Take action where necessary

Sometimes managers let poor performance through unchallenged because they don’t how to handle it, feel awkward having difficult conversations or are concerned of falling foul of the law. But the very success of your business relies on all employees performing to the best possible level, so it is important to take action where necessary.

It is not always easy to determine whether your concerns regarding an employee should be dealt with as a performance or conduct issue and what procedure is most appropriate in the circumstances. Seek advice at the earliest opportunity to talk through whether you should use a disciplinary or performance management procedure.

To explore this further, contact Ellis Whittam, who are NIVO’s preferred partner, on 0845 226 8393. Alternatively, contact Ben Delaney on for more information.

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