In the spirit of New Year resolutions and the introduction of our 2019 legal training programme here are our top five practical tips for managers to ensure effective performance management throughout the year.
1. Set the goal posts
It is really important to ensure that employees understand the standard that is expected of them and how this is measured by the company. Clearly communicating these standards internally will help to minimise the risk of any confusion arising later down the line. The standards should be reinforced through familiarising employees with how to access key documents, scheduling regular appraisals, outlining the company values and setting realistic targets. Remember that the most effective targets are achievable and measurable.
2. Don’t ignore the difficult conversations
Ultimately, ignoring issues relating to performance or conduct is not going to help prevent those issues from escalating. It is far healthier to enforce and instil honesty, openness and consistency as company values. Through being proactive and dealing with any concerns as they arise (i.e. before the next appraisal), you will assist in curbing a small issue from growing into an unruly problem. If an appraisal is already scheduled make sure that you don’t waste the opportunity to raise your concerns.
3. Allow time for improvement
It is important that you do not pre judge the outcome of any process that you are following. In following step two above you may discover that a personal issue is affecting an employee’s performance in work. Sensitively dealing with this will help you to understand how best to support the employee and aid their improvement over a period of time. From an employment law perspective, you must ensure that you address any problems, offer assistance if required and don’t assume that an employees eventual departure is a foregone conclusion.
4. Follow your procedures!
It is crucial to ensure that any company policies or procedures in place are enforced and adhered to. By understanding how the process works and the steps involved (as well as the legal consequences of an unfair dismissal award if you don’t follow them!) you are far more likely to conduct a process fairly. To put this into perspective, try looking into the facts of a recent tribunal case and work backwards to see what initially triggered the claim. Spending an extra few minutes reading through your policies can really help to minimise this risk.
5. Preparation is key
We all appreciate if someone has taken the time to thoroughly prepare for a meeting, particularly when that meeting relates to our career. A good appraisal involves collating feedback, conducting a fair meeting itself and following up with written notes. On a practical level, ensure that you have allocated enough time in advance of the appraisal to prepare, as this will add value to the meeting itself.
Our training session on 24 January 2019 will focus on Practical Performance Management training.
The session will outline the step by step procedure that is needed for dealing with employees on an informal basis and through a formal performance improvement plan. We will examine the reasons for poor performance, the targets that are necessary and the documentation required.