This guide to performance management contains essential information on how to get the most from your team’s performance. It will compliment your own company performance management process, ensuring your team are fit to perform. It contains the core elements of a typical process, planner, checklist, and jargon buster.

Core elements to performance management

There are essentially three core elements to a typical performance management process.

core elements to performance management

This guide looks into each of the core elements in more detail. To begin with let us look at the objectives.

Where do we get objectives from?

We see a typical cascade process in operation as in the diagram below. The process typically runs in conjunction with the financial year (April‐March) or with the organisation’s tax year.

performance management cascade

Agreeing objectives

Some objectives will directly cascade down from the business plan, strategic and functional objectives to the individual. A lot of the time these are simply updated from the previous year, (where there is similar emphasis from the business). E.g a sales target may increase year to year.

Let's look at an example.

To sell more Type ‘D’ products in order to increase cross sales target, from 10 per week, to 15 per week, by end of June and on going. Reviewed monthly and at formal reviews.

In this example we have included the following language -
In order to……
by MM/YYYY
from XX% to YY%

Which meets the SMART criteria....

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time bound

Measuring performance

Objectives should be measurable. Through the performance management process we should be looking for ways to contribute to the bottom line of the business. It is key for managers and staff to seek ways to increase the profitability of the organisation. Consider the following equation.

contribution equation
It's best to be in the black here! Are you?

Here are just 16 ways in which we can contribute to the business.

contribution to business

Even without a formal performance management process we must be adding value.

If it was your business could you afford to employ someone who wasn’t?

Personal development plan

Often derided, the personal development plan (PDP) is an integral and valuable part of the performance management process. In some industries it is a requirement to have and evidenced and Continuous Development Plan (CDP or CPD).

If our team are not skilled and competent then how can we expect them to contribute to the business objectives? In sport there is no way a team will be able to (consistently) perform at their best if they have not trained, developed or practiced. (Of course it does help having the best players on your team from the start!)

Below is an example of the topics on a PDP.

pdp example

We can over complicate the PDP. It is quite a logistically simple document really, especially when you consider the two main questions behind it.

What is the gap in the individual’s performance?

What specific activities will help close the gap?

From here we simply populate the plan with specific development activities. It is vital that these come from the individual rather than the manager, the manager should coach/mentor, rather than tell. Consideration to learning styles of the individual is very important too, as we all learn differently. Timescales and objectives help to ensure a focussed plan.

Development plan options

Examples of development options available are found below. This is list is never going to be exhaustive, it highlights examples of ways to close the gap. Individual specific needs have to be considered, as do learning style preferences.

Development Activities

Competencies

Competencies are found in two main categories.

Technical competencies

Behavioural competencies

what and how competencies


In simple terms:‐

Technical competencies are the WHAT

Behavioural competencies are the HOW

Non performance can be due to the team member not knowing what to do, or because they are not doing it in a way that is acceptable.

For example

A customer services representative could handle 30 customer queries (WHAT), as targeted, yet they may not deliver it with compassion, integrity and quality expected (HOW).

Behavioural competencies

We often see behavioural competencies with varying levels depending on the focus required. In the example below we see a competency of ‘Customer Focus’ at 5 levels.

AN EXAMPLE OF A COMPETENCY

Customer Focus

A behaviour which puts the customer at the centre of what we do. This is the desire and ability to delivery higher than expected service to our customers.

Level 1 – Meet expectations

  • Delivers service as planned
  • Handles customers queries
  • Is pleasant and polite

Level 2 – Exceed expectations

  • Receives feedback (written and verbal) praising service delivered
  • Seeks ways to exceed level of service delivered
  • Handles 1st level customer complaints

Level 3 ‐ Focuses the team on customers

  • Coaches others to deliver customer service
  • Sets objectives on customer service
  • Gives feedback to others on service delivered
  • Handles 2nd level customers complaints

Level 4 – Sets customer focus goals

  • Sets goals to deliver customer service excellence.
  • Develops plans to increase customer satisfaction
  • Creates innovative ways to motivate others to deliver customer excellence
  • Handles 3rd level customer complaints

Level 5 – Creating a vision for customers

  • Sets a vision for the delivery of industry leading customer focus
  • Externally champions our passion for customers to a wider network
KEY

Competency Name
Competency Definition
Competency Level and Tag line
Behavioural Indicators

Performance Manager Planner

The key activities of a typical performance management process are mapped out below. This is a ‘full fat’ version, and the process can be condensed one everyone is up to speed. For example less formal reviews

performance management planner

Performance Management Checklist

Use this checklist to assess why an individual is not performing. It is also useful to plan for those ‘high performers’ who plan to move into new roles. Seven areas can be checked to diagnose how to improve future performance.

performance management checklist

Jargon buster

Some phrases you may hear.

KPI
KPA
ROI
Behavioural indicator
Tag/Strap line
SMART
PDP
CPD
CBT
Competency
Bottom line

Key performance indicator ‐ measures of key performance areas or objectives
Key performance area ‐ area of key focus for the coming year
Return on investment ‐ the return for any money spent by the business
A bullet point, indicating specific evidence/examples of a behaviour
A summary of the level of a competency
An acronym ‐ Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time bound (more on setting SMART objectives)
Personal development plan or Development plan (more details on PDP's objectives)
Continuous (personal) development plan
Computer based training
Maps out technical competence or behavioural competence
Signifies the bottom line of key financial statements i.e. making a profit or loss

Summary

This guide has been designed to give you some important pointers on how to effectively manage your teams performance. Ultimately we must be adding to the bottom line of the business in order to aid the long term security.

Capture 5 things you will action over the next month with regards to managing performance in your organisation.

About the author

phil laviolettephil laviolette

Hi!, I'm Phil LaViolette, Founder and Owner of evalu8d. I created resourcily to share hints, tips and resources I've collected over 20 years of training and coaching, across lots of industries and at all levels. I hope that, even in a small way, you gain from the tools I share!
Phil