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What do you mean by performance management?
Under-performers; 360o appraisal; or bonuses?
In linking bonus to performance, recent research shows that fewer than half of all employers with bonus/commission/pay by results schemes assess whether the outcomes match original expectations. Indeed 53% do not even assess whether there is any impact at all.
360o appraisal (or even just 180 o) also gets a poor press, with too many dreading the appraisal process, whether they are giving it or receiving it. Just look at the reaction of schoolteachers. Much of this stems from appraisal interviews that are undertaken without any training or real preparation. The appraisal interview situation can be very artificial and uncomfortable and therefore it needs skill and commitment from all parties if benefits are to be realised.
Oddly, tackling under-performers can be the most productive. Often under-performance is resolved by training, mentoring, problem solving, close supervision, or by simply managing relationships.
Management and supervisory training can pay off because it helps managers getting the best from their people.
There may be occasions when a formal capability procedure is required – if a job is challenging then it may not suit everyone.
Then, mediation can offer resolutions of seemingly intractable relationship issues, releasing wasted energy for productive purposes.
Finally, disciplinary procedures can be invoked; but they must be reserved for circumstances where an individual chooses to not apply themselves; i.e. where the change required is within the control of the individual.
It is tempting to allow drift. Bonus schemes, once implemented, are difficult to remove, even if one has strong suspicions that they are not working. Performance appraisal schemes gradually get overlooked as those responsible for them tire of persuading others to follow them. But the worst is that we are all tempted to let sleeping dogs lie and to not tackle poor performance until we realise we have no choice.
In each of these areas an expert outside party can provide balance, experience and the encouragement to succeed.
And it is worth it!
In the caring sectors up to 80% of the costs arise from employment costs. A few per cent increase in the performance of your people can create a dramatic improvement for your profit margin (and vice-versa of course!)
Malcolm Martin – QCS Expert Human Resources Contributor
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