These days managing performance has become a much broader concept than just performance reviews and disciplinary processes. It has become an important element of workforce planning that helps enable the growth and development of employees to meet the corporate objectives of Council. Effective performance management should not only aim to improve the performance of individuals but also teams and the organisation. By establishing effective performance management processes that monitor, review and evaluate the performance of teams and individuals, provides a valuable tool for Council to measure the progress made towards achieving overarching objectives.
Most organisations conduct performance reviews annually. However, a twelve-monthly review does not occur regularly enough to address any performance concerns that may arise in the meantime. Therefore, it is not an effective performance management system on its own. So, what does an effective performance management process involve? An effective performance management system should be viewed as a process – not an event. It can be incorporated into job design, recruitment and onboarding, learning and development, disciplinary procedures, career and succession planning and performance reviews.
It should also involve both a formal and informal approach. The formal approach involves conducting reviews usually on a template form, and it is where goals and guidelines are set and timelines for review are agreed upon. An informal process involves processes such as impromptu meetings, coaching and mentoring, counselling and performance improvement suggestions, discipline and providing regular feedback.
Systems aimed at managing performance should be designed so that employees:
- understand what is expected of them in performing their duties;
- are provided with the necessary resources required to achieve performance standards and goals;
- have a plan in place to close any gaps, such as training and development;
- have opportunities to receive, and provide regular feedback;
- are recognised and/or rewarded; and
- behaviour that is unacceptable is managed.
Council’s policies and procedures also play an important role in managing performance by making employees aware of and setting standards of behaviour and conduct that is acceptable and expected. For example, policies such as the Code of Conduct, bullying, harassment and discrimination, social media and workplace health and safety play an important role in communicating acceptable behaviour. Additionally, Council should have a specific procedure that outlines how underperformance will be dealt with and what the consequences are.
Having a well-structured performance management system in place will assist with improving productivity and help achieve strategic and operational goals.