For great managers, a performance management routine is about simplicity, not about filling out lengthy bureaucratic forms, and concentrating on the really difficult task of what to say to each employee and how to say it. It also involves frequent interaction between the manager and the employee to discuss employee performance, style and goals. Meeting every quarter or more frequently if a situation warrants it and spending an average of one hour per employee enables the manager to explore aspects of employee recognition needs, relationship needs, the goals, the talents and non-talents, with a view to highlighting the specifics of a success or a disappointment. In the meeting, the employee and manager share their respective candid impressions of their interactions on the job, that pave way for better understanding and partnership, and practical advice. A heightened concentration on the job to gather relevant data to be examined at the performance management meeting often precedes the meeting and enhances productivity.

Broaching the subject of the employees’ areas of poor performance is made easier by frequent performance management meetings. This permits the manager to cite with greater ease and at a regulated acceptable pace the recent, vivid examples of poor performance. Consequently, the conversation is made less tense and more productive and any flame of resistance on the part of the employee is quickly doused. A situation, where the criticism is unloaded on the employee, in bulk, once or twice yearly, is bound to create some sort of unconstructive misgivings or dissatisfaction in the mind of an employee. Besides, a yearly performance management meeting often misses some crucial details.

The performance management meeting looks towards the future, but a view of past performance is used to highlight discoveries about employee style and needs. Effective managers devote a major amount of time spent in the meeting to discussing employee goals, parameters for measuring success and the most efficient path to the goals.

To get it forward, the performance management routine demands of the employee to keep track of her own performance and learnings. Writing down the goals, discoveries and successes, not meant to be critiqued or evaluated by the manager, helps employees to take responsibility for their own performance. Only employee short-term performance goals are set in agreement with the manager, but the personal record of the discoveries about the self and the descriptions of new skills acquired are quite private to the employee. Studies indicate that self-discovery, directing and recording one’s progress, facilitate learning. The manager should keep his or her own record of the employee answers to the questions of what actions that have been taken, what discoveries that have been made and what partnerships that have been built and use them to assess the performance of the employee over the months in review. To focus towards the future, the questions of what the main focus is, what the primary goals for the next three months are, what new discoveries are planned and what new partnerships are in view are quite helpful. The written answers should be discussed with the manager and agreed to, as they will form the basis of the manager’s specific expectations of the employee for the next three months. With the employee successes and struggles in full view, the effective manager, by focusing on the strengths and setting expectations that are right for the employee, helps him or her to perfect his or her style.

Simplicity, frequent interaction, focus on the future and self-tracking validates in an effective performance management routine.

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