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Dear Workforce How Do We Change From Informal to Formal Performance Management?

Our technology firm anticipates rapid growth this year. Presently we conduct annual performance reviews that are rather informal. This method is manageable now, but as the company grows how could we introduce structured performance management for employees of various occupations?
December 29, 2006
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Related Topics: Performance Appraisals, Policies and Procedures, Dear Workforce
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Dear Evolving:
Rapid growth is a double-edged sword. On one side it implies increased business opportunities, rising market share and enhanced competitive advantage. On the other side, it can put a strain on your organization to achieve more goals. This strain can put pressure on internal initiatives including training, reward and recognition programs, and the performance management system.
Introducing a formal performance management system can be challenging, especially if your employees are used to a more informal system. People resist change unless they can see its benefit to them, and especially if they haven't assisted in developing the new initiative. The more ownership people have of a system, the more of an impact it will have on goal attainment. Consider using the IMPACT acronym when establishing performance management:
  • Investigate the pros and cons of the current system and build from there. There may be very strong elements of the current system that can be adapted to fit the new system. Take the best of the old system to maximize results in the new system.
  • Manage work by creating daily opportunities for feedback. A formal performance management system must be supported by an informal system. Daily feedback demonstrates to people that their job is important and that management is interested in their success. It also enhances overall communication.
  • Partner with employees to create the system. This may take longer, but the end result will be better. Employees will have a clearer perspective on their jobs/roles within the company as well as their connection to company goals.
  • Accelerate performance by promoting benefits. Create momentum by helping employees see how performance management enables them to improve. Consider promoting these benefits in company newsletters or on intranets.
  • Coach employees by focusing on their strengths. Your system is only as good as your delivery. If supervisors are not effective coaches, then don't expect employees to be motivated to perform at high levels. Coaching requires a dedicated effort and should not be taken lightly.
  • Target specific observable behaviors for performance. Every job function should have tangible results aligned with the business. Performance management systems need not be long and complicated. Keep it simple and focus on specific behaviors distinctive to each job, to get everyone driving toward the same end result.
A performance management system focuses light on the most important behaviors and results your organization wants achieve. When a company is growing rapidly, it is important to take a step back to ensure that internal initiatives match your business goals.
SOURCE: Dana Jarvis, human resources director,Snavely Forest Products, Pittsburgh, March 6, 2006. Jarvis also is an adjunct professor at Duquesne University.
LEARN MORE: Please read How to Move From a Paternalistic Culture to One That Measures Performance for another view. Also, how to combine different formats for appraisals.
The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.
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 The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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