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Six Steps Toward Meaningful Performance Management

May 10, 2001
Related Topics: Performance Appraisals, Featured Article
For individuals to be successful, the organization needs to besuccessful," says Jane Weizmann, senior consultant for Watson WyattWorldwide. "So at best-practice organizations, the assessment period getsthe least amount of energy. The biggest part of the energy is in the planningperiod."

    Weizmann offers the following tips on channeling that energy constructively:

  • Link the performance-management calendar to the organization's businesscalendar. This way, performance planning is coordinated throughout the entire organization. "You tell your employees, 'Here's what we've got todeliver this year and here are the roles everyone's going to play. We need toknow what development interests you have, and by the way, we have somedevelopment needs that you'll have to grow with.' "

  • Conduct a mid-year review. With mid-year financial results in hand, you canrecast your plans to meet changing conditions. "By the end of the year,then, it's in the bag. And as much energy goes into planning for the next periodas goes into evaluating the past."

  • Articulate a set of role-based competencies. First, let every employee knowthe five or six qualities that define success for every member of theorganization, regardless of job description. Then let every employee know howthose qualities translate into performance in specific jobs. "This tellsthe employee what they can expect of their leaders, as well as their coworkers.Expectations, then, are not disputable. They're in the role. They're well-documented."

    Thus, whenreviews are conducted, employees and managers do not get bogged down indiscussions of whether or not a specific behavior is important. The focus isshifted to a discussion of how well the employee met expectations and how thoseexpectations might change in the coming year.

  • Set developmental guidelines for your employees, based on their roles in the organization. Make sure that employees understand the kinds ofdevelopmental opportunities they will have to take advantage of if they want to grow intheir jobs and move on to positions of increasing responsibility.

  • Don't get bogged down in paperwork. "Paperwork has to facilitate theprocess. Anything you can do to assure the face-to-face discussion ofperformance between the individual and the manager is what counts. The papercan't be the end result."

  • Focus on leadership. "One of the things that leaders do is setexpectations and coach. You want to line up your needs with the employee'sneeds. Do whatever needs to be done to get that to happen."

Workforce, May 2001, p. 38-- Subscribe Now!

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