Optimizing Your Performance Management System
About the Program
For many supervisors, performance management means dispensing the dreaded annual performance rating, the results of which often determine merit raises and promotability. It is not an especially effective approach, for many reasons, including:
- Performance feedback is typically a once or twice-a-year activity that has little positive impact on the results you get from your employees.
- Supervisors often find it challenging to set measurable performance goals, provide constructive feedback, and give employees the support they need to continually develop and improve their on-job performance.
- Employees may find it challenging to receive constructive feedback and are not clear about the accountability they have to partner with their supervisor to effectively manage their own performance.
“Optimizing Your Performance Management System” is designed to help managers and employees work together, as true partners, to create high-performing individuals and organizations. This program describes performance management as a year-round, joint effort between manager and employee to manage employee performance. One of the unique features of the program is that it provides parallel capability-development tracks for both managers and employees. Each session begins by having participants examine the performance management system currently in place in their organization. How is it structured? What actions are required on the part of supervisors and employees in order to make it successful?
Because meaningful goals are key to the success of any performance management system, we next focus on transferring to both groups a set of capabilities that will enable them to create clear, measurable goals. In an initial two-day session, managers practice writing such goals for their employees; in a half-day program, employees learn to draft their own goals, which they will share and discuss with their supervisor back on the job in order to align with them on performance expectations. In a second, follow-up training session nine months later, supervisors will prepare to conduct effective year-end performance discussions with employees. This “just-in-time” approach for supervisors gives them the skills they need, at the point in the performance management cycle that they need them, so that learnings are fresh and immediately applied.
And because so much of the success of a performance management system depends on the dynamic between managers and employees, both groups will be introduced to and have an opportunity to learn and practice the interpersonal skills they need to become performance-management partners: active listening, assertion, coaching, resolving differences, giving and receiving feedback.
Who Should Attend
Any manager who is responsible for evaluating and developing direct reports; all employees whose on-job performance will be evaluated and measured. If the program is part of an organization development effort, we recommend that all managers and employees attend, after enterprise-wide business goals have been set. As performance goals are cascaded across and down through the organization, broad participation will ensure that there is alignment of objectives, consistency of approach, and full engagement at every level.
After attending one of the specially designed initial sessions for either managers or employees:
Both managers and employees will have learned:
- What performance management is and how it differs from performance evaluation
- How to describe their organization’s current performance management system and the accountabilities of both supervisor and employee in ensuring its success
- How to write performance goals that clearly define results and can be measured objectively
- The interpersonal skills that are necessary to participate in mutually effective performance discussions at every phase of performance management
Managers will additionally have learned:
- How to effectively coach employees on progress against goals to achieve the desired results
- How to handle difficult performance issues that may arise
- How to handle resistance and defensiveness on the part of those who report to them
- How to coach employees, between performance reviews, to help them achieve their performance goals and develop the skills to advance in the organization
- How to effectively conduct a performance-review session
Employees will have learned:
- How to make clear, specific requests of their supervisor to help them be effective
After attending the half-day program, which is presented nine months after the initial two-day session:
Managers will have learned:
- How to evaluate and rate employees against goals
- How to plan for and conduct performance reviews with their employees
- How to create specific, actionable development plans for employees
Concept briefings, followed by application to on-job performance management issues
For managers: An initial two-day program, followed nine months later by a half-day session to assess progress and plan for upcoming performance reviews with employees.
For employees: One half-day session, to be held at the same time as the two-day session for managers.
Note: Depending on client needs, Guttman can either conduct this program within the context of an existing performance management system or develop a new performance management system for the organization. Guttman can also train HR professionals to facilitate the half-day employee session, if this meets client objectives.