Performance management is a process that involves monitoring, evaluating, and enhancing the performance of individuals, teams, and organizations to achieve strategic goals and objectives. It involves setting performance expectations, identifying performance gaps, and providing feedback, coaching, and training to improve performance. Scholars have defined performance management in various ways, including:
- According to Armstrong and Baron (2004), performance management is “a process for establishing shared understanding about what is to be achieved and how it is to be achieved, and an approach to managing people that increases the probability of achieving success.”
- According to Aguinis (2013), performance management is “the ongoing process of identifying, measuring, and developing the performance of individuals and teams and aligning performance with the strategic goals of the organization.”
- According to Gomez-Mejia, Balkin, and Cardy (2016), performance management is “a continuous process of setting expectations, measuring performance, and providing feedback to employees with the purpose of improving their performance and aligning it with the goals of the organization.”
- ‘Performance management is the activity and set of processes that aim to maintain and improve employee performance in line with an organisation’s objectives. It’s strategic as well as operational, as its aim is to ensure that employees contribute positively to business objectives. Ideally, performance should be managed holistically, throughout the range of HR activities and processes.’ (CIPD, 2017)
It is an ongoing process that requires the active participation of both managers and employees and is aligned with the overall strategy of the organization.
- 0.1 People performance link (Purcell, 2003)
- 0.2 Theories underpinning Performance Management
- 0.3 Objectives of Performance Management
- 0.4 Essential Elements of Performance Management
- 0.5 Responsible for Performance Management in an Organisation?
- 1 Concept of Induction and employee socialization
- 2 SMART Goal Framework
- 3 Performance Review/Appraisal
- 3.1 Dealing with Poor Employee Performance: A Guide for Line Managers
Isn’t performance management just an annual appraisal?
No, performance management is not just an annual appraisal. While an annual appraisal may be a part of a performance management system, it is just one component of a broader process that involves ongoing communication, feedback, coaching, goal setting, and performance monitoring throughout the year.
Performance management is a continuous process that involves setting performance expectations, measuring performance against those expectations, providing feedback, coaching, and training to improve performance, and recognizing and rewarding good performance. It is not limited to a one-time event like an annual review.
A comprehensive performance management system includes regular check-ins and discussions between managers and employees to review progress, provide feedback, and set goals. It also involves ongoing training and development to improve skills and performance, and it may include various methods of performance measurement, such as self-assessments, peer evaluations, and 360-degree feedback.
In summary, performance management is a broader process that involves ongoing communication, feedback, and goal setting, and it is not limited to an annual appraisal. An annual appraisal may be a part of a performance management system, but it is just one aspect of a more comprehensive approach to managing performance.
- Performance management describes processes that:
- Establish objectives so that individuals and/or teams can see their part in their organisation’s mission and strategy
- Improve performance among employees, teams and ultimately the organisation as a whole
- Hold people to account for their performance by linking it to reward, career progression, and termination of contracts
- It is a holistic set of processes centred on two way discussion with regular formal and informal feedback on progress towards objectives
- It brings together a number of people management practices including induction, training and development, and reward management
The people performance link is a concept developed by Professor John Purcell in 2003 to highlight the connection between human resource management (HRM) practices and organizational performance. It suggests that there is a direct link between the way an organization manages its people and the performance outcomes it achieves.
According to Purcell, the people performance link is based on three key principles:
- Strategic integration: The alignment of HRM practices with the organization’s overall strategy and goals.
- High-performance work practices: The use of HRM practices that are designed to improve individual and organizational performance, such as employee involvement, training and development, and performance management.
- Employee engagement and involvement: The involvement and engagement of employees in decision-making processes and the implementation of HRM practices.
Purcell argues that when these three principles are effectively implemented, they can lead to higher levels of employee commitment, motivation, and productivity, which can ultimately result in improved organizational performance.
The people performance link suggests that HRM practices are not just a cost center but can be a source of competitive advantage for organizations. By investing in their people and implementing effective HRM practices, organizations can achieve better performance outcomes and gain a competitive edge in their industry.
1st Case: Group 4 Security at the London Olympics
One example of the failure of the people performance link is the case of Group 4 Security at the London Olympics in 2012. Group 4 was contracted to provide security services for the Olympics, but their performance was widely criticized and led to significant issues during the event.
Group 4’s failure to effectively implement the people performance link is attributed to a number of factors, including:
- Poor planning: Group 4 did not adequately plan for the scale and complexity of the security operation required for the Olympics. They did not have enough trained security personnel and relied heavily on inexperienced staff.
- Lack of employee involvement: Group 4 did not involve its employees in decision-making processes or provide sufficient training and development opportunities. This resulted in low levels of employee motivation and engagement, which impacted their performance on the job.
- Inadequate performance management: Group 4 did not effectively monitor or manage the performance of its employees, which resulted in inconsistent and unreliable security services. This was highlighted by the case of a Group 4 security guard who was caught asleep on the job.
- Negative public perception: Group 4’s poor performance at the Olympics led to a negative public perception of the company and damaged its reputation. This ultimately impacted its ability to win new contracts and retain existing clients.
The failure of Group 4 to effectively implement the people performance link resulted in significant issues during the London Olympics and had long-term consequences for the company’s reputation and business prospects. It highlights the importance of effectively implementing HRM practices to achieve better organizational performance outcomes.
2nd Case: Enron Corporation
One example of the failure of the people performance link is the case of Enron Corporation in the early 2000s. Enron was a large energy trading and utilities company that collapsed due to a series of fraudulent practices and unethical behavior.
Enron’s failure to effectively implement the people performance link is attributed to several factors, including:
- Lack of ethical leadership: Enron’s senior leaders, including CEO Jeffrey Skilling, were focused on financial gains and did not prioritize ethical behavior or employee well-being. This led to a culture of greed and unethical behavior throughout the organization.
- Inadequate performance management: Enron did not effectively monitor or manage the performance of its employees, which allowed unethical behavior to go unchecked. The company used performance metrics that were focused solely on financial outcomes, rather than considering the impact on other stakeholders or the long-term viability of the organization.
- Poor communication and engagement: Enron did not effectively communicate its goals and values to employees, nor did it provide sufficient opportunities for employee involvement and engagement. This led to low levels of employee morale and engagement, which impacted their performance on the job.
- Negative public perception: Enron’s unethical behavior and eventual collapse led to a negative public perception of the company and damaged its reputation. This ultimately impacted its ability to retain clients and attract new business.
The failure of Enron to effectively implement the people performance link resulted in significant legal, financial, and reputational consequences for the company and its employees. It highlights the importance of ethical leadership, effective performance management, and employee engagement in achieving better organizational performance outcomes.
Theories underpinning Performance Management
Performance management is a complex process that involves several theories and approaches to achieve the desired outcomes. Here are some of the theories that underpin performance management and a brief overview of each theory:
Three commonly cited theories underpin performance management are:
- Goal theory (Latham and Locke, 1979): This theory suggests that setting specific, challenging goals can lead to higher levels of performance than vague or easy goals. The theory proposes that individuals are motivated by goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Goal theory emphasizes the importance of feedback and monitoring progress toward goals.
- Clarity: Goals should be clear and specific, with a defined outcome or target to aim for.
- Challenge: Goals should be challenging but achievable, providing motivation and direction.
- Commitment: Individuals must be committed to achieving the goal for it to be effective.
- Feedback: Regular feedback on progress toward the goal can help individuals adjust their efforts and stay on track.
- Task complexity: The complexity of the task can impact the effectiveness of goal setting.
- Reinforcement theory (Skinner, 1938): This theory suggests that behavior is shaped by consequences, such as rewards and punishments. Reinforcement theory proposes that behaviors that are positively reinforced (rewarded) are more likely to be repeated, while behaviors that are negatively reinforced (punished) are less likely to be repeated. In performance management, reinforcement theory can be applied through the use of rewards and recognition to reinforce desired behaviors. The components of this theory include:
- Positive reinforcement: Providing rewards or positive consequences for desired behaviors can increase their frequency.
- Negative reinforcement: Removing negative consequences or punishments for desired behaviors can increase their frequency.
- Punishment: Providing negative consequences for undesired behaviors can decrease their frequency.
- Extinction: Removing rewards or positive consequences for undesired behaviors can decrease their frequency.
- Social cognitive theory (Bandura, 1986): This theory suggests that learning and behavior are influenced by cognitive factors, such as beliefs, attitudes, and expectations, as well as social factors, such as interactions with others. Social cognitive theory proposes that individuals learn through observation and modeling and that self-efficacy (the belief in one’s ability to perform a task) is a key determinant of behavior. In performance management, social cognitive theory can be applied by providing opportunities for learning and development, and by promoting a supportive work environment that encourages collaboration and positive social interactions. The components of this theory include:
- Observational learning: Individuals learn by observing others and the consequences of their behavior.
- Self-efficacy: Individuals’ belief in their ability to perform a task can impact their motivation and performance.
- Reinforcement: Consequences can shape behavior and motivation.
- Self-regulation: Individuals can regulate their own behavior by setting goals, monitoring progress, and adjusting their efforts.
These three theories, along with others, provide a theoretical basis for understanding the factors that influence performance and for developing effective performance management practices. By applying these theories, organizations can develop performance management systems that are grounded in research and that promote higher levels of individual and organizational performance.
Some other theories of Performance Management:
- Expectancy theory: This theory suggests that individuals are motivated by their belief that their efforts will lead to positive outcomes. Performance management often includes rewards and recognition programs to motivate employees and incentivize good performance.
- Equity theory: This theory suggests that individuals compare their inputs and outcomes to those of their peers to determine if they are being treated fairly. Performance management often includes pay and reward structures that are designed to be equitable and transparent.
- Self-determination theory: This theory suggests that individuals are motivated when they have autonomy, competence, and relatedness in their work. Performance management often includes opportunities for employees to have input into their goals and development plans, to improve their skills and competence, and to have supportive relationships with their managers and peers.
- Contingency theory: This theory suggests that the most effective management approach depends on the specific situation and context. Performance management often requires a tailored approach that is adapted to the needs of the organization and the individual employees.
Overall, the theories that underpin performance management provide a framework for understanding how individuals are motivated, how performance can be improved, and how organizational goals can be achieved. By understanding these theories and applying them effectively, organizations can create a comprehensive performance management approach that improves performance and aligns individual and team goals with the organization’s strategic objectives.
Objectives of Performance Management
According to John Shields (2007), performance management is a strategic and integrated approach to managing people, which aims to improve the effectiveness of organizations by improving the performance of individuals and teams. Performance management involves setting goals and objectives, monitoring progress, providing feedback, and implementing strategies to enhance performance.
According to John Shields (2007), performance management has several objectives, including:
- Strategic communication: Performance management aims to convey to employees what doing a good job means and how their performance contributes to the organization’s overall strategy and goals. This helps to align individual and team goals with the organization’s mission and vision and provides clarity on what is expected of employees.
- Relationship building: Performance management aims to build stronger relationships between managers and their employees by providing regular opportunities for feedback, coaching, and development. This helps to improve communication, trust, and collaboration, which can ultimately lead to better performance outcomes.
- Employee development: Performance management aims to provide regular feedback on employees’ strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement, and to provide opportunities for training and development to enhance their skills and capabilities. This helps to improve employee engagement, motivation, and retention and supports the organization’s talent management strategy.
- Employee evaluation: Performance management aims to assess employees’ performance and provide a basis for making development, promotion, and performance reward decisions. This helps to identify high-performing employees and potential areas for improvement and to provide fair and transparent reward and recognition systems.
Overall, the objectives of performance management are to improve individual and team performance, align goals with the organization’s strategy, and support employee development and growth. By achieving these objectives, organizations can achieve better performance outcomes and gain a competitive advantage in their industry.
Essential Elements of Performance Management
Performance management is the process of creating a work environment that enables people to perform to the best of their abilities. It involves setting clear expectations, providing feedback and coaching, and aligning individual and team goals with organizational goals. The main elements of the performance management process include:
- Goal setting: The process starts with setting clear and specific goals that are aligned with the organization’s overall objectives. Goals should be measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
- Performance monitoring: Once goals are set, performance should be monitored regularly to ensure that individuals and teams are making progress toward their goals. This can be done through regular check-ins, progress reports, and performance reviews.
- Feedback and coaching: Providing feedback and coaching is an essential part of performance management. Feedback should be constructive, specific, and timely, and should focus on both strengths and areas for improvement. Coaching should help individuals and teams develop the skills and knowledge they need to meet their goals.
- Performance evaluation: At the end of a performance period, individuals should be evaluated based on how well they met their goals and performed their duties. Evaluation should be based on objective criteria and should take into account both individual and team performance.
- Performance improvement: Performance management should also focus on identifying areas for improvement and developing plans to address them. This may involve providing additional training or resources, adjusting goals, or making changes to the work environment.
- Recognition and rewards: Finally, performance management should include recognition and rewards for individuals and teams that have performed well. This may include bonuses, promotions, or other forms of recognition that reinforce good performance and encourage continued growth and development.
Responsible for Performance Management in an Organisation?
Performance management is the responsibility of everyone in the organization, including managers, supervisors, and employees. However, the line manager is a critical figure in the performance management process. While HR may provide support and guidance, the primary responsibility for managing performance falls on the manager or supervisor.
The manager is responsible for setting expectations, providing feedback, monitoring performance, evaluating performance, and identifying areas for improvement. It is important for the manager to have a good understanding of the employee’s role, responsibilities, and performance in order to provide effective feedback and coaching.
However, while the line manager plays a critical role in managing performance, it is not solely their responsibility. Performance management is a shared responsibility between managers, employees, and the HR department. The HR department typically provides guidance, tools, and support to help managers and employees effectively manage performance.
In addition, HR may be responsible for designing and implementing the performance management system, providing training and development opportunities for managers and employees, and ensuring that the system is fair, consistent, and aligned with the organization’s overall objectives.
Therefore, while the line manager is the primary responsible party for managing performance, it is important to recognize that effective performance management requires a collaborative effort between managers, employees, and the HR department.
Induction and employee socialization are important processes that help new employees become familiar with the organizational culture, values, and practices. According to John W. Newstrom, author of “Organizational Behavior: Human Behavior at Work,” induction refers to the formal process of orienting new employees to the organization, while socialization is the ongoing process of adapting to the organization’s culture and norms.”
Induction typically involves introducing new employees to the organization’s policies, procedures, and work environment. This may include a formal orientation program, training sessions, and meetings with key personnel. The goal of induction is to help new employees feel comfortable and confident in their new roles and to equip them with the knowledge and skills they need to be successful.
Employee socialization, on the other hand, is a more informal process that occurs over time as new employees interact with their colleagues and become familiar with the organization’s culture and norms. This may include learning the unwritten rules of the organization, developing relationships with colleagues, and understanding the organization’s values and beliefs.
Both induction and socialization are important for ensuring that new employees are integrated into the organization effectively and feel like they belong. By providing a supportive and welcoming environment for new employees, organizations can improve employee engagement, job satisfaction, and retention rates.
Functions that must include in a Good Induction
A good induction process should combine administrative, social, and cultural functions to ensure that new employees receive a comprehensive introduction to the organization.
- Administrative function (e.g. health and safety information)
- Social function (establishing relationships/developing team spirit)
- Cultural function (educate employees on event goals, vision and general expectations)
The administrative function of induction typically includes providing new employees with important information and resources, such as health and safety policies and procedures, employment contracts, and company policies and guidelines. This information is necessary to ensure that new employees understand their rights and responsibilities and are able to work safely and effectively.
The social function of induction is equally important, as it helps new employees build relationships with their colleagues and develop a sense of team spirit. This may include introducing new employees to their team members, organizing social events or team-building activities, and providing opportunities for informal interaction and networking.
Finally, the cultural function of induction involves educating new employees about the organization’s values, goals, and expectations. This may include sharing the company’s mission and vision, providing an overview of the organizational structure and culture, and introducing new employees to the organization’s history and traditions. By providing this information, new employees can better understand the organization’s culture and expectations and feel more integrated into the organization.
By combining these three functions, a good induction process can help new employees feel welcomed, informed, and connected to the organization. This can lead to greater job satisfaction, increased retention, and improved performance over time
Induction Checklist for Managers
Here is a sample induction checklist for managers:
Before the new employee arrives:
- Send a welcome email to the new employee, including details of their start date, time, and location.
- Notify relevant staff members of the new employee’s arrival.
- Prepare a workstation for the new employee, including necessary equipment and supplies.
- Prepare an induction schedule and allocate responsibilities for different aspects of the induction process.
On the first day:
- Provide a tour of the workplace and introduce the new employee to their colleagues.
- Provide an overview of the organization’s mission, vision, and values.
- Explain the new employee’s role and responsibilities, and provide a copy of their job description.
- Provide an overview of the organization’s policies and procedures, including health and safety policies.
- Explain the organization’s culture and expectations for behavior and performance.
During the first week:
- Provide any necessary training and development opportunities, such as IT training or specific job training.
- Review the new employee’s progress and provide feedback on their performance.
- Encourage the new employee to ask questions and seek support when needed.
- Establish goals and objectives for the new employee’s probationary period.
Throughout the probationary period:
- Provide ongoing support and feedback to the new employee.
- Conduct regular performance reviews to track progress and identify areas for improvement.
- Provide opportunities for new employee to develop their skills and knowledge.
- Ensure that the new employee is integrated into the team and feels supported and valued.
By following this induction checklist, managers can help new employees feel welcomed and supported in their new role, and set them up for success in the organization.
Formal “Work Plan” to Set Out Performance Standards
- Line managers may develop a formal work plan to set out performance standards for new recruit
- Help ensure new recruits know what they are meant to be doing, not confused in their first week.
- Can start developing this before they start the job but will need tweaking once the new recruit starts (induction)
- Goals should be SMART (next slide)
- Important new recruits have a role in their goal setting (linked to career aspirations and support needed)
A work plan is an essential tool for any manager or supervisor to ensure that their employees have a clear understanding of their responsibilities, goals, and expectations. Here are some components that could be included in a work plan:
- Daily Duties: The work plan should outline the daily duties and tasks that the employee is expected to complete, especially during their first week. These should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) to ensure that the employee knows exactly what is expected of them. For example, this might include checking and responding to emails, attending team meetings, and completing a specific project or task.
- Expected Output/Measurement: To measure the employee’s performance on their daily duties, the work plan should include specific metrics and deadlines. This could include the number of emails responded to per day, the completion time for specific tasks, or the number of meetings attended. These metrics should be clearly communicated to the employee, so they understand how their performance will be evaluated.
- Support Required: The work plan should identify any support the employee needs to complete their tasks successfully. This could include access to relevant contacts, training, policies and procedures, and access to relevant systems. By providing the necessary resources, the employee will feel supported and confident in completing their tasks.
- Worker’s Goals: The work plan should also take into account the employee’s career aspirations and goals. This could include identifying the skills and experiences they need to achieve their goals, and how the organization can support them in reaching these goals. By aligning the employee’s goals with the organization’s goals, the employee will feel valued and motivated to perform well.
In summary, a work plan should provide the employee with clear expectations, support, and resources to complete their tasks successfully. It should also take into account the employee’s career aspirations and goals, ensuring that they feel valued and motivated in their role.
SMART Goal Framework
Goals should always be “SMART”
SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. The concept of SMART goals was first introduced by George T. Doran in a 1981 paper titled “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives.” The SMART framework provides a structured approach to goal setting, making it easier to create well-defined and achievable objectives. Here’s a brief explanation of each component of the SMART goal framework:
- Specific: Goals should be clear and unambiguous, focusing on what exactly you want to achieve. The more specific the goal, the easier it is to develop a plan to achieve it.
- Measurable: Goals should be quantifiable, making it possible to track progress and measure success. This helps to create a sense of accountability and motivation.
- Achievable: Goals should be realistic and attainable, taking into account available resources and limitations. Setting overly ambitious goals that are impossible to achieve can be demotivating.
- Relevant: Goals should be relevant to the individual’s role and contribute to the overall objectives of the team or organization. This ensures that efforts are focused on priorities.
- Time-bound: Goals should have a specific deadline or timeframe for completion. This creates a sense of urgency and helps to prioritize tasks.
Overall, SMART goals provide a useful framework for setting objectives that are clear, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. This can help individuals and teams to stay focused, motivated, and accountable as they work towards their goals.
Dangers in Goal Setting
While the SMART framework can be an effective tool for setting goals, there are also some potential dangers associated with it:
- Overemphasis on specific metrics: Focusing too much on specific metrics can lead to a narrow focus and neglect of other important factors that contribute to overall success.
- Unrealistic expectations: Setting goals that are too ambitious or unrealistic can lead to frustration, stress, and a sense of failure.
- Lack of flexibility: Rigid adherence to the SMART framework can result in inflexible goals that don’t account for changing circumstances or unexpected challenges.
- Ignoring the broader context: Goals that are too narrowly focused can ignore the broader organizational or societal context, leading to unintended negative consequences.
- Neglecting qualitative measures: Overemphasis on quantitative measures can neglect qualitative measures such as employee well-being, customer satisfaction, and ethical considerations.
To avoid these dangers, it’s important to use the SMART framework in conjunction with broader strategic thinking and to ensure that goals are realistic, flexible, and balanced. Goals should be aligned with organizational values and priorities and should account for the broader context and qualitative measures of success. It’s also essential to communicate goals clearly, provide adequate support and resources, and regularly review progress and adjust goals as needed.
Performance appraisal is a process of evaluating an employee’s work performance and productivity over a specific period. It involves setting objectives, assessing progress towards these objectives, providing feedback, and identifying opportunities for growth and development. Here are some definitions of performance appraisal from scholars:
According to Gary Dessler, “Performance appraisal is the process of evaluating the performance and progress of an employee or a group of employees on a given job and his/her potential for future development.”
According to Milkovich and Boudreau, “Performance appraisal is the process by which an organization evaluates individual performance and productivity, and sets future goals and objectives for individual employees.”
According to Edwin B. Flippo, “Performance appraisal is a systematic, periodic, and impartial rating of an employee’s excellence in matters pertaining to his present job and his potential for a better job.”
Overall, performance appraisal is a critical tool for evaluating employee performance, providing feedback and guidance, and identifying opportunities for growth and development. By providing regular feedback and guidance, employees can feel supported and motivated to perform their best and contribute to the success of the organization.
Aim of Performance Appraisal
Here’s a brief explanation of each aim:
- Clarification of performance standards: Performance reviews provide an opportunity to clarify expectations and standards of performance, ensuring that employees know what is expected of them and can work towards meeting those standards.
- Allocation of rewards: Performance reviews may be used to allocate rewards such as salary increases, bonuses, and promotions based on the employee’s performance.
- Identification of learning and development needs: Performance reviews can help identify areas where employees require further training or development to improve their skills and capabilities.
- Career management: Performance reviews can be used to discuss career aspirations and opportunities for career growth and development, as well as to identify any barriers to career progression.
- Counselling/discipline: In cases where an employee’s performance is below standard, performance reviews may be used to provide feedback and guidance, and to discuss any necessary corrective action.
- Setting goals and targets: Performance reviews can be used to set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals and targets, ensuring that employees have clear objectives to work towards.
Overall, performance reviews can be a valuable tool for enhancing employee performance, providing feedback and guidance, and identifying opportunities for growth and development. By providing regular feedback and guidance, employees can feel supported and motivated to perform their best and contribute to the success of the organization.
Problems with Performance Review
Performance review is a process that involves evaluating an employee’s work performance and productivity over a specific period. It is typically conducted by the employee’s supervisor or manager and can involve setting goals, assessing progress towards those goals, providing feedback, and identifying opportunities for growth and development. Performance reviews are an essential tool for organizations to assess employee performance and identify areas for improvement.
Despite the importance of performance reviews, there are some common problems associated with them. Here are a few examples:
- Validity: Performance reviews may be subject to line manager bias, leading to inaccurate or unfair evaluations of employee performance.
- Conflict of purpose: If the purpose of the performance review is for rewards such as bonuses, employees may be hesitant to disclose any problems or challenges they have faced during the review period.
- Control or commitment: The shift from using performance reviews for career development to control and discipline can create a negative work environment and lead to demotivation among employees.
- Does it work: Not all employees respond to performance reviews in the same way, and some may not see the value in the review process, leading to low engagement and disinterest.
- Bureaucracy: If the performance review process is overly bureaucratic and does not contribute to employee development or add value, it can lead to a lack of commitment and engagement among employees.
To address these problems, it’s essential to ensure that performance reviews are conducted fairly and accurately, with an emphasis on employee development and growth. It’s also important to communicate the purpose of the performance review clearly, and to provide opportunities for employees to provide feedback on the process. By taking steps to address these problems, organizations can create a positive work environment that supports employee development, motivation, and engagement.
Unconscious Bias in Performance Review
Unconscious bias can be a significant problem in performance reviews. Unconscious bias refers to the unconscious attitudes or stereotypes that can affect our behavior, leading to unfair treatment of individuals or groups. Here are a few examples of unconscious bias in performance reviews:
- Confirmation bias: This occurs when a reviewer selectively focuses on information that confirms their pre-existing beliefs or stereotypes about an employee, leading to a biased evaluation.
- Halo/horns effect: This occurs when a reviewer’s overall impression of an employee, either positive or negative, influences their evaluation of specific aspects of the employee’s performance, leading to a biased evaluation.
- Similarity bias: This occurs when a reviewer tends to favor employees who are similar to themselves in terms of background, experiences, or characteristics, leading to a biased evaluation.
- Gender bias: This occurs when a reviewer unconsciously evaluates employees differently based on gender stereotypes, such as assuming that women are more emotional or less assertive than men, leading to a biased evaluation.
- Age bias: This occurs when a reviewer unconsciously evaluates employees differently based on age stereotypes, such as assuming that older employees are less competent or less adaptable than younger employees, leading to a biased evaluation.
To address unconscious bias in performance reviews, it’s important to raise awareness of the issue and provide training for managers and reviewers on how to recognize and address their own biases. Organizations can also consider implementing objective evaluation criteria and processes, such as 360-degree feedback or anonymous evaluations, to minimize the impact of bias on performance reviews. By addressing unconscious bias in performance reviews, organizations can ensure that evaluations are fair and accurate, leading to better outcomes for both employees and the organization as a whole.
Steps that Line Managers can take to avoid Unconscious Bias
Strategies to Mitigate Unconscious Bias in Performance Appraisal
There are several strategies that line managers can use to avoid unconscious bias in performance reviews:
- Use objective criteria: Line managers should use objective criteria such as specific job-related goals, objectives, and KPIs to evaluate employee performance. This can reduce the influence of unconscious bias and provide a more accurate and consistent assessment of employee performance.
- For example, if a line manager is evaluating an employee’s sales performance, they can use metrics such as the number of leads generated, number of deals closed, and revenue generated to provide a more objective assessment of the employee’s performance, rather than relying on subjective opinions or biases.
- Provide specific examples: Line managers should provide specific examples of employee performance to support their evaluations. This can help reduce the influence of unconscious bias and provide a more accurate and objective assessment of employee performance.
- For example, if a line manager is evaluating an employee’s communication skills, they can provide specific examples of instances where the employee demonstrated effective communication, such as successful negotiation with clients, or delivering presentations to stakeholders.
- Train line managers: Organizations can provide training to line managers to help them recognize and avoid unconscious bias in performance reviews. Training can include education on unconscious bias and its impact on performance evaluations, as well as strategies to reduce the impact of bias on performance evaluations.
- For example, organizations can provide line managers with training on how to recognize and reduce the impact of confirmation bias by encouraging them to seek out contradictory evidence and diverse perspectives when evaluating employee performance.
- Encourage feedback: Line managers should encourage feedback from multiple sources, such as peers, colleagues, and customers, to provide a more accurate and comprehensive assessment of employee performance. This can help reduce the impact of unconscious bias and provide a more objective evaluation of employee performance.
- For example, if a line manager is evaluating an employee’s customer service skills, they can seek feedback from customers or colleagues who have interacted with the employee to provide a more comprehensive and objective evaluation of their performance.
By using these strategies, line managers can reduce the impact of unconscious bias in performance reviews and provide a more accurate and objective assessment of employee performance.
Role of Informal Feedback in Performance Appraisal
Informal and continuous feedback can play a significant role in performance appraisal. Here are some ways in which they can impact the performance appraisal process:
- Continuous feedback is important: Regular, ongoing feedback is essential to ensure that employees are aware of their performance and have opportunities to make improvements before annual appraisals.
- Schedule regular 1:1s: Line managers should schedule regular 1:1 meetings with their employees to discuss their performance, goals, and any gaps in performance.
- Identify performance gaps: Regular feedback can help managers identify any performance gaps and take corrective action to keep employees on track to meet their goals.
- Avoid surprises: Regular feedback can help prevent any surprises during annual appraisals and ensure that employees are aware of any issues or areas for improvement.
- Identify development needs: Regular feedback can help managers identify any support or development needs for their employees to help them achieve their goals.
- Reinforce good performance: Regular feedback also provides opportunities for managers to recognize and reinforce good performance, which can motivate employees and improve job satisfaction.
- Keep written records: Line managers should keep written records of their discussions and share them with employees to ensure that they are aware of their progress and any areas for improvement.
By incorporating informal and continuous feedback into the performance appraisal process, organizations can provide more timely and accurate evaluations of employee performance, identify opportunities for development, and create a more engaged and motivated workforce.
Dealing with Poor Employee Performance: A Guide for Line Managers
If an employee is not meeting performance standards, it is essential for their line manager to take appropriate action to address the issue. Here are some steps that can be taken:
- Identify the issue: The line manager should identify the specific areas where the employee is not meeting performance standards. This could involve reviewing their job responsibilities, goals, and objectives.
- Meet with the employee: The line manager should meet with the employee to discuss the performance issues and provide feedback on how their performance can be improved. The meeting should be conducted in a supportive and constructive manner, focusing on specific examples of where the employee is falling short.
- Develop an action plan: The line manager and employee should develop an action plan to address the performance issues. The action plan should include specific goals, timelines, and measurable objectives to help the employee improve their performance.
- Provide support: The line manager should provide the employee with the necessary support to help them achieve their performance goals. This could involve providing additional training, coaching, or mentoring to help the employee improve their skills and knowledge.
- Monitor progress: The line manager should monitor the employee’s progress regularly and provide ongoing feedback and support to help them stay on track. The action plan should be reviewed regularly to ensure that it is still relevant and effective.
- Consider disciplinary action: If the employee’s performance does not improve despite the line manager’s efforts to provide support and guidance, disciplinary action may be necessary. This could involve verbal warnings, written warnings, or ultimately, termination of employment.
In summary, if an employee is not meeting performance standards, it is essential to take action to address the issue. By identifying the issue, developing an action plan, providing support, and monitoring progress, organizations can help employees improve their performance and contribute to the success of the organization.
Example of a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP)
|Improve quality of work
|Provide additional training and resources
|Increase in quality scores by 10%
|Set clear expectations and deadlines
|Completion of assigned tasks on time and increased output
|Schedule regular check-ins and encourage open communication
|Reduction in miscommunication and conflicts
|Address attendance issues
|Establish clear attendance policies and consequences
|Reduction in unexcused absences
|Develop new skills
|Encourage participation in professional development opportunities
|Acquisition of new skills and knowledge
|Meet sales targets
|Provide sales coaching and support
|Increase in sales revenue by 15%
Note: This is just an example and the specific goals, actions, timelines, and success criteria will depend on the individual situation and needs of the employee.