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Three mistakes managers make with performance management

One of the most common misunderstandings about performance management is that it is not the same as performance reviews. Whilst reviews make up a part of the performance management process, they are not the entirety.

Performance management should be focused on monitoring performance on an ongoing basis. This ensures that issues can be resolved before they escalate, and work well done can be praised with time relevancy.

Managers should ensure that these differences are made clear to their teams, for performance management to be a forward-thinking, positive experience.

1. Historically, the annual appraisal is something to be dreaded. Managers should clearly explain the differences between the outdated annual appraisal and the performance management process.

Managers should be aware to share praise and coaching equally – and that criticism has no place in the performance management process. Regular check-ins should be used to guide and coach employees, not to scold or reprimand.

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2. Managers should be aware that the success of performance management relies on their commitment to the process. The entire process will be constructed from regular one-to-one check-ins, documenting progress and coaching and no part of this should be neglected – or else, the ‘regular check-in’ will very quickly find itself transformed into the dreaded ‘yearly check-up’.

3. Managers must be prepared to set attainable goals for their team. Whilst goals were traditionally set from the top, this is increasingly understood to be frustrating for employees; their goals seem unrelated to their specific job roles, and they cannot see how their role impacts the organisation’s overarching objectives.

Instead of goal cascading, managers should be conscious to set objectives from the individual’s perspective, in order to make it relevant and achievable.

Performance management needn’t be a headache – in contrast to traditional appraisal methods, managers need to ensure that employees are at the centre of the performance management process, rather than focusing their goals on the organisation’s.

Whilst their goals should ultimately contribute towards the organisation’s, their personal development and goal journey should be the focus of every performance-related discussion.

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