According to Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service), one in ten employers believe their performance management processes were demotivating their employees.
When an employee receives praise, feedback and constructive criticism, they are likely to be more motivated about their work.
This is especially the case when they feel that their managers are helping them in the pursuit of their individual objectives and taking active steps to support their training and career progression goals.
However, when handled incorrectly, it can negatively affect employees’ engagement and motivation.
Where are employers going wrong?
Often managers fall into the dangerous trap of thinking that performance management starts and stops with an annual review, but a successful performance management strategy involves many more layers.
What are the key ingredients to successful performance management?
Successful Performance Management
By defining key competencies, duties and responsibilities, the job description provides a great platform by which performance can be measured and monitored.
For new employees, it is common to have a probationary period.
If you notice performance issues during the probationary period, do not leave it until the last minute to start addressing the problems. Holding mid-probation reviews and regular feedback sessions to explain to the employee in what ways they are progressing well and what areas they need to work on ensures that everyone knows where they stand. If they are struggling, you should offer them all the necessary support and guidance to get their performance to the required standard.
For each employee, you need to consider what objectives you want the employee to meet and how they align to your organisation’s goals. Use the SMART acronym to ensure they are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely. You also need to agree with the employee how they will accomplish their objectives.
Carrying out performance appraisals should not be considered a chore. It should provide real value to both your organisation and your employees. For example, if your organisation is trying to increase customer satisfaction by 20% over the next 12 months, you may set your receptionist the objective of answering all clients’ calls within three rings and answering emails within four hours. By carrying out one to one meeting on a monthly or quarterly basis, you should keep monitoring this to ensure that they are on target and offer them support when they need it. This should be accompanied by formal reviews which you may decide to undertake once or twice a year.
In order to ensure consistency of approach across the organisation, all your managers should receive training on performance management. They should know how to identify poor performance, carry out appraisals, set objectives, develop a Performance Improvement plan, keep effective records and understand the process to dismiss. Using the support of a HR specialist will ensure that you are on the right side of the law when managing the performance of your team.
Leadership & Management
Equip your newly promoted managers to tackle performance issues with our leadership & management course. The course will look at effecitve communication, managing performance, discipline and grievance and much more.
Handling the performance of disabled employees
Acas’ research also uncovers that only one in four employers have adjusted their performance management process to take in account the requirements of those with disabilities and special needs and conditions such as autism and dyslexia.
Acas advise three tips for employers:
- Avoid surprises – address performance issues as they arise rather than leave it to the end of year performance meeting;
- Avoid favouritism – use objective criteria to measure performance; and
- Avoid discrimination – if an employee has a disability and they are disadvantaged by performance measures, the employer needs to make reasonable adjustments.
Under the Equality Act 2010, employers must make “reasonable adjustments” to make sure disabled workers are not seriously disadvantaged when fulfilling their role. For example, if they are struggling to get all their tasks completed because of or for a reason connected to their disability, you can look at their workload and make a reasonable adjustment.
To discuss performance management, especially for those who may suffer from a disability, we would strongly urge to contact your Employment Law Adviser before taking any action.