“You’re on performance management…”

Certain things in life come with a bad stigma. No doubt ‘performance management’ is one of those! When an employee is placed on performance management, it is common for other employees to automatically assume that the affected employee is not performing, and the employer is looking for a way to push them out of the business. However, this is a wrong assumption and should not be tolerated in today’s workplace. HR should not only assist with the performance management process but should also focus on changing the stigma.

What is Performance Management?

When an employee is placed on performance management, it’s the process of helping the employee to channel their efforts towards organisational goals and in return to be a better performer. Having high performers in a business equates to low turnover, happier customers/ clients and increase in staff morale, productivity and revenue. Performance management is the process where a line manager supports its employee to accomplish the strategic objectives of the organisation. Some organisations prefer managing the performance of their employees throughout the year, however others prefer to use the process when needed. Either way, performance management should not be perceived as a tactic used by businesses to move its employees on. Instead it should be an opportunity to address all area of concerns and help employees meet the minimum expectations. This can only be achieved when both parties are accountable to fully participate.                        

What is involved in Performance Management?

Performance management should start with setting effective work (and personal) goals/ objectives for the employee. This is the most crucial stage of the process as it will allow an employee to understand how their work contributes to the overall success of the business. It will be essential to review job-specific competencies to clarify expectations. Once this is achieved and the employee is fully aware of what it takes to be successful, they will be more engaged and inspired to go the extra mile. It is advisable to involve employees in setting their own goals as it will ensure more accountability.

No doubt, there will be areas where the employee will need upskilling. An employer should provide all the support, training and development so that the employee can reach the expectation. Remember a business needs to have the built-in knowledge skills and experience to succeed. This can be done by offering additional training (both internal & external), job shadowing, coaching, mentoring, to name a few. Employees should also take the time to invest in their own development by attending business forums, reading industry journals/blogs and participating in webinars where possible.

For performance management to be effective, regular reviews should be conducted to monitor how the employee is tracking. The line manager should provide ongoing feedback (both formal and informal). If an employee is doing an excellent job, they should be advised on how they are making an impact within the business and how this translates to their profit. It is also important for the employer to recognise and reward the employee for their work. Remember the more we recognise and provide feedback, the more we are investing in future performance.

There will also be times where the line manager will be required to provide constructive feedback if the employee is not at the level that they should be. Regular follow up meetings should be held where the line manager supports through mentoring, guiding and training the employee to succeed. It will be essential for the line manager to clearly explain their concerns regarding the employee’s underperformance and where possible provide strategic improvements to their performance. Unfortunately, there could come a time where despite the efforts of both parties, the employee needs to part ways from the employer due to underperformance. Employers need to ensure that they follow their own disciplinary process to ensure the employee is removed from the business in a lawful way. In addition to that, it is also advisable for an employer to have a solid performance management policy in place outlining how underperformance will be managed and the possible consequences.


This article is prepared to only provide general information about the topic. It is not intended to be used as advice in any way.

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