Employees within an organisation generally go through training and development programs during the course of their employment. Those who don’t formally do such programs obtain on the job experience, and no doubt receive training from managers.
What is Performance Management?
Quality and competent employees are of great value to an organisation. The more competent the employee, the more chance an organisation will achieve its goals through the employees’ contributions. Performance management is essential in this process. This should be regarded as an ongoing process and not an annual review 
Having asked the question about what performance management actually is, we can now ask what it is not. The video below was included in the notes as a fine example. What issues can you identify and how could they be addressed? (It’s a good laugh!)
Why is Performance Management essential?
Performance management is a critical HR function for the organisation and its employees.
For employees, it is necessary to address to be involved in performance management in order to receive feedback on job performance and ideally to discuss training and development. From an employer’s perspective, it is an opportunity to look at ways of enhancing the employees’ performance through training and development and review the role in line with the organisation’s current strategic objectives.
How My Organisation Handles Performance Management
The notes for the module asked how my organisation handles performance management. Rather than focusing on the employees for this, it raised some very interesting questions around the Board. As the organisation I use for my base study is a not for profit, it caused me to consider how the performance of Board members was reviewed. The answer was that it isn’t. Not only that, but I couldn’t find any research really on the subject. I did find one article “Trigger events and change agents: how non-profit boards improve their governance”  but this was more around how triggers created change as opposed to regular reviews.
I am interested to follow this through because training and development are often critical to people on Boards and Committees and without some sort of review, opportunities will not be identified.
Evolution of Performance Management
In the past, organisations have effectively applied a generic approach to performance management. This is not practical any longer. Work performed by a person in one department can be totally different to the work performed by a similarly qualified person in another department. As a result, performance reviews need to be based on individual roles in order to be effective.
Traditionally, there have been two types of Reviews. These are the Temporal reviews where an employee’s current performance is evaluated compared to the past. The Social Review on the other hand compares employees to other employees. Organisations are apparently moving away from the generic and social review to the temporal review because it is more individual and personalised as a performance management method.
Several methods of performance review were considered including Peer Review, Self Review, Upward Review and the 360 Degree Review. They may all have their place in different circumstances. The most important aspect of reviews is to be aware of the potential for bias and seek to remove it at every opportunity.
Unsatisfactory Performance and Discipline
Finally, the module looks at these two issues. The most responsible, important and ethical consideration here is to first look for the causes behind the issues. There are many reasons why people may not be performing and if these are known, both the organisation and the individual can work towards a resolution. Shame can be a major factor in employees not confiding issues with their superiors.
In addition, this is not something that can wait for the annual review. Unsatisfactory performance needs to be addressed immediately it is noted so that issues can be resolved. There is no benefit to the organisation or the employee in pretending issues don’t exist.
If it gets to the point where dismissal becomes the only apparent option, then it is essential that the organisation complies with all the legislation.
Performance reviews are an essential part of the management of people. They provide opportunities for conversations around performance, both good and needing improvement. Poor performance should have been addressed immediately it was noted as mentioned above. The performance review is also a great opportunity to discuss training and development initiatives with employees. This provides the employee with professional goals and direction.
The issue of NFP Boards and Performance Reviews that has come up as a result of doing this module will be worthwhile exploring. If any readers have any information in this regard, I would love to know more.
- (Nankervis et al. 2020)
- Gazley, B., and Kissman, K. (2022). Trigger events and change agents: how non-profit boards improve their governance. Voluntary Sector Review (published online ahead of print 2022), available from: < https://doi.org/10.1332/204080521X16412375170218> Accessed 02 June 2022