A plan is only as good as the paper it is written on, until it is implemented. Getting the right staff is the very first step but making sure that the right staff are doing the right things and doing them effectively and efficiently is another important task. Peter Drucker said that ‘Plans are only good intentions until they deteriorate into hard work’
Managing staff is one of the areas where entrepreneurs and smaller businesses seem to have challenges. Many supervisors know how to supervise tasks and jobs but they do not know how to manage performance. Walk into some organizations during appraisal time and you can cut the atmosphere with a knife, it is that tense. In some cases the appraisees are on tenterhooks and in as many cases, both appraisers and appraisees are afraid to face each other. This usually stems from the fact that the organisation has a goal setting process and an appraisal process but the two are not connected via a performance management process.
In some other organizations appraisal time creates no tension for appraisers and appraisees, both parties are pleased with each other but the corporate goals and objectives are not being achieved. This again is caused by the absence of a performance management process that is tied to the corporate goals and objectives.
In organization’s where a performance management process does not exist and where appraisal breeds tension, the tendency is to let appraisals slip. Where they still take place, nobody takes it serious and nothing is done with the results, it becomes a dreaded annual ritual with no meaning or value. In the other organizations where no tension exists, it is already a meaningless ritual, that will eventually become a tradition that no one questions.
Clement Ashley Consulting’s Solution
Clement Ashley Consulting recommends a performance management process and system that aligns strategic goals to individual goals and appraisals. It will not be a perfect ‘line of sight’, but the relationship between the strategic objectives for which the staff member is partly or wholly responsible, and his personal goals for the period will be articulated and factored in.
This can be done in the following five steps;
- Strategic Planning – In the first step the strategic plan will be developed and documented in a facilitated retreat
- Strategic Mapping – In this step the organisation will identify the cause and effect linkages between the goals it wants to achieve and the actions it must take.
- Performance control systems design– Having mapped the goals to the action steps or initiatives, these initiatives should be assigned to owners (staff members). Measures of success for achievement of those goals as well as targets, triggers, milestones, deadlines and review frequency should be developed for subsequent monitoring and control.
- Performance Monitoring – According to the review frequency for each initiative, monitoring should take place with an emphasis on taking corrective action where triggers have been pulled or where targets, milestones and deadlines are behind.
- Evaluation and Appraisal – At the designated cut-off period a formal evaluation and appraisal should then be carried out. Having completed the four earlier steps, nothing should come as a surprise to the appraiser or appraisee.
Using this approach your focus is on corporate goals and objectives, providing the best possible environment for achieving them.
Using this approach you will not get side tracked by everyday routines and lend up losing focus of strategic initiatives at goal setting, at implementation or at appraisal.
Using this approach you are able to manage the perception of the process as one geared towards performance improvement as opposed to ‘score giving’ or ‘score settling’.
Using this approach you are able to energize staff who are daily in tune with corporate goals, that are aligned with their own individual goals. These kind of staff do not need external motivation to make them put in their best and the ‘end of period appraisal’ is one they can now look forward to with enthusiasm.
Implementing a performance management system and process for staff is one that avoids corporate surprises as well as individual staff surprises. The performance results at corporate and individual staff level will be closer to the plan.
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