Understanding Performance Management
It is important to understand that when organizations set some organizational goals and objectives, then they have to manage their individuals as well as teams so that desired performance is achieved, and this whole process is called performance management. It is crucial for organizations to manage their employees and resources efficiently to achieve a great performance, which sets the successful path for them. Being a supervisor for the science department of a teaching institute, in this assignment, I will entail some important performance management concepts with real-world examples to understand the topic and its objectives.
Understand The Value of Assessing Performance to Meet Organizational and Individual Needs
It is crucial for any organization that they assess their performance on a constant basis as it can help them to keep a check on their current performance to meet their real goals and objectives.
The Value of Formal And Informal Performance Assessment in the Workplace
Both formal and informal performance assessment at any given workplace is crucial for the success factors of an organization. When the formal assessment is made on regular basis with regular intervals, it allows an organization to assess the performance of each individual. Moreover, the human resources also know about their performance through assessment and can provide valuable feedback. The performance of individuals can improve with formal assessment like in a teaching institute workplace, when teachers will know that they are being assessed by management that how they are teaching students, and what pattern they are following, then teachers will remain more conscious, and try to work as better as possible, because they know that they are being assessed. Moreover, informal assessment is also important as it allows gauging performance of others, and one can get informal feedback and insights about any workplace issues to identify any needs for some changes or training for the resources. For instance, if supervisors of department allow teachers to get in touch for any feedback to discuss issues, then it will allow management to see that what issues are there which are haunting the performance of teachers. It is important to do so because if teachers will not perform well, then it will have bad effects on the performance of students as well.
At least once a year, the formal performance assessment in the workplace should occur so that the employee and the line manager would be given the opportunity to be agreed formally on objectives and goals for the future along with the training desires and requirements. By promoting as well as having the open communication in the workplace will allow the employee any kind of concern verbally that they are having about their line manager; this is an advantage of informal performance assessment. Awarding praises and allowing the real-time feedback can also be helpful.
The Role of the First Line Manager in Performance Management
In any organization, first line manager is the one, who is responsible for operating and managing his/her department. There are several things which are handled by the first line manager like assigning different tasks, monitoring work quality, handling work flow, handling employees & their performance, and work as a source between management and employees to resolve issues, and create a better workplace environment. It means that the first line manager is the one, who supervises things in his assigned department. As mentioned earlier that I am the supervisor of the science department of a teaching institute, which means that I will be considered the first line manager for the science department. It would be my responsibility to keep track of things, and handling all relevant tasks of the science department. Being a supervisor, it is important to ensure that the set objectives of the organization are met with desired outcomes. If I see that department is facing any issue, which is affecting performance, then it would be my responsibility to deal with the issue and develop an environment, where performance and productivity can be enhanced for the whole department.
To Ensure Fair and Objective Formal Assessment
The fair and objective formal assessment is necessary for so many ways. If thing are not going well or line manager wants to see the overall performance, then a fair way should be selected to start assessing the performance of subordinates. The first way to do so giving subordinates an opportunity to have an open discussion, where they can discuss issues, share ideas and feedback without any pressure and two-way communications are encouraged as well. The employees should be asked to discuss the areas where the improvement is needed and where they believe that a training would be helpful for their performance. Line manager should avoid the judgements based on the hearsay’s gossip and the assessments should be based only and only on the facts. The second way of conducting a fair assessment is to make sure that employee is informed earlier and given details about the assessment, and its criteria so that he/she knows that what is going to be assessed and how. For the objective and fair formal performance assessment, it is important that an adequate amount of notice should be given to the employees leading up to a meeting. The assessment place should be in the private area away from interruptions and distractions. The line manager should expect the emotional response of the employees to negative issues but it should be ended on the positive theme, for that, factual data based planning is paramount.
For the benefits of the growing business, the manager needs to effectively focus on the goals that should be carefully managed. In order to ensure the success, the manager needs to focus or implement the effective performance measurement systems so that through keeping track on the strategies for growth benefits and growth can be obtained. Thus, managers can focus on the key performance indicators (KPIs); as the effective performance measurement systems so that there could be better performance through setting targets and through the growth process. With the help of KPIs; which is the good measurement system; managers could keep track on the company and stakeholders performance and there could be valuable information about the issues and performance and the steps need to be taken. In this way, managers can focus on effective performance proactively.
Set SMART Objectives For a Team Member
It is very necessary for a company as well as the manager to set a SMART goal for the employees so that they could effectively obtain the tasks, in the SMART system it is analyzed that there should be setting of goals so that company could attain all the possible goals. It is known that SMART goals are “specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-related or time-bound”
In the case of the Specific, there can be a more specific goal; as the employee could be told to increase the company traffic to an online store by the 40% in 2 months. However, in this way, more clear goals is given to the employees and there are the chances of success. Action plans can be made effectively on it to “improve web traffic.” Measurable is concerned as the employee’s goals that are given to the employee and it may be broken down into smaller parts so that employees stay on track and recognize the goal “milestones” as in the case of “improve web traffic” there can be issues of the competitive websites.
The third is Attainable, in it the employee analyzed that whether the goal is even possible to achieve or not, there can also be some crucial to the process because here employee can focus on thinking big that if the working toward goals is attainable or it is an unattainable goal. In the case of “improve web traffic” example, the employee can think that goals are attainable as there is a need to attract more customers. The goals are Relevant; it is the fourth step as there is a need to focus that component is important as in case of “improve web traffic” there can be linking of employee goals.
Every goal is Time-related and also have a deadline. In the case of “improve web traffic” employee can be given the time of the 2-3 month and there can be review cycles under some specific time frame.
Set Performance Standards For a Team Member
If the goal is to see that how a team member is performing at a given workplace, it is crucial for the line manager to set the performance standards first, which can be measurable and realistic in nature. A line manager sets the performance standard that “employees are responsible to deliver results”. Such a performance standard is not specific and cannot be measured as it has not explained any narrow down measures aligned with the task. It is true that employees will be responsible for giving results, but it should be more specific that what kind of results, and how much time they will need to deliver those specific results. Following are a few examples to set performance standards:
- If as a supervisor of the science department, I ask the lab supervisor to hold four labs for different classes each day. Then performance standard has been set to conduct four labs daily, but it is not possible for the lab supervisor to control the time of any lab experiments. There may be a lab experiment, which may take longer time than expected, which would end up three labs in a day, then it is not the fault at team member’s end. I need to set the performance standard, which is measurable and specific, but they should be achievable and realistic as well.
- Creating the scorecard of monthly performance of the employees
- Setting the job task for each employee to assess its development
- Analyzing the historical data of the employee for announcing rewards
To Measure Performance Against Agreed Standards
Once the performance standards are set, then evaluation of performance will be based on those set standards. It is always a possibility that there may be some deviation from actual set standards, but that deviation should not be significant in nature. The variation against set standard should be minimum as possible otherwise it would put several question marks on the performance. If things are too deviated, then they seriously need attention because when the deviation is too much, then certainly there are some issues in the processes. Key performance indicators (KPI) are the good measure of measuring the performance of a team member against the set standards. For instance, if I ask the teacher to conduct at least 4 short Q&A sessions for their relevant class in a week, then it would be set as a KPI, and teacher’s performance will be measured on this agreed standard. If he is able to conduct 3 Q&A sessions each week, then performance is satisfactory, but if each week the Q&A sessions are one or two, then there is something wrong as variation in performance is too much as per set standards.
For example, for the individual like marketing manager, the goal is to increase the customer traffic. But at the level of organization, the goal, most of the times is, to decrease the customer’s acquisition cost and increase customer’s otherwise acquisition. Similarly, for some specific department like Finance, the goal is to minimize the cost and maximize the profit. Hence, KPI ensures that each and every goal is achieved. KPI can be measure by measuring the gross profit, gross profit margin, operating profit, net profit, operating profit margin etc.
Value of Feedback in The Workplace
If a line manager is looking to meet objectives and improve performance in this regard, then it is critical to give some importance to feedback as feedback can be beneficial in so many ways. There can be a situation, where a team member may be making a minor mistake, which is affecting his/her performance. Then a proper feedback can be a great tool to make an individual realize that he is making a certain mistake, and if he will avoid such a mistake, it will drastically improve his performance. It is a fact that feedback is often attributed to criticism, but feedback can be considered a constructive criticism. If a team member is making wrong decisions, and if he can get guidance and feedback from supervisor to make appropriate decisions, it will not only improve his performance, but it will have the long-lasting impact on the performance of the organization. Feedback not only helps to make better decisions, but it also helps to motivate others to do well. If feedback is given with some assistance to perform better, then it will motivate the person to take it positively and follow specific actions to improve his performance.
There can be various occasions, where a team or team member make mistake or stuck in a task. In such situation, if performance is assessed and feedback is given to the person regarding the mistake, he can stop making that mistake through positive feedback and will improve his/her performance by doing it in right manner. The effective feedback has four main elements. The first element is called behavior. The supervisor should give feedback by telling the person that what behavior has been observed. Then the person should be explained what outcome is happening due to that behavior as Outcome is the second element. Next element is to explain the consequences, which are coming with that observed behavior so that person knows about the severe issues happening. And the last element is very important, which is called the action. It means that supervisor should identify the mistake, and then explain the person who is making mistake that how he should change the work pattern or make behavior changes so that work is done accordingly, which results in improvement in performance.
If the conversation is not straightforward between the employee and line manager. The line manager, many times, has to tackle the uncomfortable situation and the employee might be difficult to deliver the feedback. With this process, the BOCA model is helpful that is abbreviated to Behavior, Outcome, Consequence, and Action. BOCA model requires plan, practice, and learn to be used.
Manage Under Performance in The Workplace
Following are some potential areas of under performance in the workplace:
- Where the supervisor is lazy about work quality, slack time, and meeting deadlines.
- Work practices, rules, and procedures are not clear or strictly imposed.
- Deadlines are not defined.
Causes For Failure To Meet Agreed To Performance Levels
It is important for any line manager to understand that what the reasons behind their teams’ failure are. There must be some causes for failure. One of the causes is unclear goals and objectives. If you don’t know what to do exactly, then the outcome will always be a failure. Lack of confidence and capability can also be a cause of failure, because if team member doesn’t have required skills and confidence to complete a certain task, then failure is an obvious thing. If a person is not personally motivated, then it can be another reason for his failure. The understanding of things, processes and tasks is the crucial thing to meet performance level. If there is a misunderstanding among st team member that what to do, then it is hard to meet objectives, and failure would be the result. These are some of the causes for failure to meet set performance levels.
Under performance is one of the common issues at the workplace because there can be several potential areas, where employees may under perform due to various reasons. Leadership is an important area in this regard. If leadership is weak and subordinates are not able to get proper direction from their leadership, then it is most likely that they will perform poorly. The conflict is another area of concern in terms of under performance. If team members are stuck in some kind of conflict, then they will not work together to meet collective objectives, which means that overall performance will be affected, and the team will under perform. The line manager should keep these areas of concern in mind to minimize under performance.
Restore Performance To Acceptable Levels
If a team is under performing, and things are not looking good for the future of an organization, then it is necessary to take some actions to restore performance, which can meet acceptable performance levels. One-off action to restore performance is giving required job skills training along with mentoring support. Moreover, it is always good to change responsibilities, if a person is under performing in one department, then he should be shifted to any other department with other relevant task. The changing of roles can also be an instrumental thing in restoring performance. The most viable action is to hold problem-solving meetings to find a relevant solution. The serious actions to restore performance could be informal warnings, counselling and formal warnings etc.