How to Make Performance Management Easy

By Kavita Nigam, General Manager, HR, Publicity, and Promotion, KARAM Industries

Performance Management is a vast term encompassing activities that have an objective to collectively work to enhance the performance of an employee. And the most vital aspect of Performance Management is the evaluation of the work, which an employee is made to perform.

Kavita Nigam, General Manager,
HR, Publicity, and Promotion, KARAM Industries
One of the trickiest requirements of the job profiles of Managers is to regularly review and communicate the Performance of the reportees to them. Yes- it is tricky- because if you have to communicate the good points, it is usually done more willingly, than when you have to convey the shortcomings. The Manager tends to delay the process, trying to look for the “right time” to face the reportee, and even when he does come face to face, is he able to communicate in whole?

A lot of doubts have surfaced over the years, questioning whether or not yearly assessments are the right way to go about, and whether or not the current system of performance management is effective. Some companies have even done away with written systems of performance assessment, and are shifting their focus more towards informal and regular meetings to enhance communication between the Supervisor and his team members.

While the essence of Performance Assessment lies in effective interaction between the assesse and the assessor, there are nevertheless some important aspects that need consideration. These considerations come from putting the larger interest of the Organization in prospective, and not take Performance Assessment as a one off administrative procedure.

And the most important aspect lies in preparedness by the Supervisor. This preparedness is not limited to being ready for the one-to-one at the end of a period, or on conclusion of the task. It involves high levels of clarity of thought on part of the Supervisor, at all stages of execution of the job, or job responsibilities through a period.

The following points can make understand this better:

1.  Begin with chalking out your expectations: Whether it is at the beginning of a new financial year, or the beginning of a new project, it is extremely important for the team members to clearly understand what exactly, according to the Supervisor, is expected out of them. For this, the Supervisor should analyze and be eloquent in benchmarking the output levels- whether they are performance based or whether behavior based. The employees should have a clear understanding of what is work well done. The Manager/ Supervisor should lucidly explain and justify why his demands are such, for which it is extremely important for him to have clear thought-out, specific and achievable goals. Once the expectations are laid, it is easy for the employee and for the Manager to keep a tab on the progress, and work on shortcomings wherever necessary.

2.   Allocate job as per Competency: It goes without saying that if the competency is lacking, performance will be poor. But then, in the interest of your Organization- why wait for poor performance to surface? Define and delegate a job as per the capabilities of the employee. Once the competency is defined, it is then important to move ahead with employee as he goes about his responsibilities, guiding him at intervals so that he proceeds in the right direction.

3.  Understand and provide the necessary support system: This needs to be done at the beginning, and even along the way. Your employee should get the feeling that you are there to help him achieve the necessary targets, rather than just make comments over the execution. The help could be in the form of an additional hand, or perhaps pushing any interdepartmental dependency, or even providing technical support, if required. Your endeavor will find a positive breakthrough in your leadership skills, and ease the way for you to voice critical comments to your employees to better their performance.

4.  Set measurable milestones- it helps in a fair assessment of performance by the employee himself. This perhaps is one of the more complicated needs, because it requires extensive thinking on the part of the Supervisor. But keeping vague milestones like- work half done, or partly done can create confusion in the minds of both the Supervisor and the employee. But specific milestones like- achieving “7 outlined points out of 12” gives a fair sense of direction to the employee and is a good pointer for the Supervisor to make further suggestions for improvement.

In my experience, a Supervisor who has the clarity of thought is constantly looked up for regular guidance. And once the preparedness of the Supervisor is thorough, it goes without saying that any amount of his interaction with the employee or team member will only give fruitful results. Such a Supervisor need not be caught in the administrative system of Performance Assessment. And neither will he ever have to worry about how he can give the unpleasant news to an employee; he makes the best Performance Assessor- at all times!

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