The principles of performance management
- It translates corporate goals into individual, team, department and divisional goals.
- It helps to clarify corporate goals.
- It is a continuous and evolutionary process, in which performance improves over time.
- It relies on consensus and co-operation rather than control or coercion.
- It creates a shared understanding of what is required to improve performance and how it will be achieved.
- It encourages self-management of individual performance.
- It requires a management style that is open and honest and encourages two-way communication between superiors and subordinates.
- It requires continuous feedback.
- Feedback loops enable the experiences and knowledge gained on the job by individuals to modify corporate objectives.
- It measures and assesses all performance against jointly agreed goals.
- It should apply to all staff.
- It is not primarily concerned with linking performance to financial reward.
The extensive research conducted by the CIPD in 1997 and 2003/4 (Armstrong and Baron8) identified ten maxims from practitioners on how these principles should be applied:
- 'a management tool which helps managers to manage'
- 'driven by corporate purpose and values'
- 'to obtain solutions that work'
- 'only interested in things you can do something about and get a visible improvement'
- 'Focus on changing behaviour rather than paperwork.'
- 'It's about how we manage people - it's not a system.'
- 'Performance management is what managers do: a natural process of management.'
- 'based on accepted principles but operates flexibly'
- 'Focus on development, not pay.'
- 'Success depends on what the organisation is and needs to be in its performance culture.'
- having a simple process which removes unnecessary paperwork
- establishing simple, clear performance plans
- providing managers with a framework for recognising and differentiating colleagues' individual contribution and rewarding them through devolved pay
- ensuring that any issues around performance shortfalls or capability are resolved
- 'Documentation has to be the exception.'
Julie Hill also pointed out that:
Managing performance is about coaching, guiding, appraising, motivating and rewarding colleagues to help unleash potential and improve organisational performance. Where it works well it is built on excellent leadership and high-quality coaching relationships between managers and teams. Through all this our colleagues should be able to answer three straightforward questions:
- What is expected of me? How will I be clear about what is expected of me in terms of both results and behaviour?
- How am I doing? What ongoing coaching and feedback wilt I receive to tell me how I am doing, and how I can improve?
- What does it mean for me? How will my individual contribution, potential and aspirations be recognised and rewarded?