Performance management has been defined as the methodical procedure through which management integrates its staff, as individuals and members of a group, in improving organizational effectiveness in realization of organizational goals and missions. It is apparent that for performance management to be achieved there must a healthy connection between the management and employees as the process involves two key players (staff and management). The relationship between the staff and the management might be sometimes fragile, negatively affecting performance management process. Fragile relationship might hamper the transmission of feedback to the management from employees. The manager/supervisor has a responsibility to take part in the performance management process. The supervisor should be proficient in incessantly delivering performance and results in order to attain the best conceivable performance from the individuals and teams he/she manages. Effective performance management allows the staff and teams to comprehend the organizational goals and to understand how individual and team outputs contribute to the achievement of these goals in line with the values of the organization. It is the responsibility of the manager to convey organizational goals to the staff and teams. This role can only be accomplished if there is a stable relationship between the staff and the management. Performance management also involves the punishment of the staff who might fail to contribute positively to the achievement of organizational goals. This implies that the management's responsibility reaches a limit when the output of a team or an individual does not satisfy the required minimum performance standard. In management of performance, the staff’s output regulates when corrective and grievance processes might be invoked. In this regard, this paper discusses improvement of team performance by focusing on the performance management process and its evaluation, and the management of poor performance.
Performance Management Process and Evaluation of Performance
Performance management refers to the process through which supervisors, those being led, gain a common comprehension of work expectation and goals; exchange performance feedback; identify learning and development opportunities; and assess performance outcomes. According to Cardy and Leonard, through the performance management process organizations are capable of developing and sustaining a workplace environment that values constant improvement; adapts well to organizational changes; strives to achieve ambitious goals; fosters creativity; promotes learning and career development; engages and rewards employees.
Importance of Performance Management
In the modern times, the organization must be bothered with performance management. It is important because it has various benefits to both employees and the organization at large. The importance of performance management might be categorized as a monitoring tool and a development tool for the organization and employees. As a monitoring tool, performance management enables the manager to oversee the performance of every employee. As a development tool, performance management enables the manager to drive the organization towards the achievement of its goals and missions.
The first importance of performance management in relation to monitoring is that it equips both the staff and the management with feedback concerning performance. The manager can use the feedback from the employees to monitor the performance of respective teams and employees. Consequently, the manager can attend to respective needs of every team or individual in the organization from their feedback. In performance management, feedback can only be linked to a specific employee or a team, which enables the manager to practice a one-to-one monitoring. Constant feedback enables improved communication in the workplace. Because of the one-to-one approach, the manager can identify strengths and limitations of each staff member and, thereby, address them at individual level rather through generalization, which might not be effective. According to Gruman and Saks, it also presents opportunities for employees to forward their grievances and exchange their views with the management.
Development Tool for the Organization
The first importance of performance management, in terms of the development tool for the organization, is that it assists the organization in working towards common goals. Frequently, employees get so involved in their daily work routine that they forget about the organizational purpose. According to Kompaso and Sridevi, employee’s staff organization is the driver of organizational performance. It is significant to make sure that the staff comprehend this agency’s goals and vision, how their work fits into the organization and how they contribute to the accomplishment of the organization. Doing this improves team and individual engagement.
The second importance of performance management is that is provides a clear comprehension of job expectation. Kompaso and Sridevi pointed out that when the staff and managers have a clear comprehension of their job responsibilities, any opacity is eradicated. According to Cardy and Leonard, performance management empowers the staff to think about and clarify their role in the organization. The establishment of clear expectations and goals assists in achieving this. Staff performance plans must carter for credible and balanced measures. For performance expectation to be credible, it must be based on a job analysis: particular, clear, and comprehensible; logical and achievable; observable, measurable, or verifiable; and conveyed in a time manner.
Performance Management Process
For the performance management process to be effective and efficient, the manager should master the performance management process and apply it consistently. Most organizations assess whether, and to what extent, managers have particular abilities. One of such abilities is to comprehend the performance management process and practices. According to Gruman and Saks, the supervisor with this ability will be capable of better focusing the efforts of the employees on attaining individual and organizational goals. Gruman and Saks pointed out that performance management process consists of five crucial steps: planning, monitoring, developing, rating, and rewarding good performance.
In the first stage, planning, the manager meets with the staff and teams in order to develop their performance plans. This meeting involves the establishment of measurable goals that align with the organization’s operational and strategic plans. In addition, the manager has a role to play in that he/she consults with the staff members and teams when developing these goals. Folan and Browne argued that during the planning phase, the supervisor has an opportunity of explaining to staff members and teams how their performance directly shapes the organization.
During the second stage, monitoring, the manager monitors staff’s and team’s progress, not only when there is a progress review due, but also continuously throughout the appraisal period. According to Cardy and Leonard, monitoring offers the manager an opportunity to make corrections or modify deadlines, if they are needed, in order to enable staffs and teams to produce the desired results of successfully attaining the organizational goals. In addition, monitoring also provides the opportunity for the manager to make staffs and teams knowledgeable about the progress. Should the manager determine that the staff has an unacceptable performance on any critical element, monitoring enables the manager to detect problems early enough and get an opportunity in place before the rating of record is due.
During the third stage, developing, the manager should be capable of determining whether staffs and teams require additional development from the continuous monitoring in order to attain their assigned duties. According to Cardy and Leonard, it is imperative to recognize that staff development comprises of not only remediation but also improvement of good performance. The various forms of development include formal training, informal training, mentoring, coaching, and new work assignments.
During the fourth step, rating, the manager uses the knowledge acquired from monitoring teams and staffs’ performance during the appraisal period. This will enable the manager to compare performance with employee’s elements and standards, assign a rating score. Cardy and Leonard argued that the final rating score should be surprising to the staffs and teams, especially when the manager and the staffs have had several performance discussions during the rating period.
During the fifth and the last phase, rewarding, the manager makes meaningful differentiations when granting awards. According to Cardy and Leonard, awards should be clearly different for various performance levels, which are fully successful or above.
Managing Performance and Poor Performance
A poorly structured performance management process might have some negative impacts on the organization. Folan and Browne argued that if individual goals of staff members are not aligned with the organizational goals, then resources and time might be wasted. The low levels of staff engagement might imply that staffs are not performing optimally. Inconsistent performance appraisal criteria and rewards can result in mistrust, higher attrition, and low productivity. Studies indicated that the morale of top performance could decline if they do not experience variation in performance ratings. However, the manager can use the following strategies to improve performance: capability and performance, and support through coaching and mentoring.
With regard to capability, different members of the staff have different capabilities. This implies that not all staff members and groups can perform equally. The supervisor has the responsibility to coordinate the varying capabilities in order to realize higher performance that can result in the realization of organizational goals. Through performance appraisal and feedback, the supervisor can determine the varying capabilities of every staff number. This will enable the supervisor to assign tasks to capable individuals that guarantee high performance. For instance, a highly capable individual with technical skills can be assigned technical responsibilities to minimize the rate of failure. Assigning a complex task to a less capable staff member is likely to result in failure to accomplish the task, which might ultimately hamper with achievement of the general organizational objectives.
The second strategy that can assist in managing and sustaining performance is coaching. During the monitoring phase of the performance management process, the supervisor can detect staff members who have the capability but are not reaching their full potential. Cardy and Leonard defined coaching as a support activity by the supervisor that enables the employees to reach their maximum possible potential. Through coaching, staffs can explore their motivation and assist in discovering gaps in their willpower that holds them back.
The third strategy is mentoring, which refers to the act of assigning a trusted counselor or a tutor to coach another individual. In performance management, mentoring is an employee development strategy. It is frequently based on the relationship between the mentor (manager) and the mentee (staff). Through the relationship, the manager can improve employees’ job satisfaction, build employees’ confidence and self-esteem, and offer regular constructive feedback.
ACAS 5 Point Disciplinary Action
The first stage in disciplinary process is investigation. The manager carries out the prerequisite investigations in order to institute facts immediately. According to ACAS, the manager might collect a proof or might hold an investigatory meeting with the staff member before continuing with any disciplinary action.
The second phase is suspension. In the event that suspension is deemed imperative, it should remain as short as possible and it has to be utilized as a means of disciplinary sanction. Suspension has to be full paid as long as it does not contradict the employment contract.
The third stage is the disciplinary stage. After the suspension phase, the manager must present a written notification informing about disciplinary hearing. The notification must address the date of hearing and provide adequate details of the poor performance or alleged misconduct.
The fourth stage is the appeal stage. This stage allows the staff to appeal where they feel the disciplinary action is unfair. Appeals by the employee must be addressed immediately. According to ACAS, supervisors or managers who had no previous involvement in the case must hear the appeals. The last stage is correction of earlier unfairness in the event that the staff member appealed.
This paper has discussed how to improve team performance by focusing on the performance management process and its evaluation, and the management of poor performance. Performance management is important as it provides feedback to the manager; it offers a clear understanding of job expectation; and assists the organization in working towards a common goal. The performance management process involves planning, monitoring, development of performance tools, rating of staff, and rewarding good performance. Some of the strategies that managers can use to improve performance include capability, performance, and support through coaching and mentoring. The ACAS 5-point disciplinary process is important in addressing misconducts at the workplace.