A well-rounded performance management process isn’t only about measuring an employee’s success in the past. It has the potential to be a great tool for helping them develop skills for the future.
There are performance processes that help employees both look backward and plan forward. It’s important for managers to differentiate between the processes that simply evaluate previous performance and others that create pathways for development.
In this article, we give you an overview of the main components of performance management processes to help you define which process best suits your team’s needs.
Two types of performance management systems
The traditional performance management system
When using a system that assesses where an employee has come from, you view performance as static or solely defined by what an employee has done. You’re looking backward, measuring development with existing capabilities in mind, and asking “how well did they do?” The question you’re not asking is “how well could they do?”
The developmental performance management system
A developmental system allows managers to not only review indicators of what employees have accomplished but assess what they might be able to do in the future.
The building blocks of performance management
There are a number of building blocks managers can use to create a performance process architecture. Some measure performance, some help your employee develop further, and using a combination of both helps you gain a holistic view of an employee’s developmental opportunities.
Start building a performance process that works for you
Which performance management process is best for you?
Identifying the building blocks you’ll use is a great first step in building your method. Next, you’ll need to arrange the blocks to create the best possible process for you and your team.
We’ve identified four performance management processes:
Each differs significantly in the steps you take during an evaluation, so below is an example of how the building blocks of feedback, communication, and data collection are applied in a progressive fit.
Manager-requested feedback allows diverse groups of people at multiple points of time to provide feedback on an employee’s performance.
Quarterly check-ins enable knowledge workers to keep their managers up-to-date on their progress despite working in highly matrixed organizations with project-based teams.
Collecting performance-related information and data points over time makes it easier to write evaluations at the end of a period.
Want to find out which of the four processes is best for you and your organization? Download the ebook for additional information on Measurement Fit, Coaching Fit, and Traditional Fit.
Our guiding principles for performance management
Regardless of which process you employ, performance management isn’t something you set and forget. At times you might need to adapt your process to meet the needs of individual employees, or reassess how you conduct evaluations as your company grows.
In any case, here are some guiding principles we encourage managers to keep in mind as they determine what works for them at any given time.
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