Performance Management for Managers: creating and maintaining a winning team | Tani Amarasinghe | Skillshare

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Performance Management for Managers: creating and maintaining a winning team

teacher avatar Tani Amarasinghe, Leadership Skills for the 21st Century

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
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Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (58m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. The Role of the Manager

    • 3. The Objective Setting Process

    • 4. Preparing for the Performance Review

    • 5. The Performance Improvement Process

    • 6. Conclusion

    • 7. The Class Project

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About This Class

Creating and maintaining a winning team that successfully delivers upon organisational objectives is the key measure of success for a manager. In your role as a manager, you have to understand the future direction of the organisation and its strategic objectives, translate and cascade these into action plans and measurable goals for your team to deliver upon. You are also required to track and monitor the performance of your team, and to take action when things are not going according to plan.

This class is for all levels, and no prior experience, software or special equipment is required. It is for:

  • Managers of people
  • Aspiring managers of people
  • Human Resource Managers

In this course, you will learn:

  • How to translate and cascade organisational strategy and objectives to your team
  • How to use tools such as GAP analysis and SWOT
  • How to set SMART goals and objectives
  • How to conduct constructive performance reviews with your team
  • How to monitor and evaluate your team’s performance
  • How to conduct a performance improvement process
  • How to get the most out of your team

By the end of the course, you will:

  • Better understand what your role as a manager is
  • Ensure that your team is able to create value for your organisation
  • Know how to create a high performing and productive team which is valued in the organisation
  • Know how to set SMART team objectives
  • Know how to prepare and conduct engaging and constructive performance reviews with your team
  • Know how to manage poor or inadequate performance
  • Feel more empowered and become a more effective manager

Meet Your Teacher

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Tani Amarasinghe

Leadership Skills for the 21st Century


Hello, I'm Tani.

I am the founder and CEO of Human Capital Matters, an end-to-end HR Consultancy focusing on Leadership and Management development, Executive Coaching and Training. I have over 20 years of experience in the field of human resources with a career spanning multiple industries including mining, exploration, online marketing and financial services, and in countries across multiple continents. I hold a Bachelor of Arts, Honours Social Science and Master’s in Commerce (Industrial Relations – Cum Laude) Degrees from the then University of Natal in Durban, South Africa. I also hold a Post Graduate Diploma in Personnel Management. I also completed a management development programme through the Insead in ... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Because of my background in both human resources and psychology, my friends often ask me, typically over a glass of wine or three, the nature versus nurture question. A great managers and leaders born or made. Can someone be taught how to manage or are they born with certain quantities, personalities and unique talents? In my 25 or so years of human resources experience, I have come to believe that managers are not born, but made the fact that there are so many books and courses on management out there lens to that theory as well. Wouldn't you agree? Management is a skill that follows a consistent, teachable framework, but takes hard work and preparation to do it well. Management skills are not skills that you are born with, but things that you can cultivate and teach yourself. Similarly, performance management is a process that is also following a consistent teachable framework. Once you know what that framework is and you learn what goes into that process, you will be able to better manage your employees performance as you employee's performance is rather critical to your success as a manager. Many years ago, as I was starting my management journey, I asked my manager who to this day is still one of the best managers I have ever worked with. How she got to be so good at this and how I could ever be as good a manager as she was. Her answer to me. Know what you must do, know why you have to do it, give the same clarity to your employees, and then be there to support, guide and correct course if necessary. Welcome to this course on performance management for managers, creating and maintaining a winning team. Performance management is the process of continuous communication and feedback between a manager and an employee in order to achieve the organization's strategic objectives. No matter the size of your organization, it is important to know what your employees are doing, how they're doing it, and why they are doing it. Effective performance management entails looking at the organization as a whole, understanding where your team fits in the organization's value chain, and setting objectives for your team that are aligned to those of the organization. In order to create and maintain a winning team, you have to ensure that your team is a high performing and relevant one and that they are creating value for your organization. This course looks at how you can do this through the performance management process. This course is for managers of people, aspiring managers of people, and HR managers who partner with their clients in the performance management process. Performance management is part of the greater talent management process. It should not be seen as an event that is limited to periodic reviews. It is a continuous process of improving performance that starts with the setting, aligning, and cascading of the company's strategic objectives to team and individual objectives. It involves providing clarity to employees as to what they have to do and why what they do impacts the company. Performance is continually monitored and evaluated so as to allow for tactical adjustments to ensure alignment and delivery against company objectives. The performance management process allows for development of knowledge, skills, and abilities of employees, as well as boosting morale and increasing employee engagement by creating a common sense of purpose. The manager's role is critical in the performance management process. And it starts with the employee's first day on the job. And effective manager will ensure that the employees job description is an accurate reflection of the role the employee is expected to play. He or she will provide the tools necessary for the employee to perform the functions of the job and will give clarity as to what is expected of the employee. The manager will continually review and assess progress so as to ensure that maximum value is created for the organization. In this course, we will look at the role of the manager and the three elements of effective performance. The objective setting exercise, where we will look at how to cascade and align objectives, conduct both gap and swot analysis, as well as set smart objectives. We will look at the performance review process, where we will look at the preparation and planning required for this. And finally, the performance improvement process, where we will look at the setting of performance improvement plans. By the end of this course, you will know what your role as a manager is. You will know how to create value for your organization and know how to create a high-performing and productive team which is valued in the organization. You will know how to set smart objectives and how to prepare for performance reviews. You will know how to manage poor or inadequate performance. And by doing so, you will feel more empowered. My name is Tony and I have over 25 years of experience in the field of human resources. I have been a human resources business partner, a head of human resources and human resources director in corporate spanning multiple continents and industries. From mining to retail, from financial services to online marketing, to name, but a few. And I'm now a business owner. But you can find out more details about me and my company on my webpage or on LinkedIn. A few years ago, I founded Human Capital Matters, a specialist end to end human resources consultancy based on my belief that people are fundamental to the success of a business. But that is just one side of the story. I was born in Sri Lanka, brought up in Zambia and now call South Africa home. I have lived and worked in many African countries as well as in Europe and the United Kingdom. I have worked with people from many different countries, cultures and backgrounds. I am a wife and a mother and have juggled these roles with that of a full-time HR leader and now a business owner. My initiation into the field of human resources was in the South African mining industry at a time where there were very few people of color and female people of color in roles of authority and leadership. I had to learn very quickly how to work with and influence people who looked at me and thought that I looked and sounded very different from their view of someone whom they should be taking instruction from. I learned that if I wanted people to take instruction from me, what I said had to make business sense. In order to make business sense, I needed to really understand the organization's value chain and my place in it. As an HR person, it wasn't enough that I understood human resources. In order to be truly effective. I had to understand the business and ensure that the people strategy was at all times aligned to the business strategy. I am passionate about human resources and passionate about enabling people to be the best that they can be. And so on them with the information that they need to enhance the skills that they have. Enough about me. Enjoy the course and please do reach out to me. Should you have any questions? 2. The Role of the Manager: You, the manager, play three critical roles in the performance management process. Everything else that you do as a manager in some way or form will fit under these areas. The performance management process for a manager begins with the aligning and cascading of organizational objectives down to yourself and your team. It is your job to locate your function within the organization and cascade the objectives down to the level that you operate in. You are then responsible for the alignment and management of people, processes, and resources in achieving the strategic objectives that you have identified. Your third critical role is in monitoring and evaluating. Not everything goes according to plan. Think of yourself as a puppet master, pulling the strings for people, processes, and resources. Sometimes a string might snap or get tangled up. Or perhaps a puppet needs to be replaced because of wear and tear. Or it's simply wasn't the right puppet in the first place. The main reason for the performance management process is to allow you, the manager, to make the tactical adjustments and changes needed to ensure that the strategic objectives are being met. Look at the steps required in putting the objectives of your team in place. Your starting point will be the company's overall strategic plan. This plan will give the company's mission, vision, as well as the strategic objectives and key initiatives for each department that falls in the organizational structure. The plan will determine what the organization's needs are in order to deliver on those objectives. And we'll need those objectives to cascade all the way down to the lowest level of the organization. You will need to locate where your team falls in the structure and identify the objectives that will allow you to align yourself to the organization. Once you have identified your team's objectives. For each objective, you would do a gap analysis. I'll explain what that is in a bit. This is not something that you should do in isolation of your team. I recommend that you work together to identify your team strategic objectives and to get their input in conducting the gap analysis for each objective. Take your team through the organization's strategic plan and objectives. Explain to them how those strategic objectives have cascaded down, creating alignment so that every area in the organization is working towards the achievement of the organization's strategic plan. This is where you, as a manager, create clarity for your team. Once you have taken them through this, the real work starts and you want your team to be part of identifying the team's objectives and conducting the gap analysis for each objective. If they are part of the process, they will see the objectives as being fair objectives and not just yours. You want them to own the process and thereby take accountability for delivery. A gap analysis is an exercise where you look at what your current state is in relation to the objective and what you want your future state to look like. What you need to put in place for you to say that you have achieved that objective. Once you have done this, work with your team to identify the gap between where you are now and where you want to be. Your future state tells you what things you need to be working towards. And the gap gives you the developmental plans you need to put in place to close that gap. In coming up with the plan to close the gap, you will need to determine the effectiveness of what you have available to you and for what you are responsible for managing your people, processes and resources. Now. As part of the process of identifying your team's objectives, you should do a deep dive into your department as a whole and identify what your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats are. A SWOT analysis. Swot analysis is used to identify your team's current situation and should be conducted before trying to put new objectives in place. As it gives you a very clear picture as to what you have to work with. You can use a swot analysis to make the most of what you've got to give your organization the advantage that it can have. And you can reduce the chances of failure. But understanding what you are lacking and eliminating those hazards that would otherwise catch you unawares. It provides business information that will assist you in achieving your objectives. This is an ideal brainstorming exercise to do with your team. If we look at the strengths, some of the questions that you might ask are, what do we do? Well, what unique resources can we draw on? What do others see as our strengths? Moving on to the weaknesses, some questions could be, what could we improve? Where do we have fewer resources than others? What are others likely to see as weaknesses? Under opportunities? You might ask, what are the opportunities open to us? What trends and best practice can we take advantage of? And how can we turn our strengths into opportunities and the threats, those hazards? What are the threats that can harm us? What is our competition doing? What threats to our weaknesses exposes? Two, I am going to ask you to conduct a SWOT analysis on your team. Once you have completed that, I want you to ask the following questions based on the outcome of your swot analysis. Which awfully team's strengths can be used to maximize the opportunities. Identified. What actions can you take to minimize the teams weaknesses using the opportunities identified? How can you use the team's strengths to minimize the threats identified? And how can you minimize the teams weaknesses to avoid the threats identified? Is it rather overwhelming? Don't worry. I will take you through some examples so that it becomes a little bit clearer. Being in human resources will use HR examples. So here is an example of a SWOT analysis for a fictitious HR department. Under strengths, I've identified that we have intellectual capital, we have loyal and committed employees and a great desire to change and adapt. Under weaknesses, there is low turnover, meaning that we do not have new blood. There's a lack of succession planning for leadership and critical roles. Our policies and procedures are rigid and outdated and we have outdated and manual practices and systems under opportunities of identified that we could go into a hybrid or blended workforce model. Remote working means that now we have global skills available to us. And isn't this a fantastic time to put in artificial intelligence and systems that talk to one another. Under threats. Once again, those outdated policies and procedures, updated thinking, manual systems, skills, attrition, economic uncertainty, talent shortage, or high cost of technological investment. Well, there you go. That is the HR sorts of analysis. In the next section, we are going to look at how to align cascade and said relevant objectives for your team. 3. The Objective Setting Process: What is an objective? Simply put, an objective is what we are working towards. A goal that we want to achieve. An organization or company objective is one that sets the overarching direction and sets out where the company wants to be in the future. Team objectives are the specific actions and measurable steps your company, broken into specific teams must take to achieve a desired outcome. They give you a clear understanding of the specific tasks or projects that need to be completed in order to get closer to the company objectives. Once an organization sets its top-level business objectives, it can begin to align those objectives to specific business units or divisions or departments. Managers then can begin to cascade those objectives down to the team and individual levels. With cascading objectives, employees understand exactly what the organization is focused on, how their work contributes to the achievement of goals and the overall team impact. To the bottom line. You should ideally have between three to five objectives for your team. While your team may share objectives, each team member should have assigned responsibilities and individual milestones and goals. If you can show how individual objectives connected team objectives and how team objectives connect to the company's strategic objectives. It will increase employee ownership and they will see the rationale for the goals being said. A win-win situation for everyone involved. As mentioned in the previous section, your starting point in identifying what your team's objectives should be is your organization's strategic plan. The company's strategic plan will give you the company's vision, mission, strategic objectives, and key initiatives, as well as to tell you how progress is tracked, measured, and managed. In this section, we will look at how to cascade and align objectives. We will look at some examples of cascading objectives as well as examples of gap analysis. Here are some examples of organization or company objectives. Once again, from a fictitious company. Moving towards a hybrid workforce model, creating a high performing culture. It's an old favorite, organizational realignment and a knowledge centric learning environment. These sound like something a well-run organization might want to put in place, right? The HR department would take a look at these company wide objectives and ask how they can contribute towards their achievement. For example, they would ask themselves, how would they contribute towards the objective of moving towards a hybrid workforce model? Hr might say that they would look at updating their policies and procedures and look at an outcomes-based performance model. Now note how that particular one overlaps with the next objective that of creating a high performing culture. The information technology department might look at the same objective. And they would say that they will contribute, ensuring that every employee will have the necessary tools of trade and digital access. Let's first look at a gap analysis for each of these objectives. Remember, a gap analysis looks at the gap between where you are now and where you want or need to be. The gap tells you things you need to develop or put in place in order to meet the objective. Let's look at a gap analysis of the moving towards a hybrid workforce objective. Here's a gap analysis of creating a high performing culture. Here's one for organizational realignment. And finally, 14 and knowledge centric learning environment. For each of these, can you see how, if done correctly? Gap analysis actually tells you what you need to do to get to your desired state. You will use the gap analysis to determine what your team's objectives are. And assign these team objectives to your team members according to their strengths and weaknesses. You will work with your team to break down these objectives to key performance areas and measures for delivery against that objective. I0, this would be the individual performance contracts with you. These are then what you will use at the performance review sessions. Let's look at the cascading and alignment process from a slightly different view. This organization's vision is to be the number one bank in Africa. In order to achieve that vision, it has identified a number of strategic objectives. Three of those are number 1, to increase market share by 20 percent. The second one is to move towards a hybrid workforce model. And the third one is my all time favorite, creating a high performing culture. Each function or department within company, HR, IT, finance, marketing. We'll look at those strategic objectives and we'll create team objectives that will allow them to contribute towards the company achieving its objectives. So taking the strategic objective of moving towards a hybrid workforce, both HR and IT have identified the objective of introducing, enabling policies and procedures for the new way of work. These will then get assigned to individuals within their teams and might get broken down even further. The company's strategic objectives provide the context for the preparation of both departmental and team objectives. This then informs managers about the knowledge, skills, and competencies required by individuals and teams. The people needs, the number of people required to achieve the objectives, the resourcing needs, and what processes need to be put in place and managed the process needs in order to achieve alignment to the company objectives. And effective performance management process will provide clear line of sight the company's strategic objectives all the way through to the individual objectives. There is an old urban myth that I particularly love when America was putting on, working on putting a man on the moon. A group of, let's call them important big wigs were walking around and engaging in conversation with the nasa staff. They wanted to know what everybody was working on. They came across a janitor mopping the floors, rather facetiously, one of them asked, my good man, and what are you doing to which the janitor replied, I am putting a man on the moon, sir. With this story is true or not. I love it. I love his response because you know what? He was right? He was spot on, he was putting a man on the moon. His job was to ensure that the workplace was clean and in order his job was to create an environment that others could work in. John F. Kennedy had created a compelling vision that had everybody pulling in one direction and working towards its achievement. He created a sense of national pride around its delivery. America was going to put the first man on the moon, and they did. And everyone right down to the janitor knew how his work was contributing to that strategic objective. Let's move on to the setting of smart objectives. Smart is a well-established tool that you can use to plan and achieve your goals. In the past, you may have set objectives that were difficult to achieve because they were too vague, aggressive, or poorly framed. Working towards a poorly crafted objective can feel daunting and achievable at utterly de-motivating. Creating smart objectives can help solve these problems. Within your setting, personal or professional goals. Using the smart framework will put you on the path towards achievement and success. So what are smart objectives? Simply put, smart objectives or goals are a form of objective setting which allows managers and employees to create, track, accomplish, short and long-term goals. You should use the smart framework for both team and individual objectives. Actually, you should use these principles anytime you are working towards something that you really want to achieve. Smart is an acronym that traditionally stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based or bound. I have expanded on the traditional word somewhat to help you really identify and own your goals and objectives. In essence, in setting smart goals and objectives, ask yourself the following questions. Is the objective clear, precise, and unambiguous? Is the objective stretching in some way, but is it still realistically achievable? Does the objective Say what successful look like and how it will be measured in terms of quantity or quality. Is the objective realistically achievable? But it shouldn't be too easy. Does it take into account that timeframe, the resources, and the support that I needed. Have both the individual and the manager agreed on the objective. Is the objective relevant to what the business and the team need to achieve? Will it support the achievement of the overall goals of the organization? Has a specific date been agreed for when the objectives should be completed? Is that target date related to the objective rather than simply coinciding with the end of the performance year. In summary, properly set objectives are specific, insignificant. Your team should be clearly able to see how they contribute to the organization's objectives. Objectives should not be vague. They should be easily measured. Working on these objectives or goals should be motivating to your team. They should have to stretch and challenge themselves to achieve it, but they should so unrealistic so as to make attainment impossible. Achieving an objective must feel like an accomplishment to be proud of. The individuals that you assign these objectives to must be and must know that they are accountable for achievement and delivery. Let's look at some examples of smart and not so smart objectives. So an example, or some examples of smart objectives are leaves 10 KG by a certain date. And we'll look at losing one KG o week exercise three times a week for at least 30 minutes at a time. Put aside 10 percent of my salary into a savings account, spend 30 minutes every day scanning the newspapers. Now let's look at those very same objectives, but not in a smart way. Lose some weight, getting shaped, save some money. Be more aware of what is happening in the world. Yeah, can you see the difference between the two? Let's look at smart objectives and not so smart objectives from a work perspective, increase sales by 10 percent by the end of the quarter. Write a job description that could take two days, advertises a job on LinkedIn. Surely I can do that by the end of the day. Shortlist CVs, two days into the, all the shortlisted candidates, increase LinkedIn followers by 25 percent every month, grow newsletter sign-ups by 10 percent by the end of the month. Let's look at those very same objectives. If they weren't so smart. If they weren't following smart principles, they would simply state something like increased sales, fill vacancy, increase LinkedIn followers, get more people to sign up for the newsletter. Not very specific, not very measurable, not really telling you what success would look like, right? Remember how in the previous section, I said that I was going to ask you to work with your team to come up with team objectives. Well, this is it. Using your company's strategic objectives as a starting point. Identify what you need to do to contribute towards these strategic objectives. This is where you do a gap analysis for each objective, the template has been provided. The gap analysis is specific to your teams contribution to the achievement of that objective. Use the gap analysis to guide you in coming up with team objectives. Once you have identified team objectives, use the Smart template also provided to ensure that they follow smart principles. This will not be as simple or quick exercise and it is not designed to be. Investing time in this now will ensure that you are laying the foundation for creating and maintaining a winning team. Once team objectives have been identified, you can identify individual objectives and goals and thereby create those employee performance plans. The document that you will use for your feedback and review sessions with each employee. In the next section, we will go through how to plan and prepare for employee performance reviews. 4. Preparing for the Performance Review: Do you recall how I said that a manager has three critical roles in the performance management process. The performance review falls under the third critical role that you play in the performance management process. That of monitoring and evaluating. As a manager, you know, that not everything goes according to plan. The main reason for the performance management process is to allow you, the manager, to make the tactical adjustments and changes needed to people processes and resources to ensure that the strategic objectives are being met. The performance review process is the mechanism that you use to monitor, evaluate, reassess, and review progress against the objectives identified. Performance review, performance evaluation, performance appraisal, performance management objectives, goals, rather confusing, right? Well, let's clear this up, okay, So objectives and goals can be used interchangeably. And hopefully the previous sections have made it clear that the performance review process falls under performance management. Performance reviews, evaluation or appraisals are terms that are interchangeable in that they are different names for the same thing. For this course, I will be using the term performance review. Performance reviews look at all the past actions of the employee within a specific agreed-upon period and rates, how well they performed in their role and how many goals, objectives they met. Performance management looks at the present and the future. It looks at future performance objectives and goals. And it focuses on the development of an employee and how that development can benefit both the employee and the company. Performance reviews are therefore reactive and performance management is proactive. Every organization will have its own performance management and review cycle. Some organizations do it annually, some bi-annually, and they're really, really good ones. Do it quarterly. You will obviously have to follow your company's specific timelines. But it is important that you understand regardless of your companies timelines, that performance management and review is not an event. In order for it to be meaningful and successful, it must be viewed as an ongoing process. Being an effective manager means managing people, resources, and processes in order to create value for your organization. Your people, if managed properly, will give you line of sight into what resources you will need and where they will need to be allocated, as well as whether the processes in place are optimal and effective or need to be tweaked or redesigned. You can slot into your company's process for a more formal review. But if you want to keep on top of things, you should meet with the individuals that make up your team Regularly. I would recommend that you do so on a monthly basis. Meeting monthly allows you to focus on individual progress against identified objectives. It allows you to ensure that the individuals have the support that they need, as well as to determine if you have the right individuals doing the right thing. Monthly check-ins mean that you will very quickly identify if someone is not performing and therefore not contributing to value creation. Identifying this early means that you have time to do something about it so that it does not reflect on your performance and that of the team as a whole. Prepare for your employees performance reviews throughout the year and not just a week or two before the formal review process. From the start of the performance year. Maintain a portfolio of evidence for all your employees. Ensure that you know what their skills and qualifications are and that you have up-to-date and relevant job descriptions for them. It is vital that you maintain a detailed log of Work journal of your check-ins and feedback sessions with your employees throughout the year. And use these in preparation for your formal review. This will ensure that the information that you have is detailed, complete, and accurate. It will lessen the likelihood of missing a key item relevant to your employees performance review. It will also prevent you from falling into the recency effect trap. The recency effect trap is exactly that. People have a tendency to only recall events that happened recently and to judge accordingly. It is not fair to judge an employee's annual performance on a recent incident alone. Each employee's portfolio of evidence should not only contain their list of successes and accomplishments, but also a record of the mistakes and any weaknesses or areas of development that have been identified. The review is meant to be a two-way conversation in which you and your employee acknowledged accomplishments, review failures, and identify lessons learned, as well as discuss and agree upon what needs to happen going forward. You should also ask you employee to provide some feedback on yourself. After all, you also want to grow and develop both as an individual and as a manager. Here are some questions that you can ask in your monthly check-ins. Before you go into a monthly check-in with your employee and show that you have gone through the employee's performance plan and have it with you for that meeting so that you can review progress made against the plan with your employee. So some of the questions that you can ask, how have things gone since we last spoke? What were the highlights of your previous month? What didn't go so well in the last month? What lessons did you learn in the process? What are your objectives and goals for the upcoming month and what would make the next 30, 60, 90 days successful for you at work? What kind of support do you need from me in order to achieve your objectives? How will you measure or track your progress on these objectives? Do you know what success looks like? What steps will you take to attain these objectives? Are there any development plans that we need to put in place for you? Do you understand how your personal goals aligned to the team goals and the company goals? Agree on an overall rating for the month below expectations. Achieving expectations above expectations. It's kind of important that you do do that every quarter if possible, but definitely before the formal review process. Conduct a 360 assessment on all your employees. Identify about five people that have worked with your employee and would be able to give feedback on the employee's performance. You should ask the employee to give you three names, people that he or she would like you to approach, and you can choose the remainder to ensure that the process is fair. The individualist chosen should consist of peers, juniors, and seniors. Your part of the review would make it the full 360. A 360 review will give you insight into your employee that you might not necessarily have seen or been aware of. Remember, however, that only you know, the full extent of what an employee was supposed to do. For instance, you might get a glowing review of an employee from a colleague for a piece of work. But that work was not actually part of the employee's performance plan. And in fact, doing it took time away from what the employee was supposed to do. A 360 does not have to be complicated. Here are some examples of questions that you could ask for a 360. Give examples of three things done well. Give three examples of things that need to be worked on. What should the person stopped doing, start doing, continue doing. How has the employees work impacted on your ability to deliver on your goals? What have been some of the successes and challenges over the last few months? Provide examples. And finally, an open-ended question asked for any further constructive feedback. You will find that if you have regular catch-up and feedback sessions with your employee, they will be no surprises at the formal review process. In fact, monthly check-ins will give both you and your employee time to make any course corrections that need to be made. Let's move on to the performance improvement process. 5. The Performance Improvement Process: Sometimes it does not matter how well you have cascaded and aligned company objectives to team and individual objectives. It does not matter how much clarity you have given and helped your team to see how what they do contribute to the greater company. Even with regular catch-up sessions, they will still be instances where individuals in your team failed to deliver or deliver in adequately against their performance plan. If you have been meeting regularly, both you and the employee will be aware that there is a problem and conversations around unsatisfactory performance and performance improvement should not come as a surprise. When employees attendance, behavior or performance is consistently unsatisfactory. You as the manager, are obligated to give him or her and appropriate opportunity to improve to an acceptable level through the performance improvement process. The performance improvement process includes any action taken by management to improve the employee's unsatisfactory performance, attendance, or behavior related issues. These actions may include counseling, written warning, written warning with probation, suspension, and finally, termination of employment. Each action in the performance improvement process needs to be documented in the performance improvement plan. A performance improvement plan, also called PIP, is a tool to give an employee with performance deficiencies the opportunity to succeed. It may be used to address failures. Specific performance goals, address behavior or attendance related concerns. The PIP is a written document that the manager uses to describe performance, behavior, or attendance problems identified, and to outline specific improvements that are needed, and to provide a timeframe for these improvements to be made. Should employees performance, attendance, or behavior fail to improve as specified by the PIP, the employee may be subjected to further action up to and including termination. The beginning of the performance improvement process should happen when there is a clear trend of negative performance. The process starts with a counselling session. Counselling is defined as a formal conversation between yourself and the employee used to inform him or her that an issue exists with performance, attendance, or behavior. The purpose is also to detail the precise action needed by the employee to address the identified issues. Counseling is often considered the first action to be taken in a performance improvement process. Give the employee an opportunity to respond. Try to determine what the cause or reasons are for poor performance. Ask questions and allow the employee to provide some context. You need to be sure that a PIP is worth the effort and is the required solution. Determine what acceptable performances. State what the acceptable performance is, and compare this to what you are currently seen from the employee. You must be specific as to where the employees falling short. Give examples. Create achievable objectives. Use the smart framework discussed earlier to define the objectives row employee needs to meet. Determine how you will measure success and made sure that the employee understands what and how they will be measured. Agree on what support the employee will need. Your role as the manager is to provide guidance, positive reinforcement, as well as the necessary training tools and time required for improvement to take place. The whole point of a PIP is to help the employee improve, to keep them on your team, rather than expecting them to achieve objectives alone. You should also use this as an opportunity to self-reflect and consider what they may be lacking from you that could better improve their performance. Draw up a schedule for check-ins, specify how often you will meet with the employee to provide feedback. Setup these meetings in both your calendars upfront. It's no use creating a PIP and then waiting until the deadline to check the employee's progress. Regular check-ins will allow the employee to voice any doubts or difficulties. Plus, they will allow you to confirm that he or she is on the right track or whether further action is necessary. State the consequences of a lack of improvement. The employee needs to know what the consequences of a lack of improvement. B. Now there is a huge misconception among employees that once on a PIP, they are a step away from dismissal. It is important to clarify that while failure to comply with the PIP could result in dismissal and that this is a very serious process. The purpose of a PIP is not to engineer an exit or termination of employment. Termination of employment should always be your last resort. Here is an example of a PIP. Now you of course, will use the template that your company uses. But irrespective of what the template is or might look like, as long as the main points are covered and you conduct regular as agreed upon check-ins. You have a genuine desire to assist the employee and you document progress, you will be on the right track. Employee performance improvement plans are best implemented when an employee is struggling. In your regular catch-up sessions, you should be able to pick up on signs of an underperforming employee early. Some signs that may suggest an employee is struggling are decreased productivity, decreased engagement, those taking off more time than usual, or becoming more and more punctual. The other reasons why you may implement a performance improvement plan include during an employee's probationary period with the company, when it is seen that the employee is struggling. If an employee has traditionally been a good employee, but has been showing a recent out of character trend in poor performance. If an employee is showing poor performance in some areas, but high performance in other areas, inconsistent performance. When an employee is experiencing personal problems which may have affected their performance recently. Here, you would use the PIP as a means of support and guidance. Please remember, a PIP is a serious process and has very serious consequences for the employee. I strongly advise that you do this in consultation with your human resources manager. 6. Conclusion: In summary, the main focus of this course is in getting you the manager to understand that performance management is not just about setting some objectives, reviewing them periodically, and giving ratings to your employees. The objectives that you set for your team are important. They must align to what the organization is trying to achieve. If you do not start with the company's strategic objectives and use those to come up with your team's objectives, then the chances are that the individual objectives that you set for your employees will fall short of adding maximum value to the organization. We have now come to the end of this course. I hope that this will help you on your management journey. If you have any questions, drop me a note. If you've enjoyed this course, please do. Let me know. Feedback is always appreciated and welcome. 7. The Class Project: For your class project, you should ideally work with your team. I have been talking about it throughout the program, so you will have some idea of what is expected of you. List your company's strategic objectives and cascade them down to your level. Take a look at the company's objectives and identify which ones you and your team can contribute to and thereby add value to the organization. Once you have identified those objectives that you're, you and your team can align yourself to. I would like you to conduct a SWOT analysis for your department and team. Take each objective that you identified as being one that you can align yourself to and conduct a gap analysis. Use the gaps and future states that you will come up with in order to come up with your team's objectives. The smart objective worksheet will help you to come up with individual measures and goals. This will not be as simple or quick exercise and it is not designed to be. As mentioned, investing time in this now will ensure that you are laying the foundation for creating and maintaining a winning team. Enjoy.