Performance Management – An underrated tool!

Covid-19, as we know, has resulted in many changes in how a business operates. Employers are continually having to adapt the workplace to the ‘new normal’. One of the challenges faced is a historic problem, however – performance management. With over half of the workforce working remotely, this tool is more important than ever.

What is performance management?

Performance management is an underrated tool that is not utilized enough by employers. It can be used as a way to lever the relationship between employees and the quality of their work. There is no set definition for performance management but it can be described as:

  • Establish objectives through which individuals and teams can see their part in the organisation’s mission and strategy.
  • Improve performance among employees, teams and, ultimately, organisations.
  • Hold people to account for their performance by linking it to reward, career progression and termination of contracts.

Importance of managing performance

In order for your staff to align with the company strategy and to achieve success, good performance management is critical. It would be unreasonable for the expectations of your team not to be clearly communicated with them. Performance management allows for a two-way conversation, setting clear objectives, providing feedback, and identifying any problem areas. 

Where do I start?

The techniques and process can look different for all employers. A one-set process should not be adapted. Some tools might include:

  • Performance appraisals
  • Performance improvement plans (PIP)
  • Personal development plans (PDP)
  • Management by objectives (MBO)
  • Rewards and recognition programmes
  • 360 degree feedback

Employers can link performance with reward and recognition. Linking financial rewards, such as bonuses, is well known, but simple praise and recognition of a job well done should not be forgotten about either! On the other hand, creating a personal development plan seems to achieve more strategic long-term planning and have been successful across different companies. By investing in your performance management tools and techniques you create a culture of high performance as you can identify training and development needs from the outset.

Say it with me – Document, document, document

If undertaking any of the steps above, time can be wasted if none of the processes are documented. This is a very important part of any process. This allows you to, if needed, take further action with any staff member who is underperforming. It also will demonstrate the steps you have taken to help any staff member where they have been struggling and it will allow you to reward employees with high performance.


Meeting with staff on a regular basis can have a number of benefits:

  • Boosts morale
  • Helps identify employees for progression
  • Increase employee retention
  • Highlights areas for training and development
  • Creates better company culture
  • Increases productivity

Putting policy into practice

Most companies will have a policy around managing performance however not all will put it into practice. While it may take up some time, it is important that you understand where employees are underperforming and why. It also is a way of rewarding some of the stronger performing members. Different timelines can be set for employees and ideally, their line manager would carry out the meetings. It may lead to some more difficult conversations! Why not get in touch with our team to help talk you through the process.

Sarah Quirke, HR Executive


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