Category Archives: performance management

The Five Elements in Performance Agreements with Employees

Sometime in November 2009, I wrote an article on the Five Tips to Remember When Setting Performance Targets with Employees.  This is to guide you in effectively managing performance of your employees.

In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey shares with us the following five elements to be present during performance agreements with employees:

1.  Desired Results

2.  Guidelines

3.  Resources

4.  Accountability

5.  Consequences

Desired Results. Identify the output and when it is accomplished.   Focus on results not methods.

Let us not fall into the activity trap, which means we are so entangled in activity that we lose sight of the reason of the activity.  The activity, thus, become an end in itself.  The means has become the end.  The goal is lost in a bout of methods.  That is why we have employees who are so busy working daily but could not achieve the desired result at the targeted time because they are so busy with so many activities and methods which are counterproductive and even harmful.

Guidelines. Specify the parameters in terms of quantity, quality and time, principles, policies, etc., within which the results are to be achieved.

Resources. Identify the human, financial, technical, or organizational support available to help accomplish the results.  Tell the employees to whom or to where shall they go for help when they find problem in accomplishing their desired results.

Accountability. Set up the standards of performance and the time of evaluation.

Consequences. Specify – good and bad, natural and logical – what does and will happen as a result of the evaluation.

In performance agreements, Stephen Covey says: consequences become the natural or logical result of performance rather than a reward or punishment arbitrarily handled out by the person in charge.

If these elements are mutually understood and agreed upon by you and your employees,  performance appraisal would be easy, as the employees could judge and evaluate their own performance based on these criteria.

A Regional Director is conducting Performance Agreement discussion with her supervisors.

I’m inviting you to give your views on this article by leaving your comments below this post.

Your friend,

Nimia Acebes

Four Effective Ways to Make Performance Appraisal Easier for Everyone

One day, one of my supervisors came to my office and requested that one of his employees shall be reassigned due to poor performance in his office.  When I called the attention of the employee for his poor performance as verbally reported to me by his supervisor, he reacted: “Is he kidding, Madam?  He always gave me a “Very Satisfactory” performance rating every rating period.”

At the end of the rating period, the employee just simply copies his or her previous performance appraisal forms and submits them to the supervisor for confirmation and signature.

On the other hand, majority of the supervisors are not honest in rating their employees.  The supervisor gives a “Very Satisfactory” rating to the employee even if he or she doesn’t deserve it, as the supervisor is sick of getting arguments from his people when they didn’t get the rating they thought they deserve.

An appraisal is supposed to be informative for you and your employee.  It ought to inform him how he’s doing in relation to performance targets.  It is supposed to identify his strengths and the areas where he needs improvement.  Conducted correctly, it can help you get the performance you need.  But if you rate employees higher than they are worthy of, they begin to think they’re okay and might not be urged to do better.

Here are the four effective ways to make performance appraisal easier for you and your employee:

1.  Make sure to evaluate employees fairly.  Don’t play favoritism in rating employees.  Establish uniform performance standards as your guide.

2.  Stick to facts and shun evaluations of performance based on casual observations. Gather data and keep written records of performance of employees as basis of evaluation.

3.  Keep a better balance between praise  and criticism during your performance evaluation meeting. Commend the employee for the areas where he excels in performance and point out the areas where he needs improvement.

4.  Select one or two goals for the employee to work toward instead of trying to change everything overnight. For the areas where he needs improvement, set two goals for him to achieve for him to improve his performance.

I know you also have your own list in mind and I am glad if you could share it with us by leaving your comments below this post.

Your friend,

Nimia Acebes

Four Useful Tips in Searching for the Vital Things during Personal Inspections

As an executive, you must know what to look for during your inspections to offices, plants or operations area.  Since you are possibly going to be there only for a few days or hours, you can’t hope to learn everything and see everything that could be seen.

As a smart inspector, you will meddle into the operations more promptly to find the things swept under the rug.   Here are the four useful tips in searching for the vital things   during personal inspections, using them as signs of things unseen:

1. Determine if the people who are supposed to know have the answers.

Most of the time, the Operations Chief or the one in-charge of the area escorts you during your inspection tour.  The tour can also be the chance for a quiet but systematic quiz of the local boss, using items and events as they occur to provoke answers.  Ask the local boss questions to check if he is on top of the job.

An executive is asking questions to in-charge of office inspected.
An executive is asking questions to in-charge of office inspected.

2.  Determine if the easily controllable things are under control.

Each operation or job has certain parts which are easily controlled by the manager who is abreast of things.  Except for some circumstances, housekeeping and carelessness are evidences of lack of discipline and control over the actions of employees.  At this point, you can begin to turn attention to the management of the place.

3.  Determine if the surface is the representative of what lies beneath.

Explore beneath the surface, in one or two instances, to discover any evidence of “glossing over” of poor conditions.

4.  Determine if the inspection check out with other facts.

Before the inspection tour, it’s a wise plan to get some basic facts about the place.  Some of the figures might include employee relations, morale, expenditures, revenue, complaints and so on.  If an item is showing up very good or very bad in these figures, this is a hint as to where to look during your inspection trip.

These are my tips and I know there are still many others in your list.  I invite you to share your list with everyone by leaving your comments below this post.

Your friend,

Nimia Acebes

Four Attributes of an Effective Performance Management System in the Workplace

The year is about to end and it’s time for the preparation of documents for the performance appraisal of each employee for the current year and for each employee’s performance targets  for the ensuing year.

The Human Resources Glossary defines performance management as the process of creating a work environment or setting in which people are enabled to perform to the best of their abilities.

Likewise, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management defines performance management as the systematic process by which an agency involves its employees, as individuals and members of a group, in improving organizational effectiveness in the accomplishment of agency mission and goals.

These two definitions are geared towards the attainment of company goals and targets through partnership with the employees.   As managers and leaders, you are encouraged to have an effective performance management system to meet this challenge.

Here are the four attributes of an effective performance management system in the workplace:

1.  Use of Simple Formats.

Not all managers like performance appraisals.  This activity requires a little extra work and competes for their attention to the many other business demands and concerns.  They do not want to waste time interpreting difficult formats.  Simple formats give them more time to discuss work activities of each employee.

2.  Meeting with the Employee at least Once every Two Months or even more Frequently.

Frequent meetings with the employees will enable us to assist them in addressing their performance concerns and needs in order to improve their performance.

In the book, First, Break All the Rules, Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman says: “If you meet only once or twice a year, you are forced to drop your criticisms on the employee all at once, like a bomb.  When the employee inevitably recoils, you then have to dredge your memory for examples to support your argument.  But by meeting frequently, you can avoid this battle of wills.  You can introduce areas of poor performance little by little over time, and each time you raise the subject, you can refer to recent, vivid examples.  Your criticisms will be easier to swallow and the conversation more productive.”

A manager is conducting a performance meeting with her employees.
A manager is conducting a performance meeting with her employees.

3.  It is Centered on what the Employee can Achieve in the next six months  or one year.

Although, you assess the past performance in the first few minutes of the meeting, the rest is dedicated to what the employee could be or could do in the next months.

4.  The Employee is asked to Record his or her Accomplishments and the Lessons Learned

This will make the employee feel that his or her work is important to the company.  The employee shall record his or her goals, accomplishments, lessons and skills learned and breakthroughs.  This makes the employee responsible and accountable to his or her own performance.

This record will enable you to identify which area in the employee’s performance needs improvement.

If applied, these attributes will make performance management system in the company effective.

If you have more attributes to add, please do so by leaving your comments below this post.

Your friend,

Nimia Acebes