Tag Archives: setting performance targets

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

As a Leader, How do you Boost your Capability to Implement the Business Plan?

In less than two months, the year will end and it’s time to prepare the business plan for the ensuing year. A business plan is prepared by the leaders or the management team of the business entity.  Whether well articulated or not, a business plan aims to improve the products and services of the company.

But, what usually happens is that the employees don’t know about the plans  or doesn’t fully understand the details of the business plan.  So, the year ends with the unimplemented business plan and this same plan is again used in the subsequent year.

Employees, who have been in the company for a long time, have their practices.  Younger ones are often inexperienced or  deficient in  business outlook which could give them insight.  New hires often bring old routines developed in a previous work culture.  To improve productivity and optimize company’s performance, the company must have a shared, well understood plan .

To boost  the capability to implement the business plan,  do these ways:

1.  Distribute the business plan. Employees must know and understand the plan.  They must be helped and coached and then held accountable for attaining the necessary skills to lead others in implementing the plan.

2. Conduct a planning session for shared understanding among the managers and employees of the company. It is necessary that the leader shall clearly discuss with the employees what roles they are to play in the plan and the criteria for solving cross-functional conflicts.

There is a need to measure performance against the plan and the planning process as a whole, for the organization to most likely  benefit from a shared understanding across the leadership team.

Once your plan is out there, encourage questions.  Each question a chance to address the issues that build and uphold inefficiencies. Seek indirect feedback, like a suggestion box or whatever methods to show employees that you value their perceptions.

A planning session conducted by a management team.
A planning session conducted by a management team.

3. Set Performance targets of employees towards the execution of the plan. Align work activities of the employees with the business plan.

If you see some employees struggling to comprehend what needs to be done, or that they lack the know how to do it well, there is an opportunity for follow up or coaching.

Conclusions:

All businesses have plans to be flourishing.  Leaders can boost their capability to implement the business plan by distributing the plan, conducting a planning session and setting performance targets of employees towards the execution of the plan.

Your friend,

Nimia Acebes

Five Tips to Remember When Setting Performance Targets With Employees

Performance of the employees has to be managed to enable the company to meet its goals and objectives.

Before the start of the performance evaluation period, each employee is required to accomplish a form, usually a performance plan form, where he indicates his targets for quantity, quality and time, for each work activity.

A performance plan form which is signed by the employee and the supervisor or manager, serves as the performance contract between both parties.

In my three decades of experience in managing people, I have noticed some improper handling of the performance plan form.  For some offices, it is just filled-up by the ratee who just sets whatever targets he wants for himself and signed by the manager without any review.  So, we can see some employees just taking easy with their jobs while the rest work hard to meet their targets.

A worst scenario is when the employee fills-up his performance plan form together with the performance evaluation form at the end of the evaluation period,  When he wants a high performance rating, he sets his targets much lower than that of his actual accomplishments.

To be effective and realistic, a performance plan form must be filled-up before the start of the evaluation period and targets must be properly discussed and agreed by the manager and his employees.  This may mean a little extra work for most managers, but you’ll realize that it’s time well spent.

IMG_9692
A Manager is conducting a performance target-setting with her employees

Here are the five tips to remember when setting performance targets with employees;

1.  Don’t set targets that are too high or too low. Doing this will lower the morale of the employees.  If targets are too high that only the best employees will meet them, the rest would not be able to stay even with others and will become frustrated with themselves.  The non-achievers will set aside the target as unattainable and see themselves as “losers”.

On the other hand, if targets are too low, employees may consider their jobs as not challenging and insignificant.

2.  Set specific ways to measure accomplishment. Don’t just tell your employees to increase quantity of his output by 30% but it must be clearly defined to him what level is considered poor, unsatisfactory, satisfactory, very satisfactory and outstanding performance.  Each employee must comprehend precisely what is expected of him.

3.  Make sure that the employees have been trained, coached and have supplies and equipment to meet the targets. You can’t expect employees to meet quotas, cut-off dates and other targets if they don’t understand how to perform the job correctly or if the tools, materials and equipment they work with are malfunctioning or if work procedures are unclear and so complicated.

4.  Give allowance for modifications. Problems may be encountered by your employees during the performance of their targets that you won’t know in advance.  Constant monitoring of the employees’ performance must be made as it may be essential to make few adjustments to the targets.

5.  Review and evaluate. There is a need for a one on one discussion during the performance evaluation of the employees as they need feedbacks to continue to improve their work.

If you have more tips to add, I am inviting you to leave your comments after reading this post.

Your friend,

Nimia S. Acebes