Dear Workforce How Do We Teach New Supervisors to Judge Employee Performance

By Staff Report

Feb. 4, 2009

Dear Underperformance:

This issue is more often about the system rather than the actual supervisors. If the organization has done its part to create a workable, efficient performance management system and culture of accountability, then it’s easier for the supervisors to do their jobs.

Here are six things you can do to create a system that sets up supervisors for success in the performance review process.

1. Secure ownership by senior leaders.

Senior leaders need to consistently promote performance management as critical to achieving business results. Identify role models at the top who visibly use the system. Actively involve senior leaders in communications about performance management. This gives supervisors “permission” to provide candid feedback.

2. Tie individual goals to business strategy.

Try goal-setting from the top of the organization on down. If your supervisors’ goals are linked to strategy, it will be easier to link all employees’ goals. The clearer the link, the easier it is to discuss results (or lack thereof).

3. Hold individuals accountable for living the organization’s values.

Strategy helps prioritize what work must get done. Organizational values guide how the work should be accomplished. When values are built into the review process, supervisors can more easily address destructive “results at all costs” behavior.

4. Encourage employees to take responsibility for their own career management.

An effective system should create a partnership between employees and supervisors focused on mutual success. Sure, employees need guidance and coaching from their supervisors. But to stay motivated and committed, employees need the chance to tap into their personal motivators and have a say in how their unique capabilities can be leveraged.

5. Hold supervisors accountable for providing regular feedback.

Consider tracking and compensating them for conducting regular coaching discussions. Hold them accountable both for results and for developing their teams. Don’t train them in conducting performance appraisals. Provide the skills and tools they need for the discussions you want them to have throughout the year.

6. Stop changing those forms or screens.

The critical ingredients of an effective performance management system are the business and cultural drivers, and the conversations that take place between the people who need to execute the organization’s strategy. In the end, performance management needs to be less about forms or online systems, and more about continuous dialogue and partnership around issues that matter most to employees and the organization.

When supervisors focus on performance and mutual goals year round, the performance review is a much easier conversation.

SOURCE: Mary Ann Masarech, BlessingWhite Inc., Skillman, New Jersey, March 19, 2008.

LEARN MORE: Please read “Copping Out on Performance Management,” about “bail out” ratings that allow managers to avoid confrontation.

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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