Managing performance

Managing employee performance is a continuous process. It involves making sure that employee performance contributes to both team goals and that of the organisation. Effective performance management leads to a harmonious and productive workplace.

As a manager, supervisor or leader, one of your primary managerial responsibilities is to plan, direct and control the work of others to achieve the results that you have been tasked to achieve.

This involves informing employees about their work responsibilities, setting and interpreting work performance standards, and giving appropriate feedback by providing examples of work performance and behaviour.

Everyone in the organisation should understand:

  • what the organisation is trying to achieve;
  • their role in helping the organisation achieve its goals;
  • the skills and competencies they need to fulfil their role;
  • the standards of performance required;
  • how they are doing; and
  • when there are performance problems and what to do about them.

The aim is to continuously improve the performance of employees and that of the organisation. Regular conversations with employees about their role, capabilities and how work gets done will enhance employee engagement and productivity.

A simple tool that managers can use as an employee performance management strategy from the engagement of an employee is to follow the steps of a ‘performance cycle’. This process is also relevant for use with existing employees as a part of an ongoing performance review process. A performance review or appraisal process does not need to involve a lot of paperwork – on the contrary the most effective systems are often the simplest.

As a manager, supervisor or leader you also have a responsibility to address behaviour that falls short of the expected standards. This is necessary to protect the integrity of the organisation and the wellbeing of colleagues and patients.

The term ‘behaviour’ is used in relation to both the performance and conduct of employees. When employees do not comply with the standard of behaviour expected of them, whether it is behaviour set out in local policies and procedures or in a contract of employment, their behaviour may constitute unsatisfactory performance or misconduct.