Performance management is an on going practice, not a once a year tick-box task: Fact. And, you will have hopefully seen the article we posted earlier this month which detailed how important it is to ensure your standard performance reviews and appraisals form part of the wider performance management process to ensure they’re not viewed as a monotonous, paper-pushing, tick-box exercise, lacking any real validity. And so, the following blog aims to offer a guide on how to implement an effective performance program in 2019, throughout your organisation.

Remember, your end goal is alignment with your strategic business goals teamed with your employee’s personal development. Your employees will want to see how their work contributes to organisational achievements. Effective performance management also helps to cultivate the organisational and job-specific competencies each employee and the organisation need for high performance and success. If you follow the process detailed below then you will be able to offer a performance management and development system which will significantly improve the appraisal process and as a consequence, your employees will feel significantly better about participating and looking at ways to improve their performance and as a result, the overall performance of your business.

Define your goals

What are your overall strategic business goals? It’s essential these be in place so you can effectively define and align individual goals (within a SMART goal framework) to support the big-picture. This should be a collaborative process between the manager and the employee, not just a task decided by you as a manager/business owner.


Specific:Great goals are well defined and focussed. For example, obtain £100k in new business sales by July 2019. This informs employees what and how much is expected and when.

Measurable:Provide milestones to track progress and motivate employees towards achievement.

Achievable:Make sure your goals are within reach, with a bit of stretch. Dream big and aim for the stars but keep one foot firmly based in reality.

Relevant:A relevant goal aligns what you want to accomplish with what your program realistically can deliver.

Timely:Time-bound, establishes deadlines, what needs to be done and by when.

Take the time to sit down with your employee/s at the beginning of the year to work out a plan using the above for the remainder of the year. This shouldn’t be done as a stand-alone task but as a joint venture. Engaging your employee’s right at the start of the process should mean you gain their buy-in from the word ‘go’. They will feel instantly part of the bigger picture and engaged and motivated to perform and succeed for both their individual gain and overall company success.

Monitor progress towards goals

Meeting with your employee/s this time next year to see how they’ve got on, just isn’t going to underpin a culture of engagement and so this is where it’s important you have continuous communication with each and every individual. In fact, the secret to high performance is to review individual and team goals once a week or once a month in a one-to-one session to review progress and identify any issues.

All Managers should be aware of their employee’s progress on goals and employees should feel able to approach you on an adhoc basis, as and when problems arise. In addition to the need for you to review your employee’s productivity, it’s also imperative for your employees to track their own progress as well. You can use the opportunity to review the progress and adjust timelines, request additional resources if necessary, or even broaden the goal once more information is gathered from other sources.

The appraisal process

Formal performance development reviews (PDR’s) or appraisals should be scheduled in every 6 months and both the manager and employee should contribute equally. The appraisal process should include listening, observing, giving constructive feedback, and providing recognition.

What has your employee achieved in relation to their SMART objectives? What’s gone right and what still needs work? Make sure you praise the individual and also provide constructive criticism. What extra support does your employee need in terms of learning and development to develop the necessary skills to accomplish their set goals? This is an important factor not only in the employee’s growth, but also in the health of the entire organisation since employees have a greater sense of loyalty to companies that develop talent from within and thus become more engaged and productive in their work. These development plans also allow the company to create a pool of talent for strategic succession planning.

And again, these conversations shouldn’t be left to the appraisal meeting. They should be discussed in your weekly or monthly one-to-ones. Make sure you keep the conversation going, believe me; you will reap the reward further down the line.

Compensation for performance

If an employee is meeting or exceeding expectations, they should know that they would be rewarded appropriately through reward schemes such as pay rises, bonuses or other monetary means. Performance related pay is a way of managing pay by linking to the performance management process and pre-agreed objectives. It can be key to retaining your top talent and serves to align your people with the goals and objectives of the company and to motivate and reward your best performers, while continuing to develop under performers to become greater assets. Pay for performance compensation structures not only account for the individual, but also for the working environment and performance of the team as well, encouraging the employees to band together to reach the common goal.

HR Software

Historically, performance reviews were exhaustive paper-based forms, circulated around a business from managers to their staff and back again, entailing room for error and inconsistency. However, cloud based HR solutions are now available to streamline the process significantly. All parts of the process are automated with email notifications and the time saved across the business for all parties involved. You can use an ‘out-of-the-box’ solution or choose a system tailored to your specific requirements. Gone are the days of mundane forms with countless ratings, which only take place once per year.

A first-rate performance management plan is the key to creating an engaged and aligned workforce—the hallmark of all successful businesses. Without one, your organisation could lose more than just time and money – you could lose knowledge, employees and, in the end, your competitive edge.

If you require any support implementing your performance management process please make sure you contact us on 01453 297557 or email