Is your Performance Development Review process hitting the mark?

 In Managing Performance and Productivity

The end of the financial year is only weeks away. This time of year usually signifies the end of another year of performance, and therefore the need to start planning Performance Development Review discussions with your team.

This process can be incredibly stressful for both leaders and employees adding another item on the never-ending ‘to-do’ list. A Performance Development Review should be a highly rewarding interaction for both you and your employee.

Delivered well, Performance Development Reviews should provide an opportunity to take time out of the ‘doing,’ to reflect on the employee’s overall performance against the Plan that was developed at the start of the review cycle.

Here are some questions to ask yourself, and ideas that will help you to set up a more engaging, effective, and beneficial performance development review process for both you and your employees.

What is the purpose of your Performance Development Review process and what are you trying to achieve?

Is it something you do as part of the salary review process and the performance review is just part of the pre-work? Is it something you have just always done and never thought to challenge why you are doing it, and what you want to achieve out of the process?

Or is it the opportunity for you to set clear performance objectives or goals with your employees, to provide two-way feedback on performance achievement, development needs and careers aspirations?

It may also be a combination of all three. No matter what your Performance Development Review process looks like, the most important thing is to make sure you maximise the benefit you and your employee get from the process both in the planning stage and when it comes to the review process.

How frequently do you conduct review discussions? 

The frequency of Performance Development Review discussions is normally based on why you are doing them, who is responsible for leading the review process (e.g., line manager, supervisor, department manager,) and the capacity your business has to conduct the review discussions within the required timeframe.

We recommend conducting a formal performance development review at least annually where the leader and employee undertake an assessment of employee’s performance over the review period, identify development needs, and new goals for the next review period.

If you have the capacity to deliver a mid-point review, we highly recommend investing in this informal check-in. The mid-point review is less labour-intensive but the benefits and rewards from this investment in your time can be great.

A mid-point review provides the opportunity for two-way feedback on how the employee is tracking towards achieving their goals in their Performance Development Plan, including the opportunity to identify support or training needs. The mid-point discussion can help to provide the employee with the support, redirection, and motivation needed to achieve their Performance Development Plan by the end of the review period.

How often do you provide performance feedback to your employees?

Effective employee performance is generally based on a foundation of continuous feedback. If you only provide feedback to your employees during their formal performance review discussions, you limit your opportunity to help improve, direct, or motivate their work performance and contribution to your team.

Try to refrain from bringing up any new performance management issues in a Performance Development Review. Most people would rather receive performance feedback as it happens. This not only provides the opportunity for the employee to provide feedback and reflect on their performance, but it also allows them to correct the performance or behaviour immediately and make instant improvements.

Do not feel you have to shy away from discussing areas of non-performance in a Review, instead just ensure the issue/s you are raising are already known to the employee. The main thing to avoid is any surprises for the employee around their non-performance.

If you keep new performance issues out of the Performance Development Review and address them as they happen, you will start to find your discussions will be more holistic, constructive, and focused on achievement and development planning.

What is your salary review process? 

By not identifying and communicating how your organisation reviews salaries, employees can mistakenly assume that performance reviews are automatically linked to an annual salary increase.

No matter what you use as the vehicle for salary increases in your organisation, just make sure that your employees are clear on what instigates an increase and how they can work towards achieving one.

If you choose to link salary increases to performance, then the best way to do this is through the Performance Development Review process. It is critical that you are clear as to what success looks like, how achievement will be measured, and what salary increase, or reward is associated with each performance standard.

How do you capture and use information discussed in Performance Development Reviews? 

More often than not information discussed during a Performance Development Reviews is rarely referred to again. This can be demotivating for the employee and depletes the benefits of conducting performance reviews altogether, especially when it relates to commitments around development, support, and new opportunities.

Performance achievement should be captured in the employees Performance Plan. Commitments and actions should be recorded in the Plan to enable them to be monitored for completion by either the employee or leader.

Documenting outcomes from the discussion also provides the employee and leader with an ongoing reference and record of previous performance, goal achievement and development commitments.

What should I do now?

Have a chat to your team. Ask them what they get out of the current Performance Development Review process, and what you could do to improve the process for them.

Gather this information and compare it to what you currently deliver. What could you implement that will improve the benefits and effectiveness for all stakeholders in the process? Take these insights and start to plan a revised performance development review structure that will engage and motivate your employees and support effective performance.

If you feel your process isn’t quite hitting the mark and you would like support in improving your performance development process and review discussions, then please reach out to the team at Bespoke HR.

There’s no better time to get started than now!

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Paulette Kolarz

Customer Support

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