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The Top 5 Advantages of an Effective Performance Management Program


For all government agencies, the role of human resources is paramount to compliance with federal regulations. It’s just as important, however, to ensure that the agency is achieving its mission and running as efficiently as possible.

Unfortunately, many federal HR practitioners are currently frustrated with the prevalence of fragmented, disconnected systems used across various HR functions. Additionally, use of multiple systems compound compliance delays in the form of excessive paperwork, manual re-entry of data and high error rates.

An ideal performance management system, on the other hand, encourages managers to set expectations, provide informal feedback on a regular basis and enables employee development and success. When done well, a performance management program contributes to an organization’s compliance, employee success, and beyond.

1. Employees are motivated to improve their performance

A performance management program is essential to promoting and improving employee effectiveness. It involves a continuous process in which managers and staff work together to plan, monitor and review goals and individual contributions to the agency.

A well implemented performance management program improves the performance of individuals, teams, and the agency. Managers sets goals with employees, monitor their performance, give regular feedback, and conduct performance reviews. Using regular feedback, employees can better understand what skills they need to develop. Performance feedback also fulfills a basic human need to be recognized and valued, which leads to higher self-esteem and motivation for optimal performance.

2. Managers know their employee’s strengths and weaknesses

A performance management system can enable managers to better understand their employees’ skill sets and proficiency levels. Through improved employee observation, managers master understanding of an individual’s strengths and weaknesses. The manager and the employee can offer each other feedback and address concerns, creating a transparent work environment. Managers can also get a sense of how to motivate employees, from leading by example to fair allocation of work.

3. Employees are more engaged

A good performance management system leads to more employee engagement. If they are satisfied with their performance management system, employees are more motivated and less likely to leave the organization. Engaged employees are more involved, committed, passionate, and empowered. These feelings lead to employees going the extra mile in supporting the agency’s mission. 

Also, engaged employees are more likely to make suggestions or improvements that lead to innovation. For example, a performance appraisal review can result in a discussion where an employee shares recommendations on how to reduce cost or speed up processes. All in all, when employee engagement is a central part of company culture, employees are more committed to their agency’s goals and values (minimizing employee misconduct) and more motivated to contribute to its success.

4. Employees understand their job responsibilities

An effective HR system also gives staff a better understanding of their daily tasks, as well as insights into behaviors and results needed to perform their job well. If an employee receives constant and high-quality feedback, the employee well become more self-aware of their behaviors and leads to more growth and development. Such systems empower HR team members to be a resource for employees and managers in goal setting and progress tracking. They also aid in creating and approving individual development plans, which can include: training, helping employees learn role-supportive knowledge and improving skills in their current roles.

5. Administrative actions are fair

Using an optimal HR system facilitates properly tracked documentation, employee development and bidirectional communication. As a consequence, promotions, performance-based awards, transfers and terminations are often more fair and appropriate than similar actions taken under weak or nonexistent HR systems. Such systems, in the end, align strategic business goals with employee performance, ensuring all staff members receive accurate and impartial performance feedback.

Ultimately, the benefits of a performance management program touch everyone involved in the process. The right platform can help your HR team spend less time on paperwork and more time on the “people work” critical to your agency.

Andrew Lessard is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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Mary Smith

I encourage you to read some of Marcus Buckingham’s research and explore the work of Dr. David Rock too. Your perspective, while valid, is a bit behind the times.

You said, “Such systems, in the end, align strategic business goals with employee performance, ensuring all staff members receive accurate and impartial performance feedback.” Really? How do you ever ensure people get accurate and impartial feedback? That doesn’t related to “align(ed) strategic business goals.” Getting impartial and accurate feedback comes from involved managers–and peers–who care and communicate directly.

What about the work environment/culture…this plays a big role in driving performance and engagement. Oh well.

Good start, sir, but lots more to consider. Good luck.

Andrew Lessard

Great points! Thank you for the comment. There are definitely opportunities to dig deeper on this subject matter. I’ll be continuing to post more topics on Performance Management over the several weeks to come as well, so I hope you come back to discuss other articles as well.