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Top Ten Things You Need to Know to Manage Performance

Performance management is all about clarity: clear expectations about both performance and on-the-job conduct or behavior. While it takes time and effort to set up a performance management program, there are some things managers and employees can incorporate into their regular work activities. Here are ten things to know about performance management:

  1. Remember that performance management is ongoing. It begins with setting clear expectations and standards.
  2. You can start by listing the key responsibilities of the job and then ask yourself if both you and the employee have a clear picture of what success looks like for each of the responsibilities. If you don’t, you will need to develop measurable standards.
  3. Regular feedback is crucial—from manager to employee—about any areas where standards aren’t being met. And remember to provide positive feedback when work is done well.
  4. Employees also need to keep track of their accomplishments and let their managers know how they are doing in meeting standards.
  5. If employees are having trouble meeting a particular standard, they need to ask for help, not wait for their managers to come to them.
  6. Measurement is crucial. Types of measures include: quantity, quality, time, and cost. Managers and employees can work together to develop measures.
  7. Performance management looks at both what is to be done—the actual job responsibilities—and how work gets done—the conduct and behavior on the job.
  8. Conduct standards, for example, “communicates in ways that are consistently respectful” and “treats others fairly and respectfully” can help create a positive and productive work environment.
  9. Performance management includes formal performance reviews, which come at the end of the process that begins with setting clear standards.
  10. Performance and conduct standards apply to work that varies little from month to month and year to year. SMART objectives (click here for free a pdf) provide a way to specify and measure projects and one-time activities.

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