Performance Management

121 Review meetings

11 Apr
by Donna Obstfeld, posted in 121's, 360 degree feedback, Appraisal skills, Blog, people management, Performance Management, Video, Vlog   |  No Comments

These can be held as frequently as the manager and employee feel necessary, often weekly or bi-weekly.

They can all be formal, or a mixture of formal (structured with forms and notes) and informal (verbal, no notes).

At some points notes should be kept on file reflecting discussions, concerns, action plans, commitments and support required.

If at any point an employee is not performing, the 121s and the notes from these meetings may be used in evidence of support offered or commitments made.




Probation Period

06 Apr
by Donna Obstfeld, posted in Blog, Business, people management, Performance Management, Policies and Procedures, Probation, Video, Vlog   |  No Comments

This is a trial period at the start of someone’s employment.

A 6 month probation period is ideal as it gives the employee time to learn the role and the employer time to assess performance and to provide feedback, making corrections to performance or attitude if required.

If the new member of staff does not have the right attitude, skills or ability they can be removed more easily during their probation period.

The Dreaded Appraisal

22 Oct
by Donna Obstfeld, posted in Blog, HR Consultancy, HR Policy, HR Support, Performance Management, Policies and Procedures   |  No Comments

Results sign postThis time of year, we find many of our clients want to take the opportunity to appraise staff. Of course there is no hard and fast rule as to when to do this and some companies will link appraisals to the financial year end, the end of the calendar year or the employee’s anniversary with the company.

It’s important for every business to have an appraisal process in place as part of its general performance management framework. Staff must have objectives set that are aligned to the business goals and these are often cascaded down through any management structures which exist within the organisation.  Appraisals are  also an excellent tool for keeping  staff fully engaged with the business as they help them to understand the business and to set their personal goals to that they contribute to future success.

An appraisal is an opportunity to step off the rat wheel, to step back from the daily grind and to review successes and failures with the benefit of hindsight. Activities and progress from the last year should be discussed and lessons learnt turned into positives. Nothing should be raised in an annual appraisal which has not already been discussed in a timely fashion throughout the year. This is a review and summarise activity which plays a significant role for future goal setting. Any areas for concern or opportunities for development should be discussed in an open and honest way during the appraisal.

There are four stages to an effective appraisal:

  1. Preparation
  2. Meeting
  3. Write up
  4. Follow through


Preparation for both the appraiser (manager) and appraisee (employee) is essential. The appraiser should ensure that the appraisee has all the paperwork at least a week before their meeting. The manager should ask the employee to work through the paperwork, filling it all in with their opinions, thoughts and views. Having a copy of last years appraisal or any interim reviews, targets etc. would be a useful starting point for reviewing the year.

The manager also needs to prepare and they should go through the same process for each of their direct reports.

The Meeting

The meeting is a two way process. It is an open and honest discussion, during which the appraisal form is jointly completed. While the employee has a significant input, if the appraiser and appraisee can not agree, it is the appraisers view which is documented and the appraisee has the opportunity to make their views known in a comments box. Examples and feedback from others are particularly powerful in an appraisal meeting.

Write it up

Following the meeting, the paperwork is finalised. Despite any differences of opinion in the meeting, the appraisers view is what is documented, hopefully with consensus. The employee should get the opportunity to add their comments and should be given a final copy of their appraisal form.

Follow up

Once complete, businesses do one of two things with the appraisal documentation. Many will just put it in the personnel file and forget about it until next year. Successful organisations however, will bring the document to life, making it a working, evolving and directive tool for guiding progress and development throughout the next 12 months. The documentation should be used in monthly or quarterly 121 meetings and updated where appropriate as roles change, the business evolves and set objectives are met.

Does your business carry out appraisals? Do you see a benefit in them or are they a waste of time? Do you even look at your appraisal notes during the year? We would love to know your views.

For help and assistance with any of your appraisal needs from policy to forms or training, we are happy to help.

"Yes you can" vs "No you can’t"

01 Jun
by Donna Obstfeld, posted in Absence, Contract of employment, HR Policy, Performance Management   |  No Comments

Is your business a “Yes you can” or do you suffer from “No you can’t”?
As an HR support specialist, I never know what is going to happen when I pick up the phone. In the past week, we have had three potential clients contact us for support with HR issues:

  1. Employee in probation period, not performing, gone off sick – they are a “Yes you can”
  2. Employee been working for the business for years, gone off sick with work related injury – they are a “No you can’t”
  3. Employee informed business she is going to resign when she has a new job – they are a “No you can’t”

So what determines Yes vs No.

The answer is a contract of employment. This legally required document, if written properly, gives employers a mandate to manage poor performance, to place employees on garden leave and to manage sickness absence and pay Statutory Sick Pay.
Without the contract of employment, there is lack of clarity, no mandate for strong people management decisions and neither the employee nor the employer knows where they stand over certain issues.

When employers ask for help with an issue, the first question is….. What does your contract of employment say? The typical response is…… We don’t have one.

Even if you only have 1 employee, you are legally obliged to give them a written statement of their terms and conditions aka A CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT.

Can I fire a poor performer?

01 Mar
by Donna Obstfeld, posted in Disciplinary, HR Consultancy, HR Policy, HR Support, Performance Management   |  No Comments

I have had several calls recently from potential clients looking for help managing poor performers. One of my first questions is always “Do you have a documented policy”? “Have you ever told the person they are not performing to the standards you expect”?

In most cases, managers deal with poor performance in one of two ways:

  1.  They scream and shout, they throw the work back at the individual and tell them they have done a rubbish job (usually in stronger language) and they threaten to fire them if they do not improve their performance.
  2. They don’t want to cause a conflict, they don’t say anything to the employee, they redo the work themselves and they wonder why the employee does not learn.

Neither of these approaches is good for your business. They do not resolve the problem and they can have costly consequences. So what should employers do? Here are five top tips:

  1. Have a Performance Management Policy which provides for both positive and negative behaviours
  2. Have regular reviews with all staff and provide objective and constructive feedback
  3. Praise good performance – it is so easy to forget to say “Well Done” when someone has done a good job
  4. Set objectives and measure progress towards these
  5. Have a robust disciplinary policy and process to rely on, should all else fail

Managing employees well is an art and takes knowledge and practice. Many employers know what they want, but enabling employees to achieve it can be harder.

How do you manage poor performance?

Do you reward good performance?
What top tops would you share?