The Performance Management Cycle

The performance management cycle (see below) shows the stages involved in the process of planning, monitoring and evaluating employee performance.

Performance Planning

The planning stage provides an opportunity for one-on-one goal setting between the supervisor and employee based on work unit objectives that are aligned with organizational goals. It is a way to ensure individual action plans and performance expectations are linked to the organizational results you want to achieve. It is also a way to foster ongoing open communication concerning expectations and employee needs.

Ongoing Monitoring

Performance management should be a dynamic process. Progress on objectives must be monitored with continual appropriate feedback and discussion throughout the year.

Feedback on performance can come from a variety of sources such as the work itself, the employee, the supervisor, clients, as well as other employees involved in the same work. Regular monitoring of activities is a systematic way to determine whether the plans and methods to achieve objectives are working as intended. Organizational changes (e.g., budgeting, business priorities) may occur that affect the employee’s ability to achieve the original objectives, possibly resulting in a requirement to adjust the employee’s performance plan.

Schedule regular progress reviews to determine:

  • what is the status of the work in progress,
  • what needs revision,
  • what should be maintained,
  • what can be improved and how to improve it,
  • how the employee’s performance has been to date.

Informal feedback is not necessarily planned, it is spontaneous, and occurs preferably right after the supervisor (or a colleague, a client) makes an observation. It is meant to reinforce desirable behaviours, and to modify unwanted behaviours or to provide pointers on how to improve performance.

Evaluating Performance

The process of evaluating performance is a collaborative effort. Employees review their accomplishments from their perspective through a self-assessment process using a performance assessment tool. This provides employees with an opportunity to highlight how they have met objectives or exceeded performance expectations and indicates challenges they are facing.

The more employees participate in goal-setting, the preparation of the evaluation review, and the review itself, the more they will be satisfied with the appraisal process, be motivated to improve, and feel the appraisal process is fair.

A formal review discussion between the supervisor and the employee is the final stage in the performance evaluation. This is usually conducted on an annual basis and provides an opportunity both to review performance and to establish objectives for the upcoming year. It is also an opportunity to identify training and development needs and opportunities for employees.

Newsletter Issue:
HR Microscope January 2015