Essential employee performance management practices

| May 9, 2012

Goal management, regular feedback and employee development are key to creating a good workforce. Sean Conrad shares his ideas on how to make the most of these employee performance management practices.

Since your staff are your most strategic resource, and your only sustainable competitive advantage, it makes sense to invest in HR practices that help maximise employee performance.


Here are 3 basic employee performance management practices that every mid-sized company should have in place:

1.     Goal management
2.     Regular feedback
3.     Employee development

Goal management is about more than just assigning employees goals, and then evaluating whether or not they accomplished them. It’s about aligning your workforce and harnessing everyone’s time, skills and energy.

Start by setting organisational goals and communicating these to all staff. From there, every employee should work with their manager to establish individual goals that are pertinent to their job/role, and that in some way contribute to organisational goals. Then everyone, including the organisation, needs to periodically evaluate and communicate their performance and progress. This is crucial to employee engagement and organisational progress.

Effective goal alignment and management lets every employee know how their work contributes to the organisation’s success, and allows management to know that everyone is “working on the right things”.

Next, it’s important to ensure that every employee gets regular feedback on their performance, so they know what they’re doing well, and where they can improve. While managers should give their employees informal feedback on an ongoing basis, they often don’t.

So it’s important to setup a formal process to ensure employees get the feedback they need to develop and succeed. Most mid-sized companies conduct performance appraisals annually, but many also find it effective to hold semi-annual or quarterly reviews. Giving frequent feedback is the best way to foster high performance, demonstrate a commitment to employee success, and address performance gaps early on, before they become big problems.

Finally, managers should regularly identify employee strengths and areas for development. The best employees are those who continually develop and expand their skills. Managers should consider both the company’s and the employee’s goals, then put development plans in place to help improve or expand the employee’s skills and expertise in needed areas.

Remember, development doesn’t always mean taking a course. Learning can happen through: webinars, volunteer activities, work assignments, job shadowing, mentoring, reading, etc. Just ensure the activity has been effective by looking for performance improvements.

These three basic employee performance management practices are vital to the success of your employees and your company. Adopting them will help ensure your continued growth and success.


Sean Conrad is a Certified Human Capital Strategist and Senior Product Analyst at Halogen Software.