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Most business leaders buy-in to the fact that effective performance management is an important way to get the most of your staff, and ultimately for their businesses to achieve their goals

But making the most of the performance management process is a complex task to master. Particularly when business-critical issues are leading you astray.

Help is at hand though. This quick checklist, gives you the tips and advice you need when giving your performance management process an MOT:

Our Quick Performance Management Checklist:

√ Create A Policy That’s Well Communicated To Staff And Regularly Reviewed
Creating HR policies and procedures isn’t just about ticking boxes. Your documentation should support the day-to-day running of your business, prevent any problems from occurring and ensure that you have a clear route to follow if things go wrong. Done correctly, they can save you a load of time, money, and hassle. If you don’t have a performance management policy that your staff know about and understand, then this needs to be your first action point.

It should be noted here that any HR policy needs to be regularly reviewed. Is it fulfilling its purpose? Is there room for improvement? Are there certain issues that keep arising, that need to be tackled? If you haven’t recently reviewed your documentation, then take this as a reminder to do so.

√ Design A Framework To Manage Conversations

There needs to be a degree of flexibility in your conversations, and each and every member of staff will be different. Still though, having a framework that allows you to structure the meetings and cover key points is essential.

Exactly what you decide to include will depend on the nature of your business, but you’ll want to consider how you’ll include positive feedback, how you’ll introduce areas that need to be improved and how you’ll set goals.

√ Upskill Your Line Managers

As your business grows, it’s unlikely that you will be able to manage all the performance discussions. The responsibility will be passed over to your line managers and this of course makes sense if they are the ones who staff report to on a daily basis.

So make sure they are armed with the appropriate skills and training. Are they confident with the task? Do they understand its importance? And are they operating within the policies and frameworks that you have created?

√ Ensure That You Have A Comfortable And Private Setting To Hold Discussions

A no-brainer you would think, but when we’re under time pressure, it’s details like this that can be forgotten. What you discuss in performance management meetings should be confidential, so make sure that you’re making your staff feel welcome, comfortable, and at ease. If necessary, book a slot in a meeting room, and make it clear that interruptions are unacceptable unless there’s an emergency.

√ Always Agree On Any Action Points

During the discussion, there’ll be action points for your employee to take away. Even the highest performing staff will have priorities to work on, so they can continue to make a solid contribution and expand their skills, knowledge, and capabilities.

The key to success here is ensuring that the action points are agreed to. They shouldn’t be simply thrust upon the individual without any discussion or agreement. Getting your staff onboard with the goals will make sure that they’re committed to bringing them into fruition.

√ Make Sure That Goals And Progress Are Regularly Revisited And Assessed

Performance management isn’t just about holding a few meetings once a quarter. If you want to facilitate big improvements and exceptional progress, then you need to make sure that performance is something that is engrained in your business culture.

Encourage your line managers to check-in regularly with their direct reports, provide regular feedback, and diligently collate information that helps them build up a picture of how things are going. These things can take time, for sure, but they’re very worthy items on any manager’s agenda.

√ Ask The Individual To Share Their Views And Opinions

Some people think that a performance discussion simply involves the member of staff being ‘talked at’, for half an hour. This should never be the case. Always ask individuals to share their thoughts on how they’ve performed over the past quarter, and what they think they need to focus on in the near future.

You might unearth important information that you hadn’t previously thought about, and making it a two-way conversation shows your staff that you respect and value their contribution.

√ Welcome Feedback On Your Own Performance

You no doubt spend a decent amount of time thinking about how you can get the most out of your workforce. But are you giving them everything they need from a  business leader?

If you’re not already doing so, think about how you might be able to collect meaningful and honest feedback from your members of staff. Being a good leader is an ongoing process, and you need to have continuous development on your list of priorities, always.

√ End Discussions On A Supportive And Positive Note

Often, there will be less than favourable feedback that needs to be delivered in performance discussions. It’s essential that you and your managers are comfortable when it comes to handling the more negative aspects. Still though, it should never be all doom and gloom. Feedback should always be 70% positive and 30% constructive (if possible!).

If improvements need to be made, then you need to make it clear that you aren’t just ‘telling your staff off’. They should leave the meeting feel supported, and positive about the changes that they’re going to make.

√ Keep Your Admin In Order

Sometimes, admin can be overlooked. Surely, what’s important here is that you’re having conversations that inspire and motivate your staff, and encourage them to do their best in their roles? Whilst this is true, you also need to make sure that the paperwork is in order – it’s in your interests as well as their’s…

Having full and accurate records is essential for continuity purposes and it also ensures that you have documentation that backs up your decisions. And It’s worthwhile taking a look at your systems here, and asking yourself whether they’re the best they could possibly be.

Need a little help?

If you’ve recognised that your performance management processes have some room for improvement, then get in touch. We can help you to assess where you are right now, and where you need to make changes. Give us a call today on 0203 627 7048 or drop us an email at and we can arrange to have a no-obligation chat.