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Managing performance

What makes a high performance workplace and how to encourage your staff to strive to do well.

In this section we consider managing and encouraging high performance. For how to manage poor performance due to capability and disciplinary issues, see the section on Involuntary termination.

High-performing workplaces

Good performance benefits both employees and organisations. When employees are performing at their best they are most likely to feel motivated, engaged and confident and generate new ideas that will benefit the organisation and the people it serves. A high-performing workplace is an enjoyable place to work!

In order for employees to perform at their best, organisations need to provide the environment and structure in which employees can thrive. The following factors are important:

  • good leadership
  • trust and empowerment throughout the organisation
  • 'permission' to make and learn from mistakes
  • policies that are fair and ethical
  • practices that cover hygiene factors and motivate
  • support and encouragement to develop
  • congruence between personal and organisational values.

SMARTASS objectives to encourage high performance

Objectives should be set to encourage high performance. SMARTASS objectives are:

  • specific
  • measureable
  • achievable
  • relevant
  • time-bound
  • agreed
  • stimulating
  • stretching.

Performance management tools and techniques

Performance management works best when an integrated approach to development is considered. Most organisations will use a variety of the following:

  • induction
  • initial performance review
  • one-to-one meetings
  • appraisals
  • continuing professional development (CPD)
  • development tools and techniques.

Performance management responsibilities

The responsibility for performance management lies with the organisation, the line manager and the employee.

At organisational level the correct policies, procedures and opportunities needs to be in place. Organisations need to actively encourage a 'learning culture'. For case studies visit the CIPD website – learning culture.

Line managers need to proactively encourage and support development of their team members. This includes discussing with employees what they hope to gain from learning activities before they commence them and then holding follow-up discussions once the learning activity has been completed. For example, 'what were the most valuable things you learnt from the project and how will you use these learnings in future'.

Whilst the organisation and the line manager need to provide the environment and support to enable successful learning and development, the responsibility should always lie with the employee: each person should take ownership of their own development.

Page last edited Apr 13, 2017

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