In my blog ‘Monitoring Performance: How to Put Together A Monitoring Plan’ I propose (not surprisingly given the title) that a planned and structured approach to monitoring performance of our employees is important and effective. Sometimes, though, when I share this approach with managers, I hear this question:
What’s the point of planning to monitor performance when I sit next to my employee?
Good point. Here are a couple of answers:
1. Monitoring Performance – The Challenge of the Brouhaha
Of course when you work closely with your employees you will be aware of how they are performing. You’ll know, for example, that they are strong at dealing with irate customers but not so strong at bringing solutions to problems
However there’s quite a difference between;
a) Being generally aware of how your employee is performing and
b) Having specific examples and samples of performance that you can use to give your employees the feedback they want and need – feedback that’s specific, objective and factual
The truth is, it’s so easy in the ‘brouhaha’ of everyday working life to forget to make a note of the specific examples of your employees performance – the specific examples that make the difference between great performance feedback and wasted performance feedback
2. Monitoring Performance – The Good, the Bad and the…?
I’m sure you notice when your employee does something great or something awful. What you might not notice (unless you plan to notice by monitoring performance) is when your employee does something good or something that could use just a little improvement
The difficulty is, without a planned approach to monitoring performance, you’re not likely to take notice of each aspect of your employee’s performance so you won’t then gain a view of your employees ‘whole’ performance. When we come to review performance – and particularly when we appraise performance – it’s important that we’re able to review the employee’s whole performance (not just the particularly great or the spectacularly bad)
OK, OK (I hear you say) but things will happen that are unplanned. For example, if you overhear your employee dealing particularly well with a challenging customer you won’t want to ignore that simply because you’re not planning to monitor customer service this week. That would be daft. So here’s what you can do
Monitoring Performance – Recording the Unplanned
1. Open a performance file for each employee
This can be a physical or electronic file – whichever you prefer. The important thing is that you make it easy to add comments and add samples and examples of work on an ongoing basis
2. Write down your observations
When you notice your employee doing something ‘interesting’ write down your observations (on the back of an envelope if that’s what you’ve got to hand – it doesn’t matter). Quickly record things like the date, time, what happened, what they did, outcomes and stick it in the file. You don’t need to write a novel – just enough to be a able to give your employee some specific feedback when the time comes
3. Collect and file a range of samples and examples
Get into the habit of grabbing examples of your employees work; good reports, examples of work, written feedback etc. Just open the file and stick it in!
A word of caution!
A word about performance files. When your employee knows there is a file on their performance they may want to look at it. In most countries they have a legal right to do so. So don’t make any comments in that file that you wouldn’t be happy for your employee to see (‘all the personality of a plank’ would be a good example)
Summary – Getting into the habit of monitoring performance
Like many things about effective people management, monitoring performance is all about good habits. With monitoring performance it’s all about getting into the habit of regularly collecting examples and samples of your employee’s performance
Would you like to learn – in just 10 minutes – some new strategies for monitoring performance?
Just like the ad – this 10 minute guide does just what it says it will do. A useful aid memoire prior to staff appraisals to remind me, as a manager, what I can do to make the process more effective and productive for staff and myself. Logically written, easy to read with relevant work place examples you can follow and relate to – would recommend.
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