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Rob is very kind but stern when dealing with all intricate matters surrounding HR. Having been in difficult situations as employer as well as employee, Rob's advice is fair to all parties involved and aims to steer away from costly and emotionally draining situations. more »
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Tips for effective performance discussions

Performance discussions are often totally avoided or are handled very badly. The reason being is that they can be the bearers of bad news and perceived as being highly confrontational. Many organisations struggle to follow through on their performance management systems because of this, leading to passivity, lack of accountability and poor performance standards. These three tips are very useful to use in a performance discussion.

1. Identify the most important issue - Identify the “one big thing” the employee needs to work on. People can only work on one or two issues at a time, so even if there are several areas for development select the highest payoff issue. Ask yourself, “if the employee improved upon this aspect of performance would it increase overall effectiveness?” If the answer is a resounding yes, then you have uncovered the “one thing”. If the answer is “no”, or “well, maybe”, then keep looking.
Managers often give blanket statements, indicating that everything about the individual is not working. They struggle to get specific.

2. Craft the message - Create a statement describing what you want the employee to develop by describing the opposite of the area for performance improvement. In Steve’s case the message might sound something like this, “Given that you’re interested in a sales engineering role there’s one aspect of your performance that you’ll need some coaching on. In a customer facing role, particularly during the pre-sales period, it’s key to project a down to business formal persona. Would you be open to some coaching in this area?”

3. Manage the discussion - There is a better chance that the employee will be open to hearing what you have to say when the discussion is approached in a helpful “here’s what I’d like to see you develop” manner as opposed to a “here is the problem with you and all of the examples that prove the problem”. Demonstrate your support on the developmental areas while making it clear that the employee is ultimately responsible for reaching performance objectives. Conclude performance discussions by assessing and confirming the employee’s willingness to take responsibility for the area of development.

For further assistance with Performance Management call 0861HRadvice!

About the Author:

Diana has a Human Resources degree and Associate in Management qualification through the Graduate School of Business (UCT). Diana has developed training courses and workshops using DISC methodology. Diana is radically passionate about many things…especially colour, fabrics, perfumes, cosmetics, gardening, health, spicy food, sushi, the East, shopping…and books, lots of books.