If you are regular users of either the Steadfast HR Resources or the Gold Seal HR Resources, you will know they contain a Performance Management system based on traditional procedures, e.g. it contains a rating system and a review of past performance as well as development for future performance. These are tools that have been around for a considerable amount of time.
Internally at Gold Seal, the team also felt that the system was tired and needed a shift - but to what, and for what purpose?
So we put our heads together, had a look at the trends and asked ourselves, if we were to devise something new, what would the wish list look like? What parts of the old system were really irritating to use and which did we want to keep?
We had some “must haves” and some “must get rid ofs” of course. Key amongst these were:
- We didn’t want too many forms
- We wanted something that would align our people with what we wanted to achieve as a business
- We wanted to get rid of what was perceived as the awful bits - like the ratings system, which HR practitioners have believed for a very long time was deeply flawed
- We wanted a great deal more positivity in the process
- It must keep us compliant with workplace relations legislation
- If we were going to offer it to our clients, it needed to keep them compliant with Chapter 7 of the Corporations Act as well, specifically RG 104 and 105
So we nutted it out. We call it the “Objectives Review” process and its key features are:
- It accompanies , reflects and implements the Business Plan
- It has no ratings
- There is no past performance assessment
- There’s a lot of talk of the future and planning workforce and individual skills for what the future holds
- The language is positive
- It introduces a switch to more regular “coaching” type sessions rather than formal reviews
- How do I implement the business plan?
- How can I find a performance management system that doesn’t affect morale like appraisals do?
- How do I get my team aligned with my business objectives?
Before you start, make or revise your position descriptions
1. For the system to work, you will need complete, accurate and current position descriptions complete with behaviours. Seek feedback that they are accurate and clear to those using them.
Prepare your business plan
Specific – target a specific area for improvement or achievement
Measurable – quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress
Assignable – specify who will do it
Realistic – state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources
Time-related – specify when the result(s) can be achieved
4. Have your first Objectives Review meeting with your team members (or give this task to your line managers)
6. Set dates for your first “coaching” session. We suggest you or your line managers conduct these quarterly but it’s up to you. Some companies do them monthly – they are much shorter than typical performance appraisals and we’ve found they only take 20 minutes or so – but you may find that monthly is too onerous for you
Your employees will have a system of review that will make it impossible to ignore gaps in performance. Underperformance against objectives will be revealed in a kinder fashion than previously; where employees may have seen performance reviews as something that was “done to them”, it is shown to be an interactive process where agreement is reached on goals and objectives and progress is discussed regularly. There will be no surprises.
1. This system purposely does not address performance counselling. If you need to address poor performance or behavioural issues, do not wait for the objective review discussions. Conduct them separately and (we can’t stress this enough) promptly. It’s outside of this system of objectives reviews.
2. It also doesn’t address those meetings that may be required from time to time, when you do a bit of a health check with your people; find out what makes them tick, what’s making them happy or unhappy, what drives them, what their hopes dreams and aspirations are. Having those discussions are also necessary, whether you like them or not as managers. If you want to you can include them in your objectives review sessions or coaching sessions, or you may prefer them to be separate. Over to you.
It’s difficult to convey a system and its benefits in a paper like this. So, in late May, we will conduct a webinar, free of charge, where we invite you to express your interest. This is both so we can tell you what we’re thinking and get some feedback from you and interested parties.
In the meantime, we would love to hear your thoughts on this new approach.
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