Performance management is an on-going process involving a series of activities to help employees succeed and attain organizational goals. It should not be relegated to a once-a-year annual review process. When done well, performance management is a conversation between the employee and their supervisor/manager that includes discussions about employee goals, expectations, hopes and visions, as well as clear and thoughtful feedback from the supervisor about strengths, areas of growth and opportunity.
This section outlines some of the best practices related to supporting and growing your staff. It provides you with clear guidelines and forms to use when having performance management discussions with staff. By using these tools, it is hoped you will have meaningful and thoughtful staff engagement that fosters and encourages organizational success.
If you have additional questions or concerns, please consult your Engagement Partner.
ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES
- Provide regular and thoughtful feedback to employees.
- Share their reflections of the employee’s work and identify areas where the employee has succeeded and/or challenged themselves, as well as areas where the employee needs to continue to learn and grow.
- Guide the conversation and allow the employee a chance to share and elaborate on their past year’s performance.
- Finalize their assessment of the employee’s level of competence in the core areas of their job.
- If applicable, determine the employee’s salary progression adjustment for the coming year.
- Reflect on their performance over the past year, noting areas of success and growth and identifying goals for the coming year.
- Engage employees in regular conversations about performance, expectations, areas of strength and growth.
- Schedule regular check-ins. Use check-ins to provide real-time feedback and coaching.
- Set up regular review meetings to discuss progress towards achieving goals established in the performance plan. At minimum, schedule two (2) probationary review meetings during the probation period and an annual review every calendar year.
- Identify and proactively address any performance issues to help prevent escalation.
- Do not wait for a scheduled check-in to bring up an issue. Provide regular feedback to the employee to keep them engaged and feeling valued.
- Where areas of growth or concern are identified, follow-up any formal or informal discussion with the employee with an email to the individual documenting the conversation (e.g., ‘Thank you for meeting with me to today. I appreciated the opportunity to share my reflections on the events … As discussed, my expectation is…’). These documented discussions can be useful later should the problem not be resolved and you need to prove that these issues have been discussed with the employee.
- Maintain confidential and objective documentation of issues and actions taken.
- Support the growth and development of your employee by actively supporting and seeking out professional development opportunities for them. This can be anything from funding participation in a conference or a course, to forwarding them interesting articles.
- If performance issues seem to be escalating, review information found in the Discipline & Termination section.
- Creating a professional development policy and/or protocol that outlines your organization’s commitment to employee growth. This can include supporting employees to identify professional development opportunities and requesting either paid time off, or funding support that will be considered on a case-by-case basis. It can also include a more formal arrangement such as allocating a designated amount of money per employee, per year for a professional development event or activity that has mutual benefit to the employee and the organization.
- See the Professional Development section.
- See the Employee Handbook Template for a potential professional development policy.
- Having a third [neutral] party attend performance review meetings to take notes, be a second set of ears and to ensure the conversation is productive and safe for all parties.
Having difficult conversations is critical for the health of any organization. Difficult conversations can trigger lots of emotions in those who initiate them and/or receive them.
- Ensure you find and create a safe space to hold your discussion.
- As appropriate, give the individual advance notice about what the topic of conversation will be so they can feel prepared and ready.
- Spend time preparing for the discussion to clarify the purpose and objective of the meeting. Zero in on the key messages you wish to communicate.
- Determine what follow-up will be required and/or the timeline for addressing the identified concerns.
- Follow-up the meeting with a written email to the employee(s) involved to summarize the discussion and highlight any follow-up items and/or to-dos.
Each new employee has a probation period that commences on their start date. Standard probationary periods range from 3 months to 6 months to one (1) year. The probation period allows the employee and the employer time to mutually determine the suitability and/or fit with the organization.
- Schedule two (2) performance review meetings with each employee before the end of their probationary period – one near the early part and one near the end of the probation period.
- Give the employee clear feedback using examples to demonstrate where they have capacity and strength and where they need to grow and learn.
- Collectively define achievable goals for the probationary period to demonstrate capacity in the role and gain exposure to all aspects of the position.
- Use the Performance Review - Probation Period form to collect and document feedback.
- Use the probationary review meetings as an opportunity to learn more about how the employee is enjoying the job and what additional supports they need, or questions they may have.
ANNUAL PERFORMANCE REVIEWS
- Conduct a performance review with every employee a minimum of once a year.
- Document the discussion and save in the employee’s personnel file.
- There should never be surprises in formal evaluation meetings. Identify and address performance challenges in ongoing performance management conversations. Do not save these for formal evaluation meetings.
- Use annual performance reviews to set goals and discuss the future of the organization and how the employee fits into the plan.
- As appropriate, discuss succession planning, the employee’s career plans, and/or aspirations.
- Send the employee the Performance Review - Self Assessment form to complete in advance (and return) before the meeting.
- Compare the employee’s assessment and your own assessment to identify where your thinking is aligned and mis-aligned in advance of the meeting. This will help inform the main points of discussion you wish to focus on in the meeting.
- Discuss different strategies and/or approaches they can take to build capacity and/or better work strategies to address where they may not be meeting expectations.
- Capture the discussion and any goals or strategies discussed in the Performance Review - Reviewer Assessment form and send a copy to the employee for their records and review.
- Request that the employee sign the Performance Review - Reviewer Assessment form and add any reflections that you would like to include with the document. Save in their personnel file.
- Use the annual performance review process to inform salary increases.
- See the Compensation section.
- Conduct quarterly performance check-ins with staff.
- Provide learning opportunities that are essential for the growth and development of employees.
- If organization-wide professional development opportunities are not feasible, the employer may choose to give each employee a yearly stipend to spend on training and certification programs.
- The employer must plan ahead for potential vacancies in key positions. To identify which positions should be the highest priority, consider the following:
- Risk of the vacancy occurring
- Organizational and/or team impact of the vacancy
- Current short- and long-term plan to address each position if a vacancy were to occur
- Contacting your Engagement Partner for additional support