Coaching Managers Through the Performance Review Process – Part 2


Achieve greater results from your performance review process by implementing one-on-one coaching with your managers.

As a Human Resources professional, you know how difficult it can be for an organization to best manage the performance of its employees – good, bad and otherwise. In this two-part series, we’re looking at how to address the following questions:

  1. I don’t know how to initiate a discussion with a bad performer. He/she’s been with the company for a long time.
  2. My employees often rate themselves as above average. Sometimes its just easier to agree with their self-review ratings.
  3. I have an employee on my team who is a super star. What can I do to make sure he/she is rewarded for exceptional performance?

Part one of this series focused on the importance of training managers as part of the performance management process. In part two of this series, we’re exploring the value of one-on-one coaching of managers and how it can help improve employee performance, retain top talent and reward exceptional performance.
One-on-One Coaching:
Your human resources department is the soul of company; it listens to your problems, offers suggestions on how to address issues, and – figuratively speaking – holds your hand through the difficult times. Although Human Resources is not responsible for the overall outcomes of each department, it is responsible for coaching managers through the performance review process. Marsha Moulton highlights the role HR plays in today’s modern workplace:
“HR’s most important contribution to a company’s strategy is performance management.”
Today’s HR professional is no longer just a generalist but an HR Business Partner. This means they need to understand department goals and support the department managers as they go through the process on a daily, weekly, monthly, semi annual or annual basis.
Today’s real-time performance management requires managers to identify and address issues as soon as they are discovered. What this means is communication is happening back and forth between the manager and employee on a consistent basis, correcting and realigning, just as a football coach observes and corrects the actions of its players as the play is happening.
Let’s first talk about addressing poor performance. HR should provide a foundation in which to address performance and behaviors that may be contributing to poor performance. Your HR Business Partner can talk through the situation to help the manager identify the underlying issues for the poor performance.
Questions to ask here include:

  • Were goals clearly defined and communicated?
  • Were the tools necessary for success available to the employee?
  • Was the goal assigned to an employee who had barriers to success, such as knowledge gaps?
  • Did changes take place that resulted in additional goals being assigned?
  • With the new goals was everything achievable?
  • Were there personal barriers to success?

Your HR Business Partner can help you chart a plan of action to correct the performance while keeping in mind workplace laws and other government regulations that need to be considered. This type of coaching is essential in today’s workplace and expected from your HR team. Performance Improvement Plans (PIPs) and Corrective Discipline are two vehicles to communicate and document activities that may fall outside of a manager’s scope of knowledge. They can also be incorporated into the performance management system so everything about each employee’s performance can be stored in one single system.
If your company uses a dynamic performance management system, your managers will have one single source to keep notes, update progress, chart changes and realign goals if the company focus changes. Having real-time updates available to everyone in the company, from executives to managers and line staff, will eliminate the ambiguity that creates disagreement in how the employee thinks they performed verses how the manager has documented the performance. Regardless of how often you touch base with your employees on their performance, it should never be a surprise that performance is falling below expectations. When managers coach employees in a transparent fashion and do so on a consistent basis, it creates a win-win situation for the employee, the team and the company.
Although we’ve focused on how to coach for poor performance, let’s not forget about those who are exceeding your expectations. Managers should consistently be communicating with their best performers to enforce their value and retain them as employees. Your HR Department is one place to go to discuss options for rewarding these star performers. HR should encourage managers to design incentives to reward performance that drives business results. When using a performance management system that operates in real-time, progress on performance can be tracked, documented and tied directly to corporate goals set to increase ROI. When performance is showcased for executives to see, this strengthens the manager’s ability to get bonuses and other extrinsic rewards in place.
Want a little help in designing a Rewards Plan designed to keep your top performers? More insights about rewards and motivating top performers is available in a study conducted by Loyola University and the Hay Group.
Or, if you are ready for more support in your performance management process, consider scheduling a free demo of entomo today!

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