Performance Management Made Easy

A two column list can make you an effective performance manager.
A two column list can make you an effective performance manager.

As many of you know there is a huge argument about performance appraisal and whether we should eliminate it or not. I come down on the side of “not.” I think people want to know how their boss perceives their work.

Easy method

A student in my PHR prep class sent me an article called This is why people leave your company by Josh Cincinnati where he interviewed Carly Guthrie, principal of Guthrie HR Consulting. It is an excellent article and Guthrie doles out some very strong advice, strongly recommend you click through and read it. But there was one point she made I thought was brilliant and it dealt with performance management.
She related some advice that a general manager had given her when she was working in a restaurant. That general manager told her:

“If we’re doing our job as leaders, a performance review should only be two columns: Column A is what you do great and Column B is what you do not-so-great. Now, here’s how we move things from Column B to Column A.”

I think that is a concept that most managers could get behind which make them much more likely to do it effectively. It is also something most employees could embrace as well, because, if backed up by data it takes the subjectivity out of the process. Subjectivity is the largest area of complaint about the performance review process.

A little process and a little training

To be effective at this method, managers will have to be taught how to collect the appropriate performance data. They will also have to be taught how to deliver it in a non-judgmental manner.
If you have been struggling with performance management give this a try. Maybe the balance sheet method will work for you.

2 thoughts on “Performance Management Made Easy”

  1. A very good way to look at it! My only adjustment would be to realize that you don’t have to put something in column B. I think we have a tendency to find something that isn’t going so well out of habit. Sometimes you have that stand out employee who does everything right, and identifying that ‘critical feedback’ can be very difficult. In these cases, I usually provide feedback that the employee is doing a great job, but there are things (in column A) that he or she could do MORE. For example, they may do a great job mentoring other employees when asked. The feedback might be that I want to see more of that behavior from them, without having to be asked. Thanks!

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