Eight Steps to Creating a Great Employee Performance Plan

As an executive search consultant who often trains manager coaches I often work with clients to develop effective employee performance evaluation guidelines that result in an employee performance plan and a performance appraisal program for employees and manager coaches to use effectively. Increasingly these employees are either generation x millennials or generation y millennials. Understanding how millennials at work perform is important for every company seeking to succeed in the new economy.

employee performance plan
Employee performance plan

What is performance appraisal you may ask? Let’s first look at the definition of evaluation and appraisal. Evaluation determines the significance or worth of someone, usually by careful appraisal and study. Appraisal is to evaluate the worth, significance, or status of someone.

One of the central elements to effective performance appraisal is the employee performance plan. There are as many performance appraisal examples available for use as there are evaluators – well almost. Over the years I have settled on eight steps to creating an effective and lasting performance appraisal program. It all relies on these job performance evaluation criteria being employed in the employee performance plan.

1. Joint Planning & Communication

You need to establish and maintain a joint planning and communication process between you and the employee that focuses on what the employee is expected to accomplish during the performance period. You need to establish this process to enable the plan and ongoing communication and use it regularly during the performance review period.

2. Seek Agreement on Measurable Results

You need to ensure that the employee’s performance is evaluated in terms of measurable results and to describe how these results are achieved. Many performance evaluation methods use a performance evaluation form to list the areas to evaluate, what metrics will be used to measure results, and to describe how these results can be achieved (often by suggesting methods to implement).

3. Establish Clear & Explicit Goals

It is important for you and the employee to establish clear and explicit performance goals and provide meaningful feedback, using a communication process that makes sure both the employee and you have agreed what are the objective indicators of whether performance objectives are met, in order to maximize performance.

4. Establish a Year-Round Communication Process

You need to create a process that facilitates ongoing, year-round communication concerning what the employee is expected to accomplish, how well s/he is meeting these performance objectives, and what steps need to be taken by you and the employee to ensure that the objectives are met.

5. Promote Professional Development

You and the employee need to identify a plan that can promote the employee’s professional development, often including a discussion of educational and training opportunities necessary to promote that professional development.

6. Identify Corrective Action Needs

You need to identify corrective action that needs to be taken by the employee and you in those instances where the employee has not accomplished a performance objective.

7. Identify the Consequences

You and the employee need to identify the consequences when the employee has not accomplished a performance objective. These consequences need to be discussed at the commencement of an employee performance plan and periodically reviewed for relevancy during the performance review period.

8. Establish Basis for Pay for Performance

You and the employee need to establish a reliable and rational basis for determining pay based upon performance. These metrics need to be discussed and established at the commencement of the performance review period.

You may have noticed I have emphasized continuous communication, feedback, observation, and evaluation in the employee performance plan. Any consulting firm performance employee review process established still needs to rely on you as the manager coach. Evaluations are not difficult yet they do require that you and the employee pay attention to the plan.

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