Effective performance management is crucial for organizational success. As a manager, it is your responsibility to ensure that your team delivers results in line with the organization’s needs. However, conventional methods of monitoring employee performance, despite offering a dedicated platform for feedback and evaluation, are facing increasing criticism. Conducting a performance discussion once a year consumes a significant amount of time, induces stress for both you and your team, and offers no guarantee of improvement. Organizations relying on traditional performance management to engage, motivate, and nurture their workforce are discovering that these methods fall short of their intended outcomes. Furthermore, annual cycles, starting with goal setting and concluding with a formal review, fail to provide the agility demanded from employees in today’s dynamic work environment.

In today’s rapidly changing business environment, it is crucial to adopt an ongoing and flexible approach to performance management. This strategy preserves the positive aspects of traditional performance management while incorporating new and innovative ideas. By following the recommendations in this article, you will explore new ways to seamlessly integrate performance management into your daily activities. This includes continuously monitoring employee progress, providing regular feedback and check-ins, and creating opportunities for growth, while fulfilling any annual requirements mandated by your organization. What is performance management? And what are the practical steps to take to effectively manage employee performance?

Before we address the above questions, I would like us to clear up some misconceptions about performance management:

Misconception #1: The first misconception we need to resolve is that “Performance Management is only about annual reviews”. Many believe that performance management is limited to annual performance reviews, missing the ongoing nature of the process. The reality is that performance management is not a once-a-year event but a continuous process involving goal setting, regular check-ins, feedback sessions, and adjustments to goals as needed.

Misconception #2: Performance Management is solely the responsibility of HR: Some think that performance management (PM) is solely the responsibility of the Human Resources (HR) department. The truth is that, while HR plays a supportive role, line managers are key players in day-to-day performance management and its success. They are responsible for setting clear expectations, providing timely feedback, and supporting employee development.

Misconception #3: It’s a one-size-fits-all approach: A common misconception is that a standardized approach works for every employee regardless of their role or characteristics. The reality is that effective performance management recognizes individual differences. It considers individual strengths, weaknesses, and aspirations. This personalized approach fosters a more engaged and motivated workforce.


Misconception#4: Feedback should only be negative: Some believe that feedback in performance management should only focus on areas needing improvement. The truth, however, is that constructive feedback involves recognizing and reinforcing positive behaviour as well. A balanced approach that acknowledges achievements and strengths is vital for employee motivation and growth.

Having cleared up these misconceptions, let us now focus on what performance management is, and the key steps to ensuring effective performance management.

Performance management is a systematic and strategic approach to ensuring that employees contribute effectively to the achievement of organizational goals. It involves a continuous process of setting expectations, monitoring progress, developing capabilities, and evaluating performance. According to the Harvard Business Review, high-performing organizations use performance management to achieve three goals: to develop employee skills and capabilities, to reward them equitably, and to drive overall organizational performance. As a manager, you have the flexibility to tailor your performance management process, facilitating your team and employees in delivering impactful results for the organization while supporting their professional growth.

Indeed, performance management methods vary depending on an organization’s strategies, values, and culture. However, they usually involve establishing employee goals, monitoring progress, offering continuous feedback, coaching, enhancing employees’ skills and strengths, and occasionally conducting formal evaluations. The key components of the performance management process which includes performance assessment, feedback, and development are ongoing, indicating that performance management is a process and not an event. The following are the key steps you can take as a manager to effectively manage the performance of your team:

  1. Clear Expectations: Clearly communicate performance expectations to your employees. Define key responsibilities, goals, and deadlines. Clarity fosters a shared understanding of what success looks like and aligns individual efforts with organizational objectives.
  2. Employee Involvement: Involve employees in the goal-setting and performance management process. Encourage them to contribute ideas and provide insights into their own performance. This fosters a sense of ownership and engagement.
  3. Goal Alignment: Ensure that individual goals align with broader organizational objectives. This creates a sense of purpose and unity, fostering a team-oriented mindset. Regularly revisit and realign goals to adapt to changing business priorities.
  4. Regular Feedback: Establish a culture of continuous feedback. Regular, constructive feedback enhances employee development and keeps performance on track. Encourage open communication channels and provide both positive reinforcement and constructive criticism in a timely manner.
  5. Employee Development: Invest in the growth and development of your employees. Identify areas for improvement and provide training opportunities. A skilled workforce not only performs better but also contributes to the long-term success of the organization.
  6. Recognition and Rewards: Acknowledge and reward exceptional performance. Recognition serves as a powerful motivator and reinforces positive behaviours. Implement a fair and transparent rewards system to encourage a culture of excellence.
  7. Performance Metrics: Implement key performance indicators (KPIs) to objectively measure performance. Establish metrics that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). But beyond that, consider making the PM goals FAST FAD: Framed in time, with clear deadlines, Aligned with organizational strategy and beneficial to the company, Specific and measurable, Tailored to the individual, Future-focused, Achievable but challenging, Documented but not forgotten. Regularly evaluate these metrics to track progress and identify areas for improvement.
  8. Regular Performance Reviews: Conduct regular performance reviews to discuss achievements, challenges, and future goals. Use these reviews as an opportunity for open dialogue, addressing concerns, and setting expectations for the upcoming period.
  9. Flexibility and Adaptability: Be flexible and adaptable in your approach to performance management. Recognize that individual needs and circumstances may vary. Tailor your management style to accommodate different working styles and provide support where needed.
  10. Continuous Improvement: Embrace a culture of continuous improvement. Regularly evaluate and refine your performance management processes. Seek feedback from employees to understand what is working well and where improvements can be made.

Effectively managing employee performance requires a strategic and people-centric approach. By setting clear expectations, providing regular feedback, aligning goals, investing in development of your employees, and fostering a culture of recognition, managers can create a high-performance work environment that contributes to organizational success. I hope this article helps you in improving your performance management process. How have you been managing the performance of your employees? How is PM done in your organisation? Do you have any tips on effective performance management? Please, leave your responses under the comments’ section.


Author: Patricia Abena Kissi (HR Consultant, Author, and CEO, SEDAT Consult Ltd)

This article is powered by SEDAT Consult Ltd. SEDAT Consult provides HR solutions in the areas of recruitment and talent acquisition, staff and HR outsourcing, HR consulting, training and development, salary benchmarking, compensation and benefits management, job analysis and evaluation, performance management, and general HR advisory. Visit our website: for more information or call +233 (0) 24 462 9245 and let’s discuss how we can meet your HR needs.

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