Before designing the performance management forms, it is necessary to be quite clear about their purpose. The following questions need to be answered −
● To what extent are these working documents for use by managers and their staff?
● What information does the HR department need about the outcome of performance reviews?
● How is the quality of performance reviews to be assured?
● How can employees be reassured that they will not become the victims of prejudiced or biased reports?
There is no doubt that the main purpose of any performance management form is to serve as a working document. They should be in continual use by managers and individuals as reference documents on objectives and plans when reviewing progress.
They record agreements on performance achievements and actions to be taken to improve performance or develop competence and skills. For this reason, the forms should be owned by the manager and the individual (both parties should have a copy).
Any information the HR department needs in ratings (for performance-related pay or career planning purposes) or requests for training should be incorporated in a separate form for their use.
The employee can still be protected against unfair assessments and ratings by providing for the manager’s manager (the ‘grandparent’) to see and comment on the completed report. These comments could be shown to the individual who should have the right to appeal through a grievance procedure if he or she is still unhappy about the report.
The HR department may need to know −
● who the high-flyers are — for development and career planning;
● who the poor performers are – to consider with the line manager what action needs to be taken;
● performance ratings for performance-related pay decisions;
● recommendations on training to assess any common training needs and to initiate training action;
● about the performance of any individual who might be considered for promotion, transfer or disciplinary action.
Another factor that helps to persuade many organizations to hold copies of the review forms centrally is that a decision in an unfair dismissal case may depend on the quality of record keeping as well as the honesty of the performance review process – performance review forms may be required for evidence.
This can create a problem if a manager who has produced bland, superficial but generally favorable reports on an employee is later allowed to take disciplinary action for incapability. Employment tribunals do not look with favor on this type of inconsistency. It is always necessary for the HR department to compare review reports with the picture painted by managers when the latter request disciplinary action and to question any inconsistencies. The approach adopted by most organizations is to require at least a copy of the review form to be held centrally together with a copy of the performance agreement if this contains training and development recommendations.
Managers and individuals would, however, be encouraged to retain their own copies as working documents. It is necessary to remember the provisions of the Data Protection Act, which give employees the right to inspect any documents or records that contain personal data.
When designing performance management forms, the aim should be to keep them as simple and brief as possible while allowing ample ‘white space’ for comments. Like all good forms, they should be self-explanatory, but they may be supplemented by notes for guidance. Although documentation should be kept to a minimum, such documents as are used should be well designed and presented. A typical form is illustrated in the following figure.
There are many varieties of performance management forms used by different organizations – some more elaborate with, for example, a special ‘performance planner’ form, and some simpler ones.
All the different types of forms have the same basic themes and in some way include spaces for −
● agreed objectives
● agreed performance and personal development plans
● review of performance against objectives
● review of achievements against development plan
|PERFORMANCE AND DEVELOPMENT : AGREEMENT AND REVIEW SUMMARY|
|Reviewer’s name||Job title|
|PERFORMANCE AND DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT|
|PERFORMANCE Department PLAN|
|Development need||Competencies||Action by whom||Agreed actions|
|PERFORMANCE DEVELOPMENT REVIEW|
|Comments by reviewer:Signed: Date:|
|Comments by reviewer:Signed: Date:|
Web-based software can make it easy for managers and employees to record role profiles and performance agreements including performance improvement and personal development plans and objectives, monitor progress against the plans, access online performance documents, and gather multi-source (360-degree appraisal) comments.
All these data can be used to assist in performance reviews and record further agreements emerging from the reviews. The aim is to reduce paperwork and simplify the process.
The Raytheon web-enabled system is used as the basis for their performance development scheme. It incorporates a ‘performance screen’ and a ‘performance and development summary’ as well as 360-degree assessment tools and details of how the Raytheon compensation system works.