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A Guide On Achieving Effective Performance Management

What is performance management, the performance management cycle, the scope of performance management

What is performance management?

Performance management is a continuous process of communication between a manager and an employee. The communication process aids in 

  • Identifying the objectives
  • Setting goals accordingly
  • Providing feedback
  • Reviewing results
  • Improving employee performance

Hence, this process helps in accomplishing the strategic goals of the organization.

The process has evolved over the years and is not an annual process anymore rather a continuous cycle. 

So what is this cycle all about? Let us find out.

Now that we know what is performance management, it is essential to also know about the performance appraisal. 

Difference between performance management and performance appraisal

The concept of performance management and performance appraisal may look similar but actually, they are different. A point of similarity is that they both deal with employee performance. So let us draw a comparison between performance management and performance appraisal to understand how they are different from each other.

Performance management

  • Performance management deals with aiding employees to advance and increase their performance and productivity.
  • Performance management looks at employees’ performance by considering the present and future.
  • This is a holistic approach to analyzing the relationship between an employee and his/her organization. This paves the way in fostering employee engagement and its importance.
  • Performance management has strategic execution and talks about improving performance in the entire organization.
  • There is a great deal of transparency when it comes to performance management. The rules, the goals, and the objectives are clearly defined for the employees.

On the other hand,

Performance appraisal

  • Performance appraisal on the other hand assesses the actual performance of an employee. So, it does not talk about employees’ performance productivity.
  • For performance appraisal, the organization considers the employees’ performance in the immediate past.
  • Performance appraisal deals with an individual employee and his/her performance in the immediate past.
  • Performance appraisal is often perceived as a process for the employee and HR. It deals with the intent of the employee and HR and not the entire organization.
  • Here the objectives may not be clearly stated to the employees. Hence, there is a lack of transparency during performance appraisals.

Importance of performance management

The importance of performance management in your organization is for the following reasons.

  • Your annual performance review gets easier with a continuous performance management system in place. So your work as a manager becomes easy as the employees already know what to expect during a performance appraisal.
  • It helps you streamline the performance management process and understand ways to improve the performance of the organization.
  • From the perspective of an employee, it indicates how much you value them.
  • A continuous performance management system enables you to provide constructive feedback to your employees. And they become more open to your feedback.
  • It increases your employee retention rate. The performance management process shows that you recognize your employees. You show that you value your employees by providing them with feedback, training, rewards, and recognition.
  • It provides clarity in the organization. Well, how? By showing the employees what you expect them to do, what their job role is, what are the expectations. Once all of this is clear, you can expect increased productivity rates.

The performance management cycle

The performance management process or performance management cycle consists of the five essential steps.

As a people manager, you can decide how frequently you want to review your employees’ performance. Let us understand them one by one.


  • You communicate with your employees and set goals with them.
  • It is ideal to set the goals right away. How? Mention it in the job description while hiring these talents and explain it in detail once they join the organization.
  • So proper planning will ease your performance management evaluation process. For instance, you will be able to assess their performance by calculating how much percentage of the assigned goals are achieved.


  • In this stage, you keep track of employees performance on the set goals.
  • You can also use performance management software or other HR tools to evaluate your employees’ performance. You can track it in real-time and correct it as required.


  • You improve the performance of your employees by collecting the data from the previous step, the monitoring cycle.
  • So you improve the performance by suggesting courses, providing related assignments, or by making changes to the present employee development course. It helps them to perform better at their jobs by developing knowledge related to the objectives.


  • Rating employee performance is essential and crucial for identifying the state of employee performance in the organization and implementing changes accordingly.
  • Also, this rating process can be a periodical affair and you can also do it during performance appraisal.
  • This serves as a feedback mechanism.


  • Rewarding employee is a part of any organizations’ employee engagement strategies.
  • As a manager, you recognize and reward your well-performing employees and keep the rate of employee engagement high. 
  • It can be a social recognition or you can make use of rewarding software to launch a full-fledged rewarding program.

Objectives of performance management

The objectives of performance management are

Set goals according to organizations’ objectives

  • As a manager, you can set goals that improve employee performance and business performance. 
  • Goal setting aids in improving employee performance by allowing them to work on what’s important.
  • Setting goals align the employees’ objectives with the organizations’ objectives. So on the whole it optimizes the individual performance of an employee. 

Setting the right expectations

  • An effective performance management system sets expectations for the employees and the managers. And being the manager you should set achievable expectations from your employees. 
  • Define your expectations to your employees clearly. Make sure they know what are you expecting from them. Also, explain to them how these expectations can fulfil the business goals and objectives.
  • Also, make sure that you document each expectation and not let it be a simple interaction. Assign these goals to your employees.
  • On the whole, make sure that all the employees know their roles and responsibilities and what they are accountable for. This sense of responsibility will help them be consistent and improve their performance.

Effective communication 

Effective communication between peers and teams is a crucial part of changing workplace dynamics. With the shift to remote working conditions communication becomes an essential part of an engaged workforce. 

  • Make sure your employees know their peers’ goals and objectives to work well together.
  • As a manager or a team lead you can engage your employees to have one-on-one interactions with each other.
  • Promote collaboration and communication within the teams. Engage in team-building activities like a fun Friday games and activities.

Build a performance standard

After you implement a performance management system, the next step is to set a performance standard.

  • Building a performance standard lets you create a performance plan with which you can evaluate your employee performance efficiently. 
  • Without an effective performance plan, you will not be able to figure out where things go wrong. For example, there would be a lack of effort from an employees’ side, there may not be enough resources, unrealistic expectations may be set, and many more.
  • You can figure out your organizations’ strengths and weaknesses. Hence, you can come up with a performance management system that tackles the weaknesses.

Identify the training and development needs

Another major objective of performance management is to identify the training needs and developmental needs of the organization aka the workforce.

  • An effective performance plan will improve the employees’ careers by providing them with growth opportunities. This can be done by helping them acquire relevant knowledge and skills.
  • Communicate with your employees about what skills or training do they require to perform a particular job effectively. With these details set a budget accordingly.
  • Revamp your old methods and include these new skill training in your developmental methods.
  • Make sure these skills and training programs are aligned with your business objectives.
Objectives of performance management

Performance management tools

A performance management system requires continuous check-ins which apparently takes a lot of your time. Implementing a performance management tool and automating your performance management process can not only save a lot of time but also improve your workflow.

So here is a list of a few performance management tools to make your life easier.


Betterworks is an HR tool that enables you to drive better performance management by continuous feedback and recognition.


Mirro lets you customize your performance management. You can do regular check-ins, set your timeline, mark your progress, and ask for feedback. It also has individual performance check-ins.


Inspire is an integrated tool for performance, goal setting, feedback, recognition, and learning. With these features, you can align the employees’ objectives with the business goals. 

Scope of performance management

The scope of performance management are

Creating ownership

The important aspect of a performance management system is to create ownership. So once you make your employees feel they are the owners of the organization, they start working towards the betterment of the business goals.

Identifying the competency gaps

An effective performance management system allows you to figure out the roadblocks or competency gaps among your employees. These gaps are nothing but a space between the standard and expected competencies. You can bridge them by providing training sessions.

Look into your future

With an effective performance cycle in place, you identify potential problems that may arise in the future. So detecting them earlier makes your operations smooth.

Promoting performance culture

A performance management system promotes performance culture. With an effective performance culture in place, every employee will constantly improve their performance. It will lead to minimal errors, dissatisfaction, etc.

Scope of performance management


You need to have a performance management system in place because

  • You can align the individual goals of the employees with the business objectives.
  • With your help, your employees will get a chance to improve their skills and performance. This can equip them with all the necessary skills to get the job done.

Now, this is what effective performance management is all about. Performance management and performance appraisals are often confused with one another. However, they are different from each other. With an effective performance management cycle in place, you can create a highly motivated workforce and improve business performance.

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