Stage 2: Monitoring
The Second part is the Monitoring Stage, logically, once performance is in progress Monitoring must be deployed. Monitoring simply means observing and checking the progress or quality of a particular task over a period of time; keeping it under systematic review. Truth is; no matter how well your subordinate has shown capacity, you must still deploy some level of monitoring, even if it’s progress report.
Like I said in part one you must have your pointers or trackers, which are the things you come to check or things you see when monitoring, so in a bakery for example, you probably want to see the texture of the dough, or you want to see the compliance sheet for each production or for a consulting firm a superior might want to see the ticking of the checklist in preparing for a forth coming training program.
There are different ways you can monitor performance of your subordinate.
- You can observe; this simply means you actually watch to see what is being done.
- You can ask your subs to give account of what they are doing or have done over a certain period; this can take a form of one-on-one conversation with a subordinate.
- You can also monitor performance by asking employees to use self-monitoring tools to help you keep track of their actions. They can use project plans, checklists, and activity logs, online collaboration tools etc.
- Another way to monitor performance is to review work in progress on a regular basis. That means you need to check your employees’ work carefully in process along the way.
- Finally you can monitor performance by gathering information from other people. Ask customers, vendors, coworkers, ask other managers about the interactions they’re having with your employees. Always ask questions about your employee’s work, never about the person. Don’t ask for evaluations, but ask for descriptions. Don’t ask for impressions, but ask for details. And don’t believe everything you hear; the more you keep your ear to the ground, the more you’ll know which sources can be trusted.
It’s very important to ensure your subordinates know that you are monitoring; the fact that you are measuring a thing changes the way the thing is the being used. Now in Performance Management, you don’t monitor for the sake of monitoring, you do it to take corrective measures and to measure. This brings us to the third part of the Performance Management Cycle which is Assessment.
Stage 3: Performance Assessment
Performance Assessment is that part that is generally known as Performance Appraisal, and it is the third part Basically when you appraise you are assessing. It’s very important for me to state here that there are two types of Performance Appraisal. There is the Informal Appraisal and Formal Appraisal.
The formal appraisal is the type we all know which is the appraisal that is carried out periodically like once in a year or once every six months. Now I believe I can safely assume you are aware of that type of Appraisal, where your superior fills a form of questionnaire about you answering different questions about your performance, behavior and any other attribute that is being assessed. Now there are several disadvantages that comes with this form of Appraisal which makes it less potent than expected.
Prejudice and Bias: Where a superior for whatever reason have issues with the subordinate, there is a tendency to score the person low. Another form of bias could come from the relationship of the superior and subordinate; if it has been smooth for a substantial part of the Performance Period and it goes sour close to the appraisal period, there is every tendency that the superior will appraise the sub with the bias from the relationship.
Forgetfulness: If an appraisal period covers a span of six months or even one year, there is a possibility of forgetting all the high points of a subordinate because it happened a long time ago. What is likely to be fresh in the mind of the superior are the recent happenings. If a subordinate is appraised based on recent happenings whether the recent happenings are good or bad it does not reveal a true picture of the subordinate’s performance.
Sustenance of Poor Performance: If a superior have to wait till the end of the period before making a subordinate aware of wrong doings whether in behavior or performance, then the strategic goal of the organization cannot be achieved.
With the above challenges that is associated with Formal Appraisal, every decision made based on the appraisal will also be wrong; for example concluding that a subordinate needs training in a particular area might just be a wrong course of action because that decision is pivoted on a biased appraisal…eventually a large part of the organization gets into the wrong direction.
The solution to this is Informal Appraisal. Informal Appraisal unlike the Formal Appraisal comes up more frequently; like weekly, or monthly. The informal appraisal keeps everyone at alert, subordinate knows that their performance is under continuous check, superiors have the opportunity to identify deviations and poor performance and quickly make corrective actions. With corrective action comes better performance and then improved performance.
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