The Ultimate Guide to building a Performance Management Process

Regardless of the size of your organization, a practical performance management process will have a transformational impact on your organization and its employees. It stands to improve employee engagement, workforce productivity, profitability, and even boost the enterprise agility needed
to out maneuver competitors.

But where do you start? How do you build a  performance management process from the ground up?


Before planning your performance management process and determining  the steps you’ll need to take, prioritize  your organization’s key mission and  vision and how employees influence them.



Once you have a unifying mission to motivate and measure the performance of employees, it’s time to configure a performance management program that fits  your unique needs using  these five simple steps:


Survey senior managers and C-suite leaders about the changes or evolutions that they think will have the biggest ROI. If necessary, secure buying from senior stakeholders with research that explains the benefits of a structured performance management process.

To determine which new performance management practices you should prioritize. Introducing frequent check-ins and OKRs is often a good start.

Roll out changes to a single unit within your organization and measure the results. Feel free to test different iterations of your performance management process – like experimenting with monthly vs weekly performance check-ins.

After trialing different parts of the process (like check-ins), ask employees for feedback to ensure that the process works for them. A monthly check-in cadence, for example, can be too long for employees to await feedback on their urgent projects.

Totara Perform, for example, supports both traditional and agile performance management. It also connects with your existing LMS, HCM and CRM tools to help you make the switch without destabilizing existing processes and workflows.


To aid your ability to tailor your formative process around your organization, use this checklist to review the traits of a strong performance management program:
• The organization has a clear, shared vision that is understood by all employees
• Goals are set using OKRs and regularly reviewed to ensure they align with corporate agendas
• Managers and staff are comfortable with exchanging feedback (and use frequent check-ins to do so)
• Automations (enabled by an agile performance management system) are in place. Not to state the obvious, but a paper or document-based process will hinder efficiency
• Progression towards goals is easily tracked by managers and staff
• The organization helps employees succeed in their current roles and towards potential roles within the business
When implementing a performance management process from scratch, initiatives are prematurely stifled because the adoption process is either non-existent, too drastic, or over-complicated and time-consuming.
 It’s therefore worth highlighting that practices and procedures are to be introduced gradually. 
There’s no need for a radical uprooting of your existing performance management processes (if you have any). Biting off too much too soon can backfire by overwhelming employees, bloating initiatives and making it harder to gain buy-in from managers and staff – especially when your enterprise is new to performance management).
In the next section, we outline the seven steps you need to kickstart and develop your performance management process, but that doesn’t mean you need to follow them all. 
For example, if you’re part of a growing organization, you’ll do well to prioritize moving from a paper-based approach to monitoring performance, to a digital performance management system like Totara Perform.

Totara Perform supports and grows with you, regardless of how new or advanced your performance management process may be. Any performance management program will likely evolve over time. Fortunately, Totara Perform does not force you to adopt a specific workflow, style or way of doing things. Your organization is free to innovate and incrementally improve elements of your program at your own pace.

With a central place to track employee feedback, monitor progress and assess competencies, you can easily introduce frequent check-ins and establish critical goals— these two steps are transformative in their own right as they will lay a foundation for improving accountability and aligning employee actions with organizational objectives.


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