A Dozen Performance Management Best Practices

Thanks to Sharon Armstrong, Sharon Armstrong & Associates, for providing us the following insights about performance management.

Current best practices of high performance businesses:

  • Think of Performance Management as an entire system, starting in interviews with potential employees and continuing through orientation, training, coaching and counseling, and recognizing peak performance.
  • Stop communicating about PM as if it is an annual event. The only annual part of it is salary action and/or filing forms. Think of it as an on-going workplace conversation.
  • Train managers and employees on giving and receiving positive and negative feedback on an ongoing basis.
  • Hold managers accountable for having ongoing conversations around work and goals.
  • Actively seek to align individual goals with organization goals.
  • Encourage employee participation and ownership in the process. Create an environment where together the manager and employee can question, challenge and discuss goals and objectives to gain clarity.
  • Use their performance management system to link with the organization’s values; reinforce the importance of the organization’s core competencies.
  • Link the performance management system with retention, development, and succession planning initiatives.
  • Get support at the senior-level.
  • Openly communicate to all employees how your compensation system works. If merit pools average 2 to 3% annually let everyone know this. Manage expectations around annual increases to control rumor mill and misinformation.
  • Where possible, have a second-level review of performance evaluations (by HR or second-tier management).
  • Understand the legal pitfalls associated with performance management, such as penalizing employees for taking legally protected leave (e.g., FMLA leave), and allowing unlawful bias to infect performance evaluations.

About Sharon Armstrong: Sharon is the principal of Sharon Armstrong & Associates, an HR Consulting and referral network. She is the co-author of "The Essential HR Handbook" and sole author of "The Essential Performance Review Handbook."

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