Performance Management Guide


1. Introduction

Performance Management reflects a change of emphasis in a move away from control styles of management towards a facilitation model of leadership and managing employees. This change is accompanied by implementing effective communication strategies and the recognition of the importance of relating individual employee work performance to the strategic vision of the company as a whole.

Effective individual performance management is crucial to achieving a company’s vision … It is a basic and highly important management obligation…

2. What is Performance Management?

Performance management is the process of:

  • Planning work and setting Key Performance Areas
  • Reviewing the KPA’s
  • Continually monitoring employee performance
  • Developing the employee’s capacity to perform
  • Periodically measuring the employee’s performance
  • Rewarding and recognising good performance


3. The objective of Performance Management

To ensure that the company meets or exceeds its strategic objectives by encouraging employees to meet their goals and objectives by working together, cooperatively and effectively, towards the company’s goal and key imperatives.

4. Benefits of Performance Management

  • To enhance company performance against the corporate business plan
  • To enhance individual performance against agreed upon KPA’s
  • To enhance the manager/employee relationship by creating a framework for communication around employee outputs and expectations
  • To manage under-performance in a constructive and positive manner.
  • To enhance employee development in terms of training, career objectives and personal development
  • To support the culture of continuous improvement within the company


5. The Performance Review Process

5.1 Planning

Planning means setting, agreeing and clarifying the Key Performance Areas and goals with the employee by mutually discussing and agreeing on performance objectives that meet the company needs whilst recognising the individual’s needs.

KPA’s must be:

  • Linked to the departmental KPA
  • Measurable
  • Understandable
  • Verifiable
  • Equitable and achievable

KPA’s must be defined as part of the full job description. The Job Description Form must be used to formalise this process. The job description needs to be signed by both employee and manager.

5.2 Reviewing

The performance review is a joint discussion between manager and employee where the achievement of KPA’s are discussed. The emphasis on the discussion should be looking forward at how improvements can be achieved. Past performance should be seen as a basis from which to learn and plan ahead.

Self-assessment is an integral part of the review process where the employee measures themselves on the KPA’s and on the General Criteria listed on the Performance Review Form. The manager does this same exercise before the review and the measurables of Achieved, Over Achieved or Under Achieved then become a point of departure for discussions around each KPA and the General Criteria. The objective of this task allows for communication gaps and/or barriers to be resolved.

5.3 Monitoring

Monitoring means consistently measuring performance and providing ongoing feedback to employees on their progress toward reaching their goals. Ongoing monitoring provides the manager with the opportunity to make changes to unrealistic or problematic goals or measurements. By monitoring continuously, managers can identify unacceptable performance at any time during the review period and to provide assistance to address such performance rather than wait until the end of the period when the formal review takes place.

5.4 Developing

Developing in this instance means increasing the capacity to perform through training, giving assignments that introduce new skills and increasing higher levels of responsibility.

The process of performance management provides an excellent opportunity for managers and employees to identify developmental needs.

5.5 Measuring

Measuring of KPA’s is useful to summarise employee performance and helps with comparing performance over time or across a set of employees. Measurements are based on work performed during the entire review period and allow for discussion between manager and employee around the achievement, over achievement or non-achievement of the KPA’s.

5.6 Reward and Recognition

To reward means to recognise employees, individually and as a member of a team for their performance and acknowledging their contributions to the company’s goals.

Recognition should be ongoing and a natural part of day-to-day experiences. Many actions that reward good performance, like saying “thank you”, and or offering guidance do not require a specific formal process.

6. A practical guide to conducting the performance review

  • Allow ample time to conduct the review without interruptions
  • The employee needs to feel that their evaluation is important enough to warrant your full attention and time.
  • Review the purpose

Remind the employee that the review session will address performance expectations specific to the employees’ job description. The job description may need updating before the review (this should be done throughout the year, if and when the job tasks change). The purpose is to evaluate and discuss the employee’s performance and to jointly identify any training or developmental needs.


Ensure that the employee has completed the evaluation form and rated themselves on all KPA’s and General Criteria before the discussion commences and ask them to present it at the discussion.

Managers’ evaluation

  • Begin with positive news – identify what’s working.
  • Cite specific examples of positive productive performance and then go onto areas needing improvement.
  • Identify areas of agreement.
  • Jointly identify what’s not working.
  • What seems to be the problem areas?
  • What tasks seems to be the most difficult?
  • Where does performance slip?
  • What are the barriers to achieving the set standards?
  • Jointly create a plan for improving performance – what are we going to do about it?
  • How can the obstacles be overcome?
  • What does the employee need to do differently?
  • What are the employee’s goals for growth?
  • What are the planned intervals for reassessment?

Both employee and manager must come to an agreement about the evaluation and determine the next steps towards improvement and setting of new goals and action plans.

End on a positive note

Summarise the evaluation and focus on a positive move forward. Obtain the employee’s signature on the review form as a commitment to the agreed goals.

7. Conclusion

The concept of performance management has great potential for improving employee and company performance; however it can fail for various reasons. Some reasons for the failure of performance management arise when:


  • Measurements are inconsistent
  • the process is not communicated to employees
  • managers are not trained or given guidance
  • managers don't value the procedure or use it only to reprimand
  • standards and criteria are not objective or not related to the work performed


Setting of performance standards may be time consuming and requires considerable study, analysis, and reflection.

The document serves as a guideline to managers but also reflects important information for employees


Located in: All Policies