Increasing Importance of Performance Management in the HR space

Rosemary Butterly, VP HR, Cartus

Rosemary Butterly, VP HR, Cartus

Management sets performance and job expectation standards with employees, monitors performance and addresses deficiencies with employees. HR Business Partners provide coaching to business leaders on employee performance and may recommend corrective action, training, or other learning to improve performance in accordance with their company standards. Performance Management is part of the ongoing conversations a Manager should have with their employees about performance.

The HR Business Partner will look to work with management to help resolve the performance issue. There will be a need to document actions taken to ensure understanding by all parties and for legal reasons. The HR Business Partner will maintain notes from discussions and various levels of corrective action taken, and agreed upon follow-up actions. Depending on the organization and profile of the workforce, this may be a large part of an HR professional’s role. It becomes a challenge for an HR Business Partner to effectively manage as they work with a number of Leaders to improve employee performance. It is also difficult to see trends and areas of opportunity over time. There are times a more serious action may need to occur to address employee performance. This could be in the form of a final warning, suspension or termination. Before such actions could occur, the HR Business Partner will evaluate all discussions and actions taken to date to ensure consistency, equitable treatment in accord with the company standards, and that the employee has a clear understanding of performance expectations. All too often, conversations and documentation have been informal.

"Performance Management is part of the ongoing conversations a Manager should have with their employees about performance"

Here is an example to illustrate. Employee ‘Mary’ is having difficulty meeting performance standards as a secretary, with errors noted in the use of excel. In coaching her Manager, the HR Business Partner recommends that a documented discussion occurs between the Manager and employee to discuss the areas of concern. It is also agreed the employee should take a training class in excel offered by a local university. The Manager will monitor the employee’s progress and reevaluate the employee’s performance using excel in four months. Often, the HR Business Partner will make notations of these actions in a general word document or on their calendar. This becomes more challenging when working with performance or behavior incidents that occur over a longer period of time. This is also difficult when an HR Business Partner assumes a new client base. The HR Business Partner must document the corrective action, work with the business to develop action planning, monitor progress, and identify trending.

A new use of technology allows for the HR Business Partners to manage performance actions in a single application. This latest technology allows the HR Business Partner to be able to track and monitor corrective action in process. Some of these technology solutions provide the ability to use the tool to conduct the investigation, perform a root cause analysis, document discussions, assist in the identification of opportunities for improvement, create action plans, track activity, and manage corrective action investigations and tasks. It also allows the HR Business Partner to identify trending over time that may need intervention. Is there a department that seems to have more people below performance standards than others? Is there an employee with the same recurring behavior issues? The analysis of the information will help the HR Business Partner determine what remedial actions could be provided to correct the situation. Without analyzing the trends, an organization will find itself in a reactive mode, and over time continue to have the same concerns. Such software will include security to restrict access to ensure only authorized users and have reporting capability.

Incorporating this new technology into their daily workflow enables the HR Business Partner to be more organized, efficient, monitor ongoing activity and follow up and evaluate trending.

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