Creating a Performance Management System
Performance management practices must be in place for all employees to successfully carry out their jobs. A well-structured performance management system helps organizations increase procedural integrity and helps support employees’ skill development.
One key component of a performance management system is continuous observation and feedback. Continuous observation and feedback do not mean that you need to get rid of any quarterly or annual performance evaluation systems your organization already has in place, it just means you have to add components that allow your supervisors to engage in observations and assessments on a more frequent basis.
That sounds complicated and time-consuming, why would I add components to a system that already works for us?
Formal evaluations that occur on an annual, biannual, or quarterly basis are not enough to improve and sustain performance (Gravina & Siers, 2011). They also often cause stress, anxiety, and dissatisfaction for supervisors and the employees being assessed (DeNisi, 2011). Continuous observations and assessments enhance your company-wide evaluation system by ensuring that 1) feedback is delivered more immediately, 2) improvements can be made faster, and 3) an employee is not surprised by new information during their formal review.
Timing of feedback delivery - If you wait until a formal review to provide an employee with feedback, a lot of time may pass between the occurrence of the performance being discussed and the meeting where it is being discussed. Instead, continuous observations and feedback, allow the employee to get the feedback in the moment about specific behaviors.
Faster improvements - More frequent and specific feedback, leads to faster improvements, because not only is the feedback provided sooner, but the employee now has specific goals to work on. They can engage in more practice opportunities to improve their behavior and see the positive outcomes of their improved behavior (DeNisi, 2011). Training can also be tailored to specific employee needs, leading to more effective use of company resources and supervisor and employee time.
No surprises - Knowing, through continuous observations and feedback, what your strengths and areas of improvement are, means less anxiety when going into formal reviews and more opportunities to use the reviews as a time for future planning and goal setting.
As Gravina and Siers (2011) recommended, adding a performance management system to your formal evaluations shifts your organization from an employee appraisal system to an employee development system where the formal evaluation is one of the outputs of your performance management process. When we shift from only employee evaluation to employee development, formal performance evaluations go from meetings your employees dread to opportunities to discuss strengths and weaknesses and set goals for improving employee performance and client procedural integrity.
Sounds great, but what does it actually look like?
Start by assessing what your current evaluation system looks like:
How frequently do formal observations occur?
What does the system measure? Do you look at professional behaviors? Clinical skills? Client-interaction skills? Collaboration skills? Environmental barriers?
Which components of the formal evaluation system would benefit from more frequent observations?
Is everything being measured objectively and does it contribute to the goals of the job, department, and organization? (Gravina & Siers, 2011)
What documentation is used?
Once you know what your current system measures and at what frequency, you can add additional observations. For example, if you have a clinical section on your formal evaluation, you may have your supervisors run weekly observations on the implementation of specific programs, delivery of reinforcement, data collection of specific programs, and more. The data collected weekly can be used to inform the formal evaluation. It can also be used to identify gaps in employee skills. For example, if the program is not being implemented correctly, your supervisor can immediately make adjustments and train their team on correct implementation. The employees’ skills and client’s progress improve!
Where can I find the tools to conduct these weekly observations?
Just like the datasheets we create to observe and assess our clients, you can also create datasheets to observe and assess your team. These can be created in Excel, Google Docs, by hand, or you can use an electronic system with ready-made datasheets, like BSTperform! At Behavior Science Technology we know how important a solid performance management system is and we have taken the prep work out of your hands and created over 40 observations and assessments for you to use.
Our platform, BSTperform (www.bstperform.com), allows you to connect your formal evaluation to a continuous observation and evaluation system by providing you with electronic observations and assessments in the areas of professional, clinical, and environmental skills.
Your supervisors collect data in the system and the system populates graphed results, which your supervisors can use to discuss with their team members. It also allows them to collaborate with their team to pinpoint performance issues, determine environmental factors influencing performance, and select appropriate interventions (Gravina et al., 2021). Supervisors can set goals for improvement with each employee and track progress over time.
Your employees are only as good as the system they are a part of, so create a system for them that celebrates their strengths and supports their development in weaker areas, all with the final goal of delivering high-quality services to the clients you serve.
Check out our Performance Management white paper (Blackman & Torres, 2022) to learn more about how to create a sound performance management system at your organization: https://behaviorsciencetech-8467187.hs-sites.com/the-pm-process
References: Blackman, A. L., & Torres, G. (2022). The importance of performance management for ABA organizations. https://behaviorsciencetech-8467187.hs-sites.com/the-pm-process
DeNisi, A.S. (2011). Managing performance to change behaviors. Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, 31, 2620276.
Gravina, N., Nastasi, J. & Austin, J. (2021). Assessment of employee performance. Journal of Organizational Management, 41(2), 124-149. https://doi.org/10.1080/01608061.2020.1869136
Gravina, N. & Siers, B. (2011). Square pegs and round holes: Ruminations on the Relationship Between Performance Appraisal and Performance Management. Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, 31(4), 277-287. https://doi.org/10.1080/01608061.2011.619418