Monthly Archives: February 2012

Constructive Feedback Session – Monitoring Performance


It is very important to understand the intention of giving feedback to the employee.  The intention of giving feedback on performance should never be to reprimand the person for what has gone wrong.  The very intention of sharing feedback is to make sure that the employee understands the shortfalls in performance and is able to make progress/develop in areas in which he/she is not doing well.

The term “Constructive” means improvement or promote development.  In a constructive feedback session, we need to take care of the following aspects which are explained in detail in the 7-Step Feedback Model.  The 7-Step Feedback Model consist of the following steps (details in Teambuilding that gets Results by Diamond)

  1. Prepare well for the meeting.
  2. Setting the right tone.
  3. Based on facts/observable behavior.
  4. Listen
  5. Obtain agreement that the problem exists.
  6. Agree upon the action plan.
  7. Follow up

Prepare for the meeting

  • Get your reports right, get the facts in place.
  • Put up red flags wherever you see things are not going right.  This can either be results in terms of numbers on the report or some observable behavior such as insubordination at work or coming in late to work etc.
  • Put down your thoughts on paper this will really help you in conveying the right message.
  • Hold the meeting one-on-one in an undisturbed location in complete privacy (when it is female employee, you need to also check HR guidelines on holding this discussion in privacy).
  • Discuss the issue very very objectively (in terms of numbers or describing the behavior depending on the situation) and impersonally.
Setting the Tone:
  • Make the sitting arrangements comfortable.
  • It should preferably face to face discussion across the table.
  • Do not sit sharing the same sofa, couch etc.  You need to keep out of personal distance.
  • Sit with an open posture.
  • Smile when you greet the person. Make a little small talk to make the person comfortable and move to the topic gradually.

State the facts

  • Request that you be allowed to talk until you have described what has gone wrong so that you do not get veered away from your discussion
  • Make your notes useful. Describe the performance in an objective manner, in terms of number or facts without being judgmental.
  • In case of behavior, describe the behavior without being judgmental about it.
  • Description of facts/behavior should always be followed by the negative impact it might have planned goals,  perception of people around him/her etc.

Listen:

  • After you have given your brief, please allow the employee to explain the situation from his point of view.
  • Be open to his viewpoint of the problem, put yourself in his shoes to understand his situation.

Problem Exists

  • The very reason that the discussion is happening is due to the fact that a problem is existing.
  • Get the employee to agree that problem exist.

Agree upon an Action Plan

  • Ask the employee to give suggestions for solving the problem.
  • Offer your suggestions after listening to his/her suggestions.
  • Agree upon a specific action plan.
  • In the action plan, please make the employee specify
  1. What is the plan?
  2. How will the plan be executed
  3. What are the major milestones in the plan.
  • Sometimes you might to meet twice or thrice to finalize on things.
  • Document the action plan.
  • Specify what will happen in case the employee is not able to correct the problem or put things back in place.

Follow up

  • Follow up, Follow up, Follow up
  • Monitor results on agreed upon periodic intervals.
  • Discuss progress on a timely basis.
  • Discuss setbacks on a timely basis.
  • Provide positive reinforcement and encouragement whenever the employee is able to achieve goals as per plan.
  • If the employee fails to achieve results or show changes in the behavior enact what was discussed in case the employee is not able to resolve the problem.

In my next blog we will discuss the “Review Phase” in “Performance Management Cycle”.

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Monitoring Performance


The “Monitoring Phase” in performance management consist of monitoring the progress toward the goals identified during the “Work Plan”. The premise behind the monitoring phase that while monitoring the progress so that the plans can be adjusted if required and any corrective action required can be taken immediately.  Waiting for the appraisal cycle to end before offering feedback to the employee or taking corrective action at the fag end of the appraisal cycle should be absolutely avoided in order to keep the employee on track with regard to the goals expected to be achieved.

Performance management is about “Followup, Followup and more Followup”. The more you followup on progress as a manager the better position you are in to offer timely help and advice to the employee/subordinate/team member.

Monitoring should be help in two ways:

  • The first way is by taking a proactive stance by regularly meeting, discussing KPIs, unearthing the red signals well in advance so that counter measures can be taken immediately.  This is the right way for monitoring and should be the preferred way.
  • The second way is by correcting the performance problems as they arise within the organization. This is more of a postmortem which is done after an event is over.  This approach involves identifying the root cause and secondly, implementing a plan of action to correct the problem.
I would prefer the first way, which can be done in the following manner.
A very easy way of monitoring is making a checklist for monitoring.  The team member and the manager needs to agree on the following aspects of monitoring:
  • Frequency of monitoring (daily report, weekly report, quarterly report)
  • Key performance indicators (what is the parameters which should be measured to gauge performance)
  • Targets to be achieved in form of milestones (as no target can be achieved in a day)
  • Agreement with regard to minimum target to be achieved on a weekly, monthly, quarterly basis depending on the type of objective.

The second way of taking corrective action after performance management issue arises will be discussed in detail in my succeeding blogs.

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