Performance Management: What’s All the Fuss About?
As many colleges and units are scheduling performance review conversations and beginning the planning process for the next year, it’s good to think about how the performance management process can help on our journey from Excellence
The performance process is one way Ohio State is fostering a high-performance environment. To create that environment, we must have clear performance objectives, ongoing coaching and feedback, professional development, and recognition for outstanding work. It’s also important to connect individual performance to the goals of the university; that alignment helps staff understand how they contribute to the bigger picture.
The performance management process is a way to include all of those elements. More than a checklist or requirement, it should be a dynamic, two-way process in which managers and faculty/staff work together to set expectations, identify strengths and areas of opportunity, and share appreciative and strengthening feedback as well as needs with each other.
“The performance management process is a partnership that builds in accountability for the employee and supervisor,” said Katie Hall, talent strategy manager with the Office of Human Resources. “In order to be successful, employees must have clear expectations, and supervisors must know what support the employee needs in order to achieve their goals.”
A culture rich in coaching and feedback is a foundation of our culture transformation. Clarity around what you should be working on, what success looks like, and how to achieve even greater results leads to greater results for the university.
To support areas that don’t use a formal performance management process, the HR/Education Culture Action Team (CAT) developed a new performance management tool that focuses on both the goals achieved and the values-based behaviors used to achieve those goals. The new tool includes sections to list and evaluate performance objectives, definitions of values-based behaviors and the opportunity to comment on how the individual reflects those behaviors, and a professional development plan. This tool will help us meet the expectation President Gee set earlier this year that 100 percent of regular staff will be involved in a performance process by July 1, 2011.
Hall, who is a member of the HR/Education CAT and worked with the group to develop the new tool, said that the process can—wrongly—be seen as punitive, rather than supportive. “The performance review is simply a culmination of conversations and feedback offered throughout the year,” said Hall. “There should be no surprises for either the employee or the supervisor during this review.”
She said it creates an opportunity to discuss the year in total, including dialogue about goals and contributions of the employee and opportunities for development and growth. If an employee is not meeting expectations, the supervisor should offer feedback and specific guidance to support the employee in being more successful in the future.
“It’s not meant to be an opportunity to point out everything that went wrong, but to point out what went well and to offer honest and helpful information that will make the next year better,” Hall said.
For more information about our values-based performance management tools, review the Performance Management Policy - Policy 5.25, Performance and Feedback Guide, Personalized Performance Plan Job Aid, and Personalized Performance Plan on the Office of Human Resources web site at hr.osu.edu/policy.
Making the Most
Out of Your Review
The performance management process is only as rich
as the participants make it. Here are some tips to help you get—and offer—the most out of a year-end review.
Before you meet:
• Approach the conversation with positive thoughts. How you think about the performance review, your supervisor, and this conversation will influence how you act, and how your supervisor reacts to you.
• Do your best to put yourself into a good mood and to be “at your best.” Go for a walk, read something that inspires you, or talk with a trusted friend.
• Get to a place of curiosity about how your supervisor sees your performance. Be prepared to ask open-ended questions that will help you understand your supervisor’s thinking.
• Remind yourself that you will inevitably see some things differently. After all, you are two different people with different perspectives.
During the meeting:
• Be honest and candid.
• Identify strengths and areas for improvement.
• Talk about obstacles to achieving results, and suggest solutions that will enable success.
• Listen to and offer appreciative and strengthening feedback, and ask clarifying questions if needed.
After the meeting:
• Reflect on the appreciative and strengthening feedback, and think about how to apply it.
• Ask for and offer feedback on an ongoing basis.
For more information, visit osu.edu/eminence.