Assess How Effective Performance Management Can Help Employees

Onboarding. Mentoring. Job shadowing. Career maps. Companies invest a lot of time, resources, and energy to support workers on their career journeys. And there are plenty of reasons why doing so makes sense. For one, organizations want workers to succeed. After all, a happy, successful workforce typically cycles back to helping the company succeed too.

Effective performance management may help employee retention

From a strategic standpoint, retaining employees costs less than recruiting new ones. Also, if you’re constantly recruiting, this might be a sign that you’re churning through employees, and losing them in this competitive job market.

  • Constant recruitment may include direct and indirect costs related to running ads, reviewing resumes, interviewing, and even negotiating with candidates.
  • Plus, there can be additional costs when you partner with third-party vendors to perform background checks and screenings.

Therefore, once you add employees into the fold, you want to invest in making things work. Still, even when retention is the ideal, many HR professionals and managers run into situations where certain employees may be running into performance issues.

  • You might discover that a recent hire isn’t as qualified for the position as previously suspected.
  • A more seasoned employee might plateau right at the moment where you need them to pivot and take on new skills.
  • Or, an employee might be amazing at their job, but could be a poor fit for your company culture, even clashing with other employees and management.

Grappling with these situations can be more difficult. However, there are various approaches to handling these situations prior to taking any adverse employment decisions. Making premature adverse employment decisions may hold more risk and liability, and may cause you to take on all of those recruiting costs again.

This is where effective performance management often come into play.

Performance management can help employees gain traction, and come up to speed in specific business or cultural areas. We’ll break down a few steps to take early in the process that will support you as you assess how performance management can help.


Effective performance management can work in conjunction with career maps, or separately. Download our recent Spotlight, “Improve Employee Retention,” for insight into career plans, along with other tips that can help you improve the employee experience.

Read the Report


performance management

HR’s role in effective performance management

HR’s involvement in building effective performance management can’t be overstated. Working with managers and leaders, who implement the performance management plan is necessary. And, you support employees throughout the process through trainings, meetings, check-ins, and sharing resources.

Effective performance management comes in handy in different ways. It can:

  • help an employee improve, or grow specific skills;
  • help them overcome challenges they’re having in the workplace;
  • support them if they’re struggling with new responsibilities;
  • document the steps taken to assist employee

Effective performance management includes progressive discipline when an employee can’t or won’t meet expectations. Utilizing progressive discipline should be a last-ditch effort before termination. It’s another integral step toward investing in employees so that your people and your organization can succeed.

With this in mind, here are three steps to help you assess the specific situation at the outset: 

  1. Gather data about the situation 

Find out if the manager has documented specific performance issues, and to what extent. Are the issues skills-based? Are they cultural? Ideally, the manager will have a list that helps inform the reason for conducting progressive discipline steps.

  • Does this situation require an additional training or an evaluation of how work is communicated or managed? Is the performance issue new? Has it been happening for a while? Or, if this is more about employee growth, how long has this been a topic of conversation between employee and manager?
  • Encourage managers to include specifics like dates, feedback they’ve received from other employees, an even comments the employee might have made related to their situation.
  • Have a one-on-one with the manager

You’ll want to determine the manager’s situation as well. That will help you ensure that they’ve done everything they can to support the employee’s success and growth. You might discover that the manager also needs support, specifically around developing their direct reports.

  • Is there an underlying personality clash between the employee and manager? Is the manager setting expectations that go beyond an employee’s job title, or isn’t in line with their career map? Or, is the manager holding the employee back in some way, or disallowing them from following their desired career path?
  • Delving into this territory will help you determine whether or not the manager is working with the company’s best interests in mind, as well as the employee’s.
  • Review training opportunities that the employee has completed to date

In many companies, the onboarding experience lasts well into an employee’s first year. After that, other learning opportunities can help employees switch gears, acquire new skills, and build their career paths. But that doesn’t mean that the employee has received training or support for the specific situation that requires improvement.

  • It’s possible that an employee simply needs additional training to improve a current situation. For instance, if they’ve switched from inside to outside sales, but aren’t hitting their marks, perhaps it’s a matter of building confidence through a communications class, or joining a local networking group. Likewise, perhaps your front-end web programmer could use some technical database training to help them shift into more back-end work.
  • At the same time, more training might not be the magic cure, especially if the employee is already up-to-speed on learning opportunities. Could job shadowing be a step within the performance management process? Have you connected them with a mentor elsewhere in the company?

Most employees want to improve. Even in a candidate-driven job market, people are more likely to stay at their current jobs when they know that their employers are willing to work with them, and help them on their way. Assess each situation, and determine how your performance management program can assist.


Building a dedicated and successful workforce starts with the way you recruit and hire.  myStaffingPro’s applicant tracking software can help you stay organized during the hiring process, from requisition to onboarding. Contact a representative today.

Contact an Expert Today