Performance Management (PM)

Definition: A systematic ongoing process of communication between a supervisor and an employee, where they work together to plan, monitor, and review an employee’s work objectives and overall contribution to the organization.



·         A typical performance management process starts with the determination of organization strategy and goals and is a circular process that includes performance planning, ongoing feedback, employee input, performance evaluation, and a performance review.

·         Some guidelines for establishing effective performance goals include a) goals must clearly define the end results to be accomplished; b) to the extent possible, goals should have a direct and obvious link to organizational success factors or goals; c) goals should be difficult, but achievable, to motivate performance; and d) goals should be set in no more than three areas—attempting to achieve too many different goals at once will impede success.

·         Performance management is a two-way process; it is not an annual performance appraisal. Appraisals reflect what the manager can remember and are usually the most recent events. Whereas, a performance management takes time and follow-up to do well. Feedback is integral to the PM process.

·         Some steps to take to make your PM process useful and effective to increase productivity and engagement:

o   Simplify the process

o   Use PM to build skills

o   Plan regular 1-on-1 meetings

o   Set clear development goals using the S.M.A.R.T. formula

o   Teach managers to give better feedback

o   De-couple compensation and development

o   Coach everyone and stimulate peer coaching


Self-Directed Learning Activities


Relevant Readings:

·         Performance Management Guidelines (LINK PDF)

·         Performance Management Principles (LINK PDF)

·         Evaluating Performance (LINK PDF)

·         PM: Best Practices (LINK PDF)

·         PM: A Tool for Employee Success (LINK PDF)

·         Do and Don’ts for Performance Reviews (LINK PDF)

·         Keeping the Right People—Performance Management:

·         Performance Management Supervisor Guide:

·         5 Skills All Managers Need for Implementing Successful PM:

·         Additional Tips and Readings for Performance Management (LINK DOC)

·         Effective Goal Setting (LINK PDF)

·         Implementing Strategy (LINK PDF)

·         Performance Development Plan Form (LINK DOC)

·         Performance Improvement Letter(LINK PDF)



·         Cokins, G. (2009). Performance management: Integrating strategy execution, methodologies, risk, and analytics. John Wiley & Sons.

·         Daniels, A. C., & Daniels, J. E. (2004). Performance management: Changing behavior that drives organizational effectiveness. Atlanta, GA: Performance Management Publications.

·         Essentials, H. B. (2006). Performance management: measure and improve the effectiveness of your employees. Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation, USA.

·         Pande, P.S., Neuman, R.P., & Cavanagh, R.R. (2014). The six sigma way: How to maximize the impact of your change and improvement efforts (2nd ed.). McGraw-Hill Education.

·         Pande, P.S., Neuman, R.P., & Cavanagh, R.R. (2000). The six sigma way: How GE, Motorola, and other top companies are honing their performance. McGraw-Hill Education.

·         Whitmore, J. (2009) Coaching for performance: growing human potential and purpose: the principles and practice of coaching and leadership. Nicholas Brealey publishing.




Self-Guided Activities:

  • Think about the last time you had a performance review, were you able to speak any concerns about your ratings? Was it a two-way process? What would you change about it?
  • Practice assessing yourself. Complete an employee evaluation form. Think about your strengths and weaknesses. People are typically harder and more critical of themselves than others are. When supervisors get the employee’s input on his/her own performance, it can open up lines of communication and allow the supervisor to more easily discuss the differences in opinion and perception between the two assessments.


Guided Learning Activities



  • Practice offering regular, timely, and constructive feedback to your coworkers.
  • When a new employee joins, a) review the job description and performance expectations with the employee, b) explain how the employee’s work contributes to the organization’s goals, c) design a plan to help the employee acquire necessary competencies, and d) explain how and when you will provide performance feedback.
  • Practice gathering information from a variety of sources. Rather than getting feedback and input only from an employee’s direct supervisor, ask those who interact with the employee to evaluate his performance as well. This might include customers or clients, coworkers, other departmental and executive level managers, team members, or anyone else who regularly communicates or collaborates with the employee and can provide information on his strengths and weaknesses.

·         Help employees to understand how their performance ties into the company’s overall vision. By letting an employee see the “big picture,” reminding her often of the company’s mission statement, and clarifying how her contribution helps to fulfill the goals and strategies of the business, you give an employee a sense of purpose in her work. That makes it much more likely she will perform her job as well as she can.

·         Practice setting Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely (SMART) goals with your supervisor. Ask them what their goals have been the past year and did they achieve it? What was their plan to achieving these goals?


Formal Training/Education


School and Course Module(s):

  • Laramie County Community College
    • MGT 1500 LEADERSHIP ESSENTIALS Students develop performance-based competencies and skills needed to prepare for leadership positions in today's workplace. Topics explored include leadership communication, conflict resolution, employee and self-development, change management, coaching, managing performance problems, and team building. Students develop action plans for transitioning the skills discussed during class into the workplace.


Online Training(s):

·         Performance Management Tutorials: