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People management is one of the hardest tasks for employers and managers. Many would say they have no idea how to do it, but there is a way to master performance management.

One of the most expensive exercises is ensuring you have the right people in your business. This generally keeps an employer awake at night, wondering if they have the right people for the right job. But what happens when we don’t? Do we effectively manage staff or do we leave them, hoping they will improve over time? This is why employers and managers benefit from our  Performance Management Workshop.

What is Performance Management?

In simple terms, performance management is the ongoing process of communication between supervisor and employee in order to accomplish the strategic objectives of the organisation. In broader terms, project management is a process that ensures that a set of activities and outputs meets your organisation’s goals in an efficient and effective manner. This is done by focusing on the performance of your business, a single department, an employee, or even a process that has been put in place to manage particular tasks.

Effective performance management will measure any progress made towards the achievement of your business objectives. This is done by planning, establishing, monitoring, evaluating, and reviewing functional, organisational, team, and individual performance.


When Should You Performance Manage Staff?

Whether it is about motivating the team, holding a team meeting, or discussing performance issues or concerns, we are doing this on a daily basis. It is important ,as managers, that we have the right tools and resources on hand to help us manage daily events. It’s important to set the right standards and expectations to keep the staff on track. With regular communication channels, and clear and documented processes, we can prevent underperforming staff.


What Steps Should I Take to Manage Staff?

Informal conversations are the easiest ways to have performance and conduct discussions with staff. You may find yourself having multiple informal conversations but it doesn’t stop there. It is important to ensure that you note down and place them in the employee file.

From there you may find that having multiple conversations hasn’t got the outcome you would like, so what is the next step? Arranging a formal meeting with the employee to outline the concerns you have is the next step. You must allow an employee to bring a support person to the meeting, give them at least 24 hour’s notice to attend, and provide them with an opportunity to respond to your proposed concerns before you determine an outcome. Once you have determined an outcome, you may issue a verbal warning, or you may decide to provide the staff member a formal written warning.


How to Have Difficult Conversations?

Many have asked how you have these difficult conversations. It is important to:

  • Be solution-focused, specific,​ and educate the staff member on how non-performance hinders the business​
  • Stay calm and talk about the situation, not the individual​
  • Engage in two-way conversations to gain clarity​ and don’t make assumptions about their reactions and/or thoughts
  • Be sincere​ and listen​ to what the employee is saying
  • Gain commitment and motivation from staff on the next steps​
  • Explain why the expectations are important to you​ – make it timely and don’t delay the conversation


The Importance of a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP)

PIPs are the best ways to reset a staff members expectations, in order to encourage improvement and hold staff accountable in the future. You should work on a proposed plan with the staff member in order to achieve expectations. As a manager, you are equally responsible to help staff achieve what is expected of them by providing them with the support and training they require.

You should review your PIP within an achievable period of time. For example, a salesperson who has failed to achieve their sales targets for the month should have weekly check-ins with the manager to see where they’re at in the sales pipeline with an EOM review. Or in the case of a struggling administrator or clerk, they should be provided with additional resources or support to achieve the set expectations. There is no one size fits all for PIPs.


Further Disciplinary Action

But what happens when a staff member still has not improved with the PIP? It is important to hold a further meeting regarding their performance or conduct. The traditional “3 warnings and your out” is not the common process anymore. It all depends on how you have written the warning letter. It is encouraged that you outline the following areas on the warning:

  • Which part of the policy or policies have they breached
  • What they have done wrong or not done
  • How they failed to follow reasonable management direction

If you have done these steps, you may continue with a further meeting and further outline the breaches. This time, you may provide a staff member a final written warning.


What If the Issue or Concern Is About A Different Matter?

If this is the case, you will need to start the performance counselling process again. This time it is encouraged that you outline the points listed above.

We at Key Business Advisors have a wide range of experience when managing staff. Our HR experts are able support you when you need to have these difficult conversations with staff, and we can also attend these meetings with you. To have one of our team help you get the right people for your business, call 1300 4 ADVICE.


KBA useful Information to help you:


If you would like help or want to know more about our services, please contact us at Key Business Advisors on 1300 4 ADVICE


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