4 Performance Management Mistakes To Avoid

by Srikant Chellappa Oct 3,2019

The People Strategy Leaders Podcast

with Srikant Chellappa, CEO

Performance reviews play an important role in an employee’s career.

They decide if an employee had worked well enough to get a promotion, a raise, etc. Since performance reviews tend to have a wide-ranging impact, most people are conscientious about how they handle performance reviews. After all, nobody wants to be the bad guy, even if an employee’s performance isn’t up to par.

But in the quest to not be the bad guy, or avoid stepping on feet, we tend to make the situation much worse. Therefore, no matter the position you hold, there are certain performance management mistakes you should do your very best to avoid. Let us take a look at these 5 fatal mistakes that are capable of muddling the process.

Not Setting Clear Expectations

Not setting clear expectations is truly a death knell. There’s nothing to be gained from being vague about goals and expectations. Because, when expectations are laid out clearly, employees know what the end goal is. However, if expectations have not been set, everyone is going to have their own idea of what the end goal is supposed to be like.  This lack of cohesion can be very damaging and undo all the hard work that has already been done. Clear expectations have a purpose and let employees know that they cannot deviate from the path. It also makes it easier for the manager to gauge performance improvement or performance decline.

Your Process Doesn’t Help Employee Development

This is another performance management mistakes organizations make. The ideal performance management process should help your employees understand their strengths and weaknesses. It should help them realize what they can work on to improve, what they should differently, what goals they need to aim for etc. Essentially,  your performance review process should make your employees feel that their developmental needs are being taken care of. Most performance management processes tend to focus on the financial aspect of performance reviews when in reality, it should be the opposite way around. If the review process is centered around money, then it’s not going to end satisfactorily for either you or the employee.

Also read: The Hard Truth About Performance Reviews No One Will Tell You

Holding On To Low Performing Employees

Performance reviews come and go. However, some employees continue to stay, regardless of how poor their performance is. It’s quite possible that you are holding onto them because you are fond of them or because you do not want to endanger their income source. However, by holding onto low-performing employees, you are doing a lot of people a disservice at the same time. Low-performing employees become mill-stones over a period of time and create a lot of resentment amongst other employees. The longer they stay on, the higher the possibility that your own team will lose faith in you and move on.  It is a kindness to let people honestly know how they are doing instead of trying to hedge around the issue.

Waiting Until The Review To Give Feedback

Managers often make this mistake; they wait for performance appraisals (which is the end of the year in most cases) to give feedback about their employees’ performance.  While the timing might seem right, since it’s in conjunction with a review, in all honesty, waiting till the very last does a lot more harm than good. In order for feedback to work, it needs to be fresh and current. Stale feedback helps no one. Think of it in terms of food. Which do you think gives you better nutrition, freshly made bread or stale bread which is over a year old?


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Srikant Chellappa
CEO & Co-Founder of Engagedly

Srikant Chellappa is the Co-Founder and CEO at Engagedly and is a passionate entrepreneur and people leader. He is an author, producer/director of 6 feature films, a music album with his band Manchester Underground, and is the host of The People Strategy Leaders Podcast. He is currently working on his next book, Ikigai at the Workplace, which is slated for release in the fall of 2024.

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