The ‘best performance management’ often doesn’t get done because it requires the discipline of honoring an on-going commitment. It’s akin to exercise—everyone knows it’s good for you and you need to do it on a regular basis to get the full benefit, yet many people don’t do it.
Often companies do a good job of evaluating employee’s on a yearly basis in the form of a performance review which usually include goals for the coming year. These might include revenue goals, new initiatives or projects to launch, or developmental areas to focus on. All worthwhile topics for discussion and review, but often those documents are only revisited again at the end of the year.
Effective performance management needs to be an on-going process so that individuals can make adjustments to their activity in real-time, rather than reflecting back over an outcome, good or bad, months later. Ideally the performance management discussion is held monthly and reporting out is done in advance of the meeting, so face time is not wasted on reviewing of spreadsheets and reports. Once the habit is established within an organization, it feels odd to not be reviewing performance in real-time—it leaves people with the vague feeling that they’re missing something important.