Staff performance management is a process of ensuring that a set of activities and outputs meets an organisation’s goals in an effective and efficient manner.
Education and training providers need to ensure that employees understand expectations and to enable this, leaders need to make sure they are well managed, are motivated and have the skills, guidance and support needed to be successful. Performance management is the activities and processes that focus on these areas to maintain and improve employee performance in line with an organisation’s objectives.
Although performance management should not be an exercise to meet OfSTED requirements, education and training providers should always consider the Education Inspection Framework. In their judgements, inspectors will want to see that:
leaders focus on improving staff’s subject, pedagogical and pedagogical content knowledge to enhance the teaching of the curriculum and the appropriate use of assessment. The practice and subject knowledge of staff are built up and improve over time
leaders engage with their staff and are aware and take account of the main pressures on them. They are realistic and constructive in the way that they manage staff, including their workload
The main objectives of performance management can be defined as:
- Defining roles and expectations
- Developing functions against professional standards
- Ensuring that there is employee engagement
- Developing managerial leadership and coaching skills
- Working towards improved performance to benefit teaching and learning
- Rewarding staff for achievement
Professional standards set a level of quality or attainment and are designed to support professionalism.
Standards often reflect an efficient approach, in which staff activities are translated into requirements. If these standards are aligned with job roles then staff will have a clear development plan to ensure that their performance meets a framework designed for their specific work needs.
Professional standards can be set by external accreditation agencies or developed internally to meet the needs of the organisation.
Some useful frameworks include:
- ETF Professional Standards for Teachers and Trainers in Education and Training
- ETF Leadership Competency Framework
- DfE Teachers’ Standards
It is the responsibility of leaders to develop their staff as they inherently want to perform well and usually, underperformance is the result of poor management. Leaders need to support their team to find positive solutions, rather than focusing on blame, criticism and recrimination, the traditional resorts of old-style strict control and organisations.
It is the responsibility of leaders to develop staff and get the best out of them. To do this, leaders need to be clear about their expectations and how they will support staff in achieving them. All staff have different levels of skills, knowledge, experience and capabilities and leaders need to identify these and work to develop them as part of their performance management activities.
Without a system in place to define roles, understand individual strengths and weaknesses, provide feedback, trigger interventions and reward positive behaviour, it is much more difficult for managers to lead their employees effectively.
How to carry out Performance Management
Performance management involves:
- Setting performance measures
- Regular meetings with staff to discuss performance
- Reviewing staff performance against the measures
- Identifying opportunities for improvement
Why robust performance management is essential for education and training providers:
- It will help to motivate staff
- Ensures that staff are working to organisational goals and objectives
- Sets a development framework for staff
- Identify and improve poor performance
- Support the development of high-quality teaching and learning
Performance management is an ongoing process, and once the framework is established, it is vital to monitor and review it. Staff development is a continual process, and managers need to work closely with staff to identify any weaknesses or areas of support. Likewise, it also provides an opportunity to identify and build on any successes. The development of staff should be an on-going consideration for employees and their managers. Managers should regularly talk with their team members about what opportunities may be available and listen to what sort of development they might be interested in.
It is also important to remember that the workplace is continually changing and so over time the aims of your performance management arrangements may change too.
This might be because of:
Internal pressures – such as staff changes, skills shortages and changes in delivery or course priorities
External pressures – such as inspection and accreditation, the economy, changes in technology and the approach to delivery and stakeholder requirements.
Performance Management vs Performance Appraisals
The difference between performance management and performance appraisals can be summarised as follows:
Performance appraisals are reactive and look at what the employee has already done within a specific period. It is the opportunity to reflect on the performance and to rate the employee.
Performance management is proactive and looks at what needs to be done with the employee to enhance performance and meet future goals. It focusses on the development of knowledge, skills and capabilities. This is vital as it benefits both the employee and the organisation.
Performance Management Strategy
Performance management strategies should be an ongoing process which:
- Sets out a clear vision on how performance will be managed across the whole organisation.
- Sets out a clear method on how performance will be improved
- Sets out clear objectives for staff to meet performance expectations
- Identifies methods to help develop all staff
Performance Management Cycle
The performance management cycle has 4 steps:
Step 1 – Planning
Each member of staff should have clear, SMART performance objectives.
Specific – what is required
Measurable – how performance will be measured
Achievable – what can be achieved
Relevant – objectives have to appropriate to a job and aligned with professional standards
Time-bound – objectives should be achievable in the given time frame
Step 2 – Performing
Performing a job role allows employees to do what is expected of them. With the right support and clear objectives, employees will be able to deliver to the expected level. However, staff should be allowed to ask for support, feedback and additional guidance. If they have support and motivation, it will help them to:
Be motivated and productive
Have a positive attitude
Embrace change and overcome obstacles
Identify and enable improvements.
Step 3 – Tracking
In this step, both managers and employees will obtain and give feedback as well as coaching. One of the methods that can be used is 360° feedback which gathers input from different sources, including peers, direct reports, more senior colleagues and customers. This provides a wide range of views and offers information on overall performance management.
Step 4 – Reviewing
This stage is where leaders meet with employees and complete the formal review. It involves reviewing performance against each of the objectives and where necessary setting additional short term goals.
Reviews should be performed more than once per year as any support needs to be identified quickly.
Performance management is a critical factor in the overall development of staff and meeting organisational goals. It is not just a tick box exercise to meet an OfSTED requirement.
Good performance will help staff to develop and improve the delivery of teaching and learning.
Using Stedfast to conduct staff performance
1 Professional standards are added to Stedfast
2 Job roles are aligned with professional standards
3 Add objectives for each member of staff – objectives can be aligned with professional standards and planned CPD activities.
4 Review staff against all objectives
To learn more please visit https://stedfast.io/staff-performance-management