You invest a lot of time in finding the right people to join your team. So, it’s important that once you have made the decision to hire someone, you must give this partnership the very best chance of delivering a great outcome for your business.
Position descriptions – the most important document of them all
A clearly written position description (PD) is a critical starting point for any new employee. Correctly constructed, utilised and updated, it’s a map for the employee’s development within your business. As the employer, you need to document your expectations of the role, but review the document with the employee and invite their input, as they are the one doing the tasks. This early review will help identify any training issues that are required; or hopefully, identify areas where your new hire has additional skills they can bring to tasks.
Link your Policy and Procedures manual to the PD – these documents go hand in hand for the professional, ethical, safe carrying out of duties. Also, add your company’s purpose, vision, DNA to the PD – this shouldn’t be in a separate document: it should be an integral part of setting your expectations and developing your workplace culture.
During the probation period, employers should be ensuring that the new employee is provided with all the training and instruction needed to perform their role. It’s important to review the progress of the new team member frequently during this probation period as it is not fair or acceptable – out of the blue – to tell someone a day before their probation period ends, that they are not performing the job to your expectations.
The PD should be reviewed at least annually, and certainly updated and re-issued, if there is a change of role. Some businesses include KPI’s in the PD. If you want to do this, then it needs to be updated frequently to ensure the team member knows and understands their changing goals.
Use the PD as a running checklist for your team member – what has been trained; what has been mastered; what needs teaching; and what new skills do they need to harness?
Position descriptions are very important documents if you carrying out a performance management process.
Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s)
All businesses want to build a culture of self-accountability and drive. KPI’s are the tools that employers should use to set and measure the tasks, that an employee needs to successfully achieve to become a fully contributing member of the team. Best practice is for the direct manager to meet with the employee on a regular basis to agree on the tasks that need to be achieved, on what timeline and then document this. Follow up meetings should be had to review progress (if the timeline is lengthy), or actual results.
KPI’s should be simple and consistent. The fact is that all tasks that your team members carry out should have a KPI attached, not just the big hairy projects.
KPI’s provide an expectation: an outcome for a task – not just the fact that it was done, but what did doing it actually achieve? In today’s world, we want people, whether they are in the office or working virtually, to always be self-accountable and engaged in their purpose.
Performance reviews should not be confused with salary reviews. A pay increase may arise out of a performance review, but your team should understand that the two aren’t necessarily directly linked.
If a process of setting KPI’s is managed well, then formal performance reviews can be held annually. There are a variety of methods for carrying this out, including a “360 degree” method where all team members are asked to evaluate their colleague. This is quite a confronting method and many employers elect instead to provide the employee with a form before the review, where they are asked to rate themselves, and make comments on how they see their effectiveness in areas such as:
- Job knowledge
- Communication skills
- Problem solving and decision-making
- Planning and organisation skills
- Quality and quantity of work
- Interpersonal skills
- Initiative and resourcefulness
- Supervisory skills
The employer carries out the same exercise, rating the employee and making useful comments. These two documents provide a strong foundation for a very constructive review of how an employee is performing, and out of this will naturally fall areas of strength or concern, allowing the employer to plan training but also look to increasing responsibilities in areas that are ranked highly.
These documents, used correctly, are tools to help you build a transparent, engaged culture, and self-motivated employees who are capable and competent.