Successful Performance Management: Effective Strategy, Best Practice and Key Skills

By Anne Sexton - Last update

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Successful Performance Management: Effective Strategy, Best Practice and Key Skills is a comprehensive study by Dr Gerry McMahon. It also provides a very relevant and accessible guide for both employer and employee.

This book would be really useful for anyone working in HR, or a departmental,  functional  or organisational head. It is particularly relevant for anyone charged with implementing or overhauling the organisational performance management system. It would also be a great resource and refresher to dip into when preparing for a review.

Irish managers need to do more

Dr McMahon makes the case for the value of performance management systems. Ensuring organisations optimise employee performance is essential. The OECD criticised Irish managers for not taking performance management systems seriously, undertaking them as “little more than a paper exercise.”

The book then contextualises performance management systems. Principally, they are the preferred organisational approach for improving performance, agreeing pay bonuses, reviewing  performance and guiding the future development of individuals and teams.

In Ireland, more than eight out of ten organisations use a formal performance management system. McMahon contends that performance management is an important and very relevant business system that impacts significantly organisational performance. However, he notes that the success of any system depends on how engaged and committed senior management are to implementing the system.

It is also important that managers charged with performing performance management reviews have the required people skills. They also need to complete the process, such as by a follow up with the reviewee after the meeting.

McMahon continues by detailing the varied performance management systems in place. Furthermore, he examines what works well and what’s not so useful about each system. There are useful chapters on choosing the right performance management system to fit your organisational culture and how to evaluate the system in place.

Excellent resources included

The book then provides a number of excellent resources. Firstly, there’s a very useful “how-to” section for the reviewer in the performance management system. There are practical, relevant tips and techniques. These include how to prepare for, and undertake, the review meeting, and how to follow up post meeting. There are also useful review scenarios that frequently arise and how to approach them.

For the reviewee there’s a chapter on how to prepare for and get the most from the review. A further chapter on dealing with underperformance through coaching, mentoring and the performance management system is an excellent refresher. Finally, the appendices provide suggestions of useful questions for the reviewer, a self-assessment form for the reviewee and a number of case studies of organisations and their performance management systems.

Isobel Tynan is a senior Learning & Talent Development Professional and AC accredited coach. She has 15 years experience within the Professional Services and engineering sectors in the UK, France and Ireland. As an accredited coach with the Association for Coaching, Isobel coaches individuals transitioning into new roles and taking up leadership positions. Isobel has a particular interest on the career advancement of females in the professional and financial services. She has also guest lectured in DCU on this topic.

Anne Sexton

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