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Chapter 9. Using Performance Management ... > Using Performance Management to Solv... - Pg. 93

Using Performance Management to Help 93 Addressing the Productivity Issue As part of the regular performance-planning process for each of your employees, you meet with Joseph. You tell him you'd like to set some benchmarks for measuring his job performance so that he will be able to see how he's doing throughout the year. You negotiate some criteria, one of which has to do with the number of widgets he produces (or sells). You document that discussion, and both you and Joseph indicate agreement about that particular measure. Each month you meet for a few minutes to discuss how Joseph has been doing. By and large Joseph tells you, but you also might be collecting production information so you will have some objective data. Let's say Joseph is below target in the first month. OK. In the ongoing communication process, you and Joseph work together to find the source of the problem and resolve it. Again, all this is documented with some short notes. Insider Secrets There's an old axiom. It's easy to measure the unimportant but it's hard to measure what's really relevant. That's the case with performance management. It's easy to measure how many phone calls a person makes. It's hard to evaluate how well a person communicates during the phone calls. Nothing is perfect. Sometimes you have to use fuzzy criteria. The problem continues. Despite trying to work with Joseph, by the time you get to the end of the year (and the performance review), things haven't improved. At the performance-review meeting, you discuss what has happened during the year and specify any consequences for Joseph if he doesn't meet the agreed-upon targets. There's nothing new there. Then you document that discus- sion. Of course, you could use disciplinary action and consequences any time during the year, also. Obviously, you can't wait a whole year all the time. If you do have to use some form of disciplinary action, then you have got the information and doc- umentation you need to do it effectively and with less legal risk. Addressing the Softer Team Issues As we've pointed out, people are difficult in a wide variety of ways. Sometimes their difficult behavior relates directly to their productivity (or lack of it). But probably more often and more aggravating is the difficult behavior that isn't directly related to productivity, but in the ways some people interact with others. So what about Paul, the guy who does his job pretty well but makes everyone around him miserable? What if Paul actually reduces the productivity of others but performs well personally? Can perform- ance management be used in those circumstances? Yes, it can. However, it's harder than dealing with productivity or direct job-related results. Here's why. If Paul is supposed to produce 100 widgets and produces 50, it's possible to observe it, count the production, and document that productivity problem in a relatively objective way.