Workforce Planning – Part 2 – Using Employee Performance Reviews for planning

2018-06-11 Workplan Banner - part 2

The start of winter heralds a time of reflection and planning.  Businesses are setting budgets, reviewing the year that has been and considering what is ahead.  Your employees will be doing the same, especially if performance reviews and pay reviews are on the cards from June.

When it comes to your people, your employees, you need a workforce plan or HR Plan.  It doesn’t matter whether you have 3 staff or 20 staff, you need a plan that incorporates these four key aspects. 

  1. Business Change
  2. Employee Performance
  3. Capability and Expertise
  4. Salary/Wages Budgets

We will touch on each of these as part of our 5 part Workforce Planning blog series.  Read it and reflect, and use to develop your Workforce Plan. 

If it all sounds too hard and you need help developing your plan, please get in touch.  We will spend time with you to not only develop your plan but also help you bring it life.  Contact us on 021 069 1913 or advice.info@stapletonconsult.com


Part Two – Employee Performance

It is easy to forget how far you have come and what has been learnt along the way.  Time flies by at a fast rate.  Reflect on the achievements and learnings from your past to help shape the future.

May and June are typically performance review time for many.  Not many enjoy this time of year, as we can be at our most vulnerable and we are not all brilliant communicators when it comes to feedback.  These reviews can be stressful because you have held back from giving feedback during the year.  Meaning you are about to unload a whole years’ worth in one hit and there has been no opportunity to use that feedback and make change or achieve improvements.  This is irrespective of whether you are the manager or the employee too.

Performance reviews don’t have to be stressful and give you sweaty palms at the mere thought of it.  If you are catching up with your people once a month informally, made notes and invested time building trust and a good relationship, what have you got to lose by telling the truth and reminding them of all the things you have already talked about, right?

A performance review (irrespective of ratings etc) is simply that.  A review of what has already happened. A summary of how things have gone over a period of time.

You can’t change the past but you can use it to change your future.

During the review meeting the majority of time should be spent talking about the future. Not dwelling on the past.  In particular use the job description, budgets, business plans or financial reports to identify and discuss the following as it relates to the business and the person’s job/work:

  • the areas of business that will be of priority or importance and why
  • any concerns or inefficiencies with execution of process or use of systems
  • areas that need improving and how this may occur
  • ideas for potential changes to make and why
  • ideal timeframes, targets and goals
  • potential consequences if success is not achieved

It is important that an understanding of the bigger picture (i.e. vision, business plan and business performance measures) is conveyed, as well as how the team or person’s work contributes to the overall business plan and what is expected from them.  This is especially important when setting targets and goals that may initially seem out of reach for the person.

We have read many articles that read – “performance reviews are dead”.  Our opinion is – performance reviews are not dead, you simply need to change the focus.

Employee performance reviews need to move away from ratings and scales that attempt to rank people and assign numbers to behaviours.  Instead the reviews need to move towards regular conversations and feedback about performance.  And not just focus on individual performance either.  Business performance and plans are an important part too.

Don’t just talk about the individual either.  Ask questions about your performance and the business too.

Feedback from performance reviews and informal catch ups is integral.  What your people tell you, will keep you in touch with how the business is operating and your team.  Would you rather know today or tomorrow whether your plans and your intentions align with what your people are doing?   If they don’t align, how do you quickly get back on track or is a change in direction required?  This is where your Workforce Plan comes into it.

Use your performance reviews to determine if your workforce plan needs changing.  Feedback you received could highlight that:

  • skill or expertise gaps need to be filled with training
  • constantly high workloads are unsustainable and you need more people
  • the way your people are organised is not working well for communication or is creating inefficiencies
  • changes in personal circumstances or priorities
  • you have become so efficient that your people are not fully utilised

These points above may relate to one person or an entire team.  To get good feedback about the business and the workforce plan here are some questions you may want to ask:

  • How you can I better support you to do your job the best you can?
  • What barriers, frustrations or challenges do you face that you need my help to clear to make it easier for you to succeed?
  • What would you change or seek to improve if you were CEO for a day? And why?
  • What do you think is our biggest opportunity we not yet targeting and why?

You might just find the most important piece of the puzzle for your workforce plan in the answers.  Don’t accept ‘I don’t know’ as an answer.  Get them to think about and come back to you later.

The more often you ask these questions, the more freely the feedback will come and the quicker you can respond.

Struggling with performance reviews?  Not sure on what to say or scared of what your employee may say?

We can be the impartial person at the table, helping to clarify feedback, coaching you and keeping it on point so you and your people can get the most out the review or team meetings. Contact us on 021 069 1913 or advice.info@stapletonconsult.com

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