Performance management system checklist

A good performance management system contains the following elements:


  • Recruit on behaviour and skills; train knowledge.
  • Do not accept less than you require.
  • Use behavioural event interview questions.
  • Consider using in-tray exercises to determine ability to prioritise.
  • Check references.
  • Use probationary periods.


  • Induct thoroughly.
    • Induction is the time when the new employee gains their sense of purpose.
  • Do not limit yourself to formal face-to-face and e-learning modules.
    • Toolbox meetings.
    • Quizzes, crosswords, puzzles.
    • Competitions.
    • Work site role plays.
    • Mentors.
    • Forums, online and physical.
    • Curated content.
  • Design and create measures for the training outcomes you want before designing training.
  • Involve your people as trainers.
  • Train managers and supervisors to coach.

Coaching and Counselling

  • Give fast, accurate, specific and timely feedback.
  • Set up formal coaching sessions.
  • Use experienced empathetic people in non-supervisory roles as coaches too.
  • Counsel for poor performance and poor behaviour.
    • The ninety percent of people who do not require counselling will be watching to see what you do.


  • Set up formal appraisals no less than annually, preferably every six months.
  • Appraise against quality, quantity, job knowledge, initiative, reliability, adaptability.
  • Have supervisor and employee complete the appraisal and compare.
  • Set new goals for next appraisal for everyone.
    • Include completion of training as a goal.
  • Career plan for those who want a career.

Reward and recognition

  • Use rewards that can link directly with the performance in the memory of the recipient.
  • For monetary rewards use a salary plus pool system for best results.
    • Create a pool of funds.
    • The availability of the pool is triggered by a single measure which the team can influence.
    • The pool is divided amongst a team using a set of measures which the individual can readily influence.
  • Publically recognise performance.
    • e.g. League tables for teams, outstanding employee.
    • Take care not to embarrass shy people.

Career development

  • Publish typical career pathways.
    • Identify competency development required along the pathway.
    • Consider establishing coaching roles as additional pathways.
  • Succession plan for leadership roles and key operational roles.
  • Use assignments, project teams and temporary transfers to stretch and train people.