Introduction to Performance Management

What is Performance Management?

Managing Performance is a continuous process which aims to ensure that a member of staff effectively contributes to the aims and objectives of the team and in so doing contributes to the achievement of the University’s overall strategic objectives.

Why manage Performance?

It is important to manage performance effectively so that staff are:

  • Clear about what is expected of them in their work.
  • Understand how their role contributes to the University achieving its overall goals.
  • Provided with clear feedback on progress towards objectives.

Also, to enhance individual and team performance and encourage staff engagement you should:

  • Provide staff with the opportunity to contribute ideas and decisions that impact on the team.
  • Ensure that staff have the skills and knowledge to undertake their responsibilities effectively.
  • Motivate staff by recognising good performance and achievement.
  • Deal with concerns that impact of their effectiveness as soon as possible.

Performance Management in Context

The diagram below outlines the different elements of managing performance at Bangor and it illustrates that performance should be a continuous process of development and improvement through goal setting, implementation and review.

Clearly the University Strategy (Building on Success 2015–20) is important as it sets out the University’s objectives in its key strategic areas and the enablers that support those strategies. Based on the University Strategy more detailed strategies and action plans are developed at College and Departmental levels that impact on the work and objectives of individual staff at Bangor. These are then reinforced and reviewed in; induction, probation, feedback and the PDR.

Managing not Bullying

Managers are often worried that in their attempts to manage staff performance that staff will accuse them of bullying. In this context it is important to be aware of the definition of bullying. In the University’s Dignity at Work Policy bullying is defined as:

  • psychological intimidation, humiliation, excessive and/or unreasonable criticism or fault-finding of any colleague or peer, preventing an individual progressing by intentionally blocking promotion or training opportunities;
  • unfair allocation of work and responsibilities or setting unreasonable goals or targets in work, being treated less favourably that other colleagues, persistent unjustified criticism;
  • asserting a position of intellectual superiority in an aggressive, abusive or offensive manner whether orally or in writing, publicly or in private.

In contrast, good management is about being direct and clear about performance and you as a manager explaining what needs to be done. You should listen to staff feedback even if you feel that you can’t act on it and you should expect staff to meet reasonable expectations to do their jobs. With good managers, staff know where they stand. Staff may not like what is happening; but they understand why it is happening. This Toolkit outlines the various stages you should go through when dealing with performance issues. It this is done sensitively, clearly, consistently and proactively then you should not worry about been seen as bullying.

Related to this issue and a Policy that you should be very aware of when managing staff is the University’s Dignity at Work and Study Policy – please see the next page for a link to this Policy.

How can HR help?

Human Resources can help to support you manage performance issues in a variety of ways and depending on the circumstances HR staff can; advise, mediate, suggest that staff may benefit from coaching, training or approach occupational health for support.

HR Officers take individual responsibility for certain Academic Colleges and Central Departments and therefore you should ensure that you know who is your contact. When matters relating to performance arise HR advocate dealing with them as swiftly as possible. Timing is crucial, and you should aim to address problems;

  • Before events turn into patterns of behaviour or activities.
  • Before small problems become larger problems.

Please do not hesitate to contact HR if you are concerned about a performance issue and wish to discuss any problem you may have. HR Officers will be able to advise you on the best approach which may be one of the following options or a mix of options. They can include:

  • Advice on how to raise and discuss performance issues with your staff.
  • Coaching can be offered to tackle the performance related issues as means of offering you a sounding board and a space where you can focus on identifying a solution to the matters at hand. Alternatively, you may feel that the staff member would benefit from working with a coach on a 1:1 basis to identify ways of addressing the issues leading to unsatisfactory performance.
  • Attendance on any relevant University workshops to improve skills and knowledge.
  • Investigating the possibility of mediation (where two members of staff are involved in the issue).
  • Beginning to follow one of the University’s relevant HR procedures.
  • Referral to the Occupational Health Advisor where there maybe pre-existing health and wellbeing issues that can be the trigger for under performance.

Equality and Dignity at Work

A core value that underpins the University’s Strategy includes providing a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment for students and staff. The University’s Equality Policy integrate the principles of equal treatment and promotion of diversity into all aspects of the University’s day-to-day life and the University is committed to providing a positive environment in which staff are treated with dignity, respect and courtesy.

In terms of your role as a manger and performance this means that you should ensure a positive working culture i.e. that you treat staff fairly, communicate effectively and help your staff to improve their performance where necessary.

In terms of your role as a manger, if you do get a complaint regarding bullying and harassment do not ignore a complaint because, for example, you believe the member of staff is being over sensitive. Everyone has the right to decide what behaviour is acceptable to them and they have a right to have their feelings respected by others. Deal with these issues as soon as you can to stop the continuation of any negative behaviours by individuals.

Situations such as this are seldom straightforward. Therefore as a manager you should familiarise yourself with the University’s Dignity at Work and Study Policy.