IT employees have a huge need to understand what it takes to be successful. They also want to know if they are achieving success.
Two of the highest quality times you have with an employee are when you deliver a performance plan to the employee and later on when you deliver the performance review based upon that plan.
Performance planning and review meetings are excellent coaching opportunities. They give you the chance to spell out exactly what you want from your employee and an ability to reinforce areas where improvement is needed.
I use a simple Employee Performance Plan approach. In each employee’s plan, I target major objectives such as Client Service, Quality, Productivity, or Training & Education. In each targeted area, list specific performance objectives that are important for the employee’s success, , , and that contribute to your IT organization’s success.
For each major performance area, you should place a weighting factor to help focus the employee on the most important aspects of the plan. It also helps you establish a more objective performance evaluation when you do the review.
Developing a performance plan for an individual can take several hours if you do it from scratch. A tip I like to use is to develop a standard performance plan for each group within my team, , , for example a standard template for programmers, one for business analysts, and a separate standard for Help Desk staff, etc.
I’ll spend a couple hours developing the standard for each group. But, when it comes time to develop individual plans, I simply take the standard and tweak it for the employee I’m developing a plan for.
A good example of this is to use programmers as a group. If you have two programmers you want to develop performance plans for, you start each plan with the same programmer performance plan standard you’ve created. Every programmer has Training and Education, Productivity, and Quality performance focus areas in their plan.
However, the two programmers are very different and should have different levels of focus in their individual performance plan, , , possibly even different action items or responsibilities. For example, one programmer needs stronger focus on quality but not so much in productivity. The other programmer is just the opposite, , , he needs better focus on productivity but not on quality because he does such a good job in programming quality already. You tweak these sections of the plan to for each employee appropriately for what they need.
Creating a standard plan for a job discipline such as programmers or PC Techs will help you develop individual plans for employees within those disciplines much faster and more consistently with one another.
Click on the following links to download the template and sample performance plans I’ve developed and used.
Another good tip is to maintain a file for each employee and drop in notes during the year that reflect the positives and “needs improvement” issues so you have reference information to use when you develop the employee’s performance review.
I usually spend a good bit of time on the reviews and try to write constructive reviews that provide the employee with real substance that will help them. You owe it to your employees to do this, , , they work hard for you and need your guidance. Having notes from activities that occurred over the past 12 months helps you provide substance that is reflective of the entire year rather than just the last couple of months.
Above all, don’t miss out on the quality time you have with your employee when delivering their performance plans and reviews, , , it’s too important to neglect.