Tag Archives: performance plan

Focus IT Employees with an Effective Employee Performance Plan

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.

Performance Plan

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.

MDE_Performance Plan Template

MDE_Performance Plan-Application Analyst

MDE_Performance Plan-Infrastructure Manager

MDE_Performance Plan-Programmer

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.

Keep an employee file to develop better performance reviews

If you conduct annual employee performance reviews, it can be somewhat challenging to develop the review unless you can remember the things that took place for the past year for the employee you are about to review.

Here is a simple tip that can not only help you create a higher quality employee review, , ,  it will also make it easier and faster.

What a concept, , , better, faster, and easier!

Start by creating a file folder for each employee who reports to you. If you have 12 employees, that’s 12 manila folders.

This will take only a couple of minutes.

Next, put in each folder a sheet of paper with the employee’s name and the current year, , , or the date range by which the next review will cover at the top, , , something like the example below.

Now, you are ready.

At the end of each day, take just a few minutes and think through your day of what took place that is of significance for any of your employees. Things like:

  • Successes and accomplishments
  • Client feedback
  • Coaching sessions
  • Observations

Add a note to the employee’s “Employee Review Notes” sheet in his or her folder so you can remember the event. When you fill up a sheet, add another one.

Get into a habit of dropping things into your employee files that reflect something about an employee’s performance. Things like a note about a nice phone call from a client, , , a mistake the employee makes, , , a positive thing you see the employee take initiative for, , , anything that can tell you later about your employee’s performance.

Believe me, this only takes a few minutes a day, , , or you can spend 10-20 minutes at the end of each week to do it.

The point is that at the end of a year, you aren’t going to remember much of what happened 10 to 12 months ago. You will tend to remember the things that take place in the most recent 60-90 days, , , and that could be good for the employee but it could also be bad. At a minimum, it tends to skew your thoughts toward the end of the performance review period.

You need to consider the entire body of work over the past 12 months, , , not just the most recent months you remember well.

Believe me, , , having these notes when you sit down to develop the employee performance review will be a big time saver and help you develop a much better review for your employee, , , and you will have specific examples to discuss  with him or her.

Not only that, , , I guarantee you the first time you sit down and look at the notes accumulated for an employee will probably shock you. You have never had so much material to work with when developing an employee review.