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Report card: Performance management techniques that work

Managing staff performance is part of the job for HR - but there are some tried and true ways to perfect this function. We speak to Dawn Tsoubos of CUA, Moira Herbert of Nielsen and Peter Coyne of Crown Melbourne for their thoughts on ensuring staff are up to scratch.

Video transcript below:

Donna Sawyer, HC TV
Donna Sawyer:
 Managing staff performance is all in a day’s work for most HR  professionals, but getting it right every time can be tricky.  Dawn Tsoubos of CUA says organisations need to have a clear process in place to ensure there is consistency across the board.  

Dawn Tsoubos, CUA
Dawn Tsoubos:  HR’s role is to define the strategy for performance management initially and then work through how we actually implement that within the organisation and in fact we have just reviewed our total performance management system over the last 12 months.  So our role is firstly to accept that and then we would actually then communicate that and help train people particularly our leaders in actually understanding how to  actually manage those conversations with their staff members throughout the year.  
 
Lee Golding, Travelport
Lee Golding:  We are actually looking at the rating scale.  We have a 5 point scale and what we found is being a meets expectation employee in a company that has high expectations of people is interpreted as being not good enough.
 
Moira Herbert, Nielsen
Moira Herbert:  Our biggest contribution is really in terms of how things support and aid the manager to have really constructive conversations and really clear plans around how that employee is going to improve or work towards closing those development areas.
Donna Sawyer:  Moira Herbert of Nielsen says the key challenge for HR is ensuring managers within an organisation are skilled to have those difficult conversations when it’s required.
 
Moira Herbert: Getting managers to really support the performance management process or improvement plan, I think its definitely one of the biggest challenges.  The other is actually around helping managers have difficult conversations, providing feedback in a constructive way is probably a lot easier said than done.
 
Dawn Tsoubos:  Our role is to make sure that we upskill our managers when they first join CUA to actually understand what our expectations of our managers are and we do that through an induction program that we call jumpstarting to leadership.  What we also do is throughout the year, is have additional training sessions and opportunities for people to actually managers to come in and talk through and understand and learn some of the key things around managing a team.  
 
Donna Sawyer:  Dawn Tsoubos of CUA says technology has proven to be useful in managing performance.  
 
Dawn Tsoubos:  Peoplestreme have assisted us with our online performance management system.  The great thing about it is how they are customisable.  So for us, we have our own process and our own system and we used to set the online system to help support that.  We have also developed a further the work with Peoplestreme because the second component of managing performance and improving performance is how we can actually assist somebody with their own career development.  So we have actually now I guess branched out and developed the tool that will be further to actually look at how we have career conversations with our employees as well.  
 
Donna Sawyer:  Well HR can spend a lot of time and energy dealing with poor performance.  Peter Coyne of Crown, Melbourne says don’t forget to reward and recognise those who are meeting and exceeding targets.  
 
Peter Coyne, Crown Melbourne
Peter Coyne:  Most of our people are good or strong performers, very few are poor performers and yet like in a lot of things in life, a lot of effort goes into focusing on under performance.  Yeah, we have got to be conscious of it.  But our performance management systems really focus on rewarding and recognising what we call capable performance and extended performance within the organisation.
 
Dawn Tsoubos:  We expect that our managers actually engage in conversations with our employees weekly, daily, monthly as needed particularly around their performance, particularly to say all the things that are going well and provide some reward and recognition around that and also to make sure that we manage performance if there are actually is some issues and we actually manage that very quickly before it actually becomes a bigger issue.
 
Donna Sawyer:  This is Donna Sawyer reporting for HC TV.