The Website and Blog of HR Author and Speaker Lori Kleiman

Strategic Performance Management

Want to stay competitive in 2017? Get your team aligned, get them strong, regular feedback, and watch performance and productivity increase!

Defining Performance Management

We all talk about performance management in human resources; however, the question being asked today… Is performance really yours to manage? You need employees who are effective and engaged, as adults we hope they will take responsibility for that. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. For human resources in 2017, we have to focus on what our organizations need, and how to align the talent we have toward driving results.

Productivity and alignment are two of the most important processes at your organization. When feedback is provided effectively, employees will see the link between what they do and what you need to be successful.  They will understand what needs to be done, and how it impacts the whole organization. And you can do this with a framework that starts with the strategic vision for your organization.

Why Bother?

Studies indicate that the employee in the workforce today does not want their performance managed, but they are craving feedback. They want time with their managers, and understand what is expected, and how they can exceed those expectations. Employee feedback has a very real place in your organization. It will impact:

  • Getting employees aligned with your goals
  • Compliance obligations
  • Engaging the employee
  • Planning for the future
  • Supporting your employees desire to do a great job
  • Ensure that the activities of employees are aligned with your strategic objectives

Therefore, the focus today is moving toward more frequent conversational feedback sessions and a limited reliance on formal documentation. Ideally, a monthly sit down with manager and employee will serve your organization well. While it can seem overwhelming to meet with employees monthly, quarterly is generally workable for most managers and will still provide an acceptable level of engagement with your team.

Yes, It Takes Time

Consider the real reason you are meeting with an employee each time the conversations occur. You are using valuable organizational resources with each meeting, so be clear on the purpose. The meeting might be to:

  • Set or review goals
  • Discuss salary
  • Ensure employee understands the business goals
  • Provide feedback
  • Spend time with the employee to show you care
  • Compliance

OR all the above!

When and How

Have casual, but focused, monthly meetings with your employees. Agree to focus on strategic initiatives that will drive your department to organizational success, and then check in around those topics. You can discuss these four topics in 15 – 20 minutes and create a meaningful connection with your employees.

  1. Successes this month
  2. Challenges to be solved
  3. Progress toward goals
  4. Training or tools needed

Set appointments for the year in your calendar and invite the employee to ensure they happen. The date and time can move if needed during the year, but without the system in place, they are likely to be forgotten.

What Should We Do Now?

Listen – the your employees, leadership and the HR community.  Consider a new feedback program for the new year that is focused on your strategic initiatives, and how your employees are working to support those initiatives. For annual reviews, consider a program that gives a broad overview of the past year, but primarily focuses the conversation on the new year. The meeting between manager and employee should discuss goals, training and the next step for the employee in your organization.

Lori Kleiman is an HR expert who presents to business people and groups. Click here to see a video of Lori in action. If you’d like to have Lori keynote one of her HR presentations at your upcoming event, click here, or email Lori directly at!
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