The Easy Guide to Employee Performance Planning

Performance planning is a great way to give a sense of direction to the employees and create a space for them to grow in their career.  In this guide, we will discuss what is performance planning and the process.

Some useful templates are also provided. You can edit these online; simply click on the template to open them in the editor, modify and download.

What is Performance Planning?

Employee performance planning is a key area in performance management, which deals with improving and developing employee performance to achieve overall business goals.

Performance planning refers to the process of identifying the goals of an individual or organization and planning the best ways to achieve them. It focuses on underpinning the growth of employees and helping their career development.

During performance planning, the company objectives and the performance goals should be communicated to the employee by his senior. And the necessary training, resources, and support should also be provided.

A performance improvement plan lays out the steps an employee, who is underperforming, needs to take to upgrade his or her performance.

On the other hand, a performance development plan is used with employees who are already performing well to identify new ways they can contribute. With underperforming employees, it can be used to identify areas for improvement, set goals and develop strategies to achieve them.

Here are some great team building activities to help you boost your team’s productivity.

Performance Planning Process

Following are the performance planning steps. Performance planning is the first step in performance management. Once you are done with planning, you will move on to implementing it, tracking and reviewing the results.

Identify the Strengths of Each Individual

Start by learning the capabilities of your employees, which will, in turn, help you adjust their responsibilities and customize performance goals.

A handy tool that can be used here is the SWOT analysis. You can either perform a SWOT analysis of each individual working under you or get your team to do a personal SWOT analysis by their own.

The results will reveal to you not only the strengths of the individual, but also their weaknesses, and the opportunities and threats with regard to their career.

Personal SWOT Analysis Template - performance planning
Personal SWOT Analysis Template (Click on the template to edit it online)

Set Performance Goals

Considering his or her strength, establish performance goals. Involve the employee during this step; their participation will help them understand the plan and where he/ she is heading.

However, prior to setting the goals, you need to gain an understanding of the overall goals of the organization, and that of the team or department the employee represents. Then make sure that the individual performance goals align well with them.

You also need to make sure that the goals adhere to the SMART criteria; that they are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.

Carry out an annual or semi-annual performance evaluation to understand the progress of the goals. For this, you should come up with a simple rating scale or indicators to assess the performance.

Career Plan Template - performance planning
Career Plan Template (Click on the template to edit it online)

Define Employee Responsibilities

When you have already established the goals an individual has to achieve within the time period, it becomes easier to define their responsibilities. With a performance review, their responsibilities may change, but they’ll always be assigned a basic set of functions.

Create an organizational chart clearly conveying their place in the organizational or team hierarchy and their roles and responsibilities. This will also let them see how they influence the work of their colleagues as well.

Organizational Chart with Roles and Responsibilities
Organizational Chart with Roles and Responsibilities (Click on the template to edit it online)

Describe the Resources Needed

Once the performance goals are clear, identify the resources necessary to accomplish them. These could vary from computers, training material to action plans.

The action plan should lay out the steps the individual should take to accomplish the goals. Check out this resource on Action Plans to learn how to create one.

Action Plan Template - performance planning
Action Plan Template (Click on the template to edit it online)

Create a Development Plan

This is where you come up with a plan or plans to develop the skills, knowledge and even the attitudes of the employees which are needed to achieve the goals that have been set and carry out the new responsibilities assigned to him/ her.

During this stage, career development plans are built to help the employee understand where they are headed in their career. It will have a positive impact on the employee’s motivation and personal growth.

Software Engineer Career Path - performance improvement
Software Engineer Career Path (Click on the template to edit it online)

Continue to Coach and Counsel

As the employee carry out his/ her responsibilities and the steps laid out in the action plan to achieve the goals, his/her seniors should take it upon themselves to give the support necessary for him/ her to succeed.

Two tools that can help you during this phase are the GROW coaching model and the skill will matrix.

What’s Your Take on Performance Planning?

How do you go about performance planning in your organization? Any additional steps or tips? Do share them with us in the comment section below.

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Amanda Athuraliya

Amanda Athuraliya is the communication specialist/content writer at Creately, online diagramming and collaboration tool. She is an avid reader, a budding writer and a passionate researcher who loves to write about all kinds of topics.

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