The performance management guide

Assess performance. For many companies, it remains a task that often brings few noticeable results. For example, 90% of the drilling systems are found to be unsuccessful. How are you supposed to do it? On this page you will find everything about performance management.


  1. The classic assessment and performance interview
  2. Innovative performance management
  3. Getting started with performance management
  4. Transparency within performance management
  5. Shift up a gear with technology

1. The classical assessment and performance interview

What purpose does the assessment or performance interview serve?

Evaluation interviews are a reality in many organizations. Unfortunately, they are often not carried out correctly, because they have not recorded in advance what one wants to achieve with the conversation. So first ask yourself the question, what purpose does the conversation serve? From there, the choice for the conversation type follows.
  1. The purpose of an assessment interview is to assess an employee's performance. The result of such a conversation is the basis for making decisions about, for example, wage increases.
  2. The purpose of a performance interview is to discuss the development and growth of the employee. There are no consequences to this kind of conversation.

Too often an assessment interview, too little a performance interview

More and more the focus is on lifelong learning. Training yourself as an employee and growing within your position, in the breadth and/or depth, is becoming increasingly important. But employees can't do this alone. The organisation must support them in this.

In a performance interview, the manager acts as a coach, there is open two-way communication and one has a clear goal for the future. Unlike the review, the manager not only judges, but also listens. The open two-way communication allows them to draw up a personal development plan (POP) together. The purpose of a performance interview is therefore to inspire and support rather than teach.

Keep both conversations separate

Both conversations deserve their place in an organization, but the danger lies in the simultaneous use. Honesty and openness is the basis of a performance interview, but when discussing in the same conversation whether someone receives a pay rise based on their performance, things go wrong. The person in question will want to prove himself and (partly unconsciously) do impression management. This means that it will be as good as possible to leave a positive impression with the manager.

In that case, the employee will probably not be able to cite and discuss work points, for fear of not getting the pay rise. This ensures that the beneficial characteristics of the performance interview, namely the development of the employee, are destroyed.

Non-violent communication is key to feedback

How does nonviolent communication work in theory?

Nonviolent communication was defined by Marshall B. Rosenberg and helps both the recipient and the giver of feedback. Non-violent communication states that feedback is the reflection of someone else's perception of your behaviour. When you use non-violent communication, you are aware that your perception of someone's behavior can be completely different than that person himself envisions.

When giving feedback, non-violent communication rests on the following four pillars:
  1. Observation: giving the facts, describe the behavior that a person has exhibited
  2. Feelings: tell the person what their actions have brought to you, how they have made you feel
  3. Needs: explain what you would need, what can explain your feelings
  4. Request: Tell the person what kind of behavior you would like them to adopt in the future. Be as clear and concrete as possible and formulate it as a request, not as a requirement

Concrete application: employee who often arrives late

The late lyation of your colleague can be an expression of many different reasons. A bad way to give feedback would be: "You're really rude because you're always late to meetings, come on time next time". This kind of incomplete feedback can ensure that the person receiving it does not feel addressed or even misunderstood at all. That's why it's important to make it clear how this behavior happens to you.

A non-violent way of giving feedback is thus:"In the past month you have always arrived too late at 3 of our 4 meetings(observation). This made me feel that you were not interested in the scheduled meetings and it also gave me extra stress(feelings)as I also had a very full agenda those days, which caused me to lose a lot of time waiting for you. It would mean a lot to me if you came on time(need). Would you like to arrive in the future on time or give a signal if you are late? (request)"

2. Innovative performance management

Why does performance management fit better into a modern policy?

An appraisal interview is a "formal, periodic, systematic, conscious and as objective as possible evaluation of an employee's performance". It is a method of evaluation that has been used for decades and has caused dissatisfaction for just as long.

A performance appraisal would you think? In itself it is of course a good thing that certain topics are discussed openly. However, this is too occasional. If your company wants to keep up with the rapid changes in the (digital) labour market, it is not enough to hold an evaluation interview only on an annual or six-monthly basis. Moreover, the performance interview deals too much with the past and thus lacks its purpose. Too little attention is still paid to ways in which individual employees can grow for the benefit of the company.

To be successful as an organisation in the current labour market, you have to evolve with it. The focus should be more on creating a good work culture and environment in which people can learn throughout their lives. This is because more and more people no longer work because they have to, but because they want to. A good performance appraisal system is a way to increase the attractiveness of your organisation, but a constructive evaluation process is much more than that.

What does performance management mean?

Performance managament is a powerful management tool that an organization can implement to achieve business goals. It systematically defines and translates the mission, strategy and objectives of the organisation to all levels of the organisation. Critical success factors and performance indicators(KPIs, key performance indicators)are then used as a measuring tool to determine where guidance is still needed to achieve the set goals.

For example, assessment and performance interviews are regularly scheduled and the purpose of a conversation is always well thought out in advance. But the most important thing about performance management is that these conversations are supplemented by informal and continuous feedback that provides and motivates the employees more frequently.

The benefits of performance management

The goals set for an individual are directly related to the goals of the organization. This is a positive, because employees appear to be more motivated by this. Knowing that they are doing relevant work increases their commitment. Furthermore, there are many other advantages linked to working with performance management:
  1. Better financial results
  2. Higher satisfaction & engagement
  3. Better performance
  4. Reduced staff turnover

3. Get started with performance management

But how do you apply performance management concretely? And how can you implement this process in your company? Here are some tips and applications of performance management.

#1 Determine KPIs, and make it the business mentality of

Your company probably has a mission, and you know where you want to go. First and foremost, try to convert that mission to key performance indicators (KPIs). Then try to make these KPIs your business mentality. As a result, your employees, as well as your customers, will associate your business with the mindset you exude.

For example, hotel chain citizenM prides itself on the most optimal experience for 'the mobile traveller'. The organization focuses entirely on the needs of their target audience by combining a human approach and technology. But more importantly, new employees are immersed in the mindset of customer focus through intensive but thorough training. So that she actually wants to convey what citizenM wants to stand for.

#2 Engage regularly with your employees and be involved

It is a good idea to regularly get among your employees. Find out what's alive and ask (individual feedback. Show that performance management works in two directions. This way you stay fully involved with your teams. That only plays in the benefit of their growth and that of your company.

Shoe chain Torfs has been leading the top of Best Employers for years. CEO Wouter Torfs gives his teams a say and believes in honest and transparent communication. Happy employees take care of happy customers, he believes. That's why he still visits the physical stores every week. There he is asked to what extent the employees express the vision of Torfs and above all: whether they are still satisfied with their job.

#3 Give confidence and let go

Don't get us wrong: involvement doesn't mean constantly monitoring your team. As a manager, you want to give your team members confidence. So delegate tasks and let go of some situations. After all, micromanagement would only be at the expense of the performance of your employees. Are you dealing with an annoying issue yourself? Then get it out to the team. Show that open communication is the holy grail of high-performing teams. Then your employees take over this attitude automatically.

Hr tech start-up Kazi believes it's essential that everyone can do his or her thing without being looked at. "Every team member has already been through certain things with us that enable them to do their job independently. If you can give that confidence to your employees, you get an incredible amount in return," says founder Nikolaas Bellens.

4. Transparency within performance management

Transparency means that management and hr communicate openly about certain aspects of business operations. This can relate to objectives, remuneration, strategic decisions or the operational operation. But what do you gain as a company if you make your performance management more transparent?

Transparency increases the attractiveness of the company

It takes a lot of effort to find the right candidate. In a recent survey of 160 SMEs, we asked about their priorities for hr in 2020. 62% indicated that recruitment and selection is at the top of that list. By setting up transparent performance management you show potential candidates that they can grow in your company the way they want to.

Transparency increases productivity

Increasing productivity is important for every HR professional and team manager. Of course, this is easier said than done, because many factors (also outside the company) can have an effect on productivity. With the following 3 tips you can already build a more transparent performance management that ensures higher productivity.

Tip 1: Align individual performance with overall business objectives
When employees understand how their performance fits within the objectives of the company, they feel more involved and place greater trust in their employer. They will also be more committed when they see that they are contributing to the result, and may even come up with their own ideas to do better.

Tip 2: Communicate openly about company strategy
Sometimes it is difficult for management to talk openly about company strategy or how well the company is performing. However, research has already shown that when employees are kept 'out-of-the-loop', they experience this as a subtle way of rejection. As a result, they feel less confident, less loyal to the company and less motivated to perform, so there is no need to share every agenda item at the management meeting with all employees. What you can do, however, is provide a regular update on current company performance and important strategic decisions.

Tip 3: Explain sensitive decisions as a team manager
Managers who are open about the decisions they make and take the time to explain the underlying reasoning will be able to count on greater understanding from their team members. As in the previous point, there is no need to explain every decision to the whole team. As in the previous point, there is no need to explain every decision to the whole team, so communicate about those decisions that team members do not agree with, those that they do not understand well enough, or those that have drastic consequences for an individual or the functioning of the team.

Transparency increases creativity

Research indicates that transparent leadership can even enable employees to deliver more creative performance. People are more creative when they feel they can take risks without fear of repercussions. When leaders are open about their mistakes, challenges, and emotions, it encourages their team members to do the same. This can help to implement a culture of experimentation and encourages natural innovation from the employees.

5. Shift up a gear with technology

The role of technology in performance management

Is the above basis for performance management already a fact in your company? Then we recommend you to shift a gear higher. Because as the well-known creed says, measuring is knowing. And no better resource that can help you than technology. No more paper reports that after the evaluation only end up in a slide: the whole process is digitized via a performance management system! Result? Your employees will have easier access to their evaluation reports and will consult them more regularly. And isn't that just the purpose of a performance interview?

Performance Reviews in Officient

From that perspective, Officient has added the 'Performance Reviews' feature to our HR platform. In concrete terms, we make it easier for HR and team managers to schedule a performance interview and simply communicate more easily. In advance, exchange notes about the expectations of the conversation, add reports to the digital employee profile... It's all possible.

In short: the performance review feature makes performance management more transparent. You work with your employees on their growth, without paperwork.
Make the performance interview more visible to executive parties.
Usually, after an evaluation interview, a report is drawn up that serves as a working document for all parties. However, often this piece of paper is quickly put in a cupboard somewhere, so that no one can learn anything from it. Out of sight, out of mind.

Digitizing documents around that performance interview.
Done with paper notes in a physical cabinet to store. In addition to the obvious ecological reasons, digitisation also ensures that you get an up-to-date overall picture. Think of comparing different reports over time or preparing a particular evaluation with important employee data such as wage history.
Make the entire process transparent to the employee.
Both the company and the employees benefit from digitally monitoring a performance interview. When an employee has to search cabinets or drives to find his report, they will be less inclined to review this document from time to time. For example, he or she has a less good overview of what the work points are towards next year.