To understand the importance of performance plans, you must first understand the basics of organisational plans. The foundation of any such plan is the mission and vision statements of the organisation. These serve as the backbone of any organisational initiative and provide you with the essential concepts to be integrated into the plans.
A mission statement is a written declaration that states an organisation’s purpose and inspires and motivates organisational members. In writing a mission statement, there are several things you must keep in mind. These include:
For example, a mission statement for a major courier firm may read:
‘XYZ is committed to our People First, Profit Second Philosophy. By prioritizing our internal and external stakeholders, you will produce outstanding financial returns. you are ready to provide the most affordable and reliable world-class air-ground transportation of high-priority goods and documents that require rapid, time-bound delivery.’
A vision statement takes the mission statement a step further by looking into your desired future for the organisation. It is a formal statement that expresses the aspirations and goals of an organisation.
For example, a vision statement for a major hotel firm reads:
‘XZY will be recognised as the best and most sought after hotel and resort management group in Australia.’
It is important to remember the role of organisational members in developing these statements. Involving members and using their contributions in the formulation of such helps motivate them to be proactive and make the organisation the best that it can be.
In a small-scale organisation, this is relatively easy to achieve. You can gather all members and jointly discuss the values, principles, and mission of your organisation. For larger organisations, you may try to involve staff members by holding departmental meetings or seeking the help of supervisors in gathering the necessary input from their team members and then collating this information.
Objectives and Goals
Objective and goals are not something that will be written then simply left to gather dust. Instead, these make up a living, breathing document that must continuously be referred to as your team and organisation operate. As such, it is important to ensure that objectives are documented in the correct place. This will enable members to easily find and refer to them as necessary.
It is important to establish a key difference between objectives and goals. Although all of your work team’s efforts are targeted towards both, there is a contrast in their nature. Generally speaking, a goal is more long-term and over-arching. It is concerned with the fundamental aim of any project or undertaking and answers the question, ‘What do you ultimately achieve?’ On the other hand, objectives are the methods through which you intend to realise your goals. They answer the question, ‘How?’ and are short-term and tangible, unlike your goals. Moreover, objectives are ideally formulated through the SMART method – they must be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely.
The most common place to document objectives would be policy and procedure manuals. Additionally, specialised objectives may be found within both the quality manual and the health and safety manual. These locations contain the general policies of the organisation in which you may find the overall objectives for various processes of the organisation as well as the procedures to carry out the policy and thus meet the objectives.
You should format the document in the manner specified by your organisation. All organisations structure their policy manual differently, so you should check with management as to the most appropriate means of formatting the objectives to remain consistent with the rest of the manual.
The overall direction of your organisation is established through its objectives. Essentially, these objectives are a statement that declares the desired performance. They assert the direction and state you would like to head towards and affirm the level of performance you wish to achieve.
For maximum effectivity, objectives must meet several criteria that will ensure their useability and allow them to assist in the development of work plans as well as monitoring. If your objectives do not meet these criteria, you may find that while you have objectives to work towards, you won’t be certain if they have been reached.
Objectives must be:
It is vital to consult a wide range of individuals within the organisation. Consult with everyone equally, from those in senior management to those involved in the day-to-day operation of the business. Consultation is valuable as it can encourage staff members to recognise that they are a part of the process. If they feel involved, it is more likely that they will embrace the changes and be willing to make them. They will not only have a sense of ownership but would also more readily accept responsibility.
Consultation can be established through meetings, interviews, brainstorming sessions, via email/internet communication or newsletters. Use of various methods will ensure that all staff members have the opportunity to contribute to the team and individual performance plans.
Finally, timeliness is vital. It is not useful to obtain information from staff when it is too late to put it into practice. You need to gather information early enough to be able to make a quick response and application. Therefore, consultation should take place as soon as possible. Doing so will allow ideas to be incorporated into the overall strategy and objectives of the company.
Planning and designing jobs for a worker is an integral part of the overall process of achieving objectives. Without a well-defined and planned job, workers will have difficulty determining what they should be doing. The job designs that you develop should include job descriptions, key performance indicators, specifications, as well as the various procedures that they will have to adopt as a part of their job.
Performance planning begins by identifying the essential functions of the job. In identifying essential functions, consider whether or not staff members are required to perform the function, and if removing a function would fundamentally change the job.
Contents of a Performance Plan
A performance plan identifies the performance levels you would like to achieve, how you ought to attain these, and how you will measure these. Additionally, it provides guidance and direction in achieving your desired performance level.
Strictly speaking, there is no one format for the performance plan. However, there are key pieces of information that may be found in most performance plans. These are:
1. Objectives and Goals
Objectives and goals are at the heart of every performance plan. These will determine the overall aim of your plan and lay down the specific targets you will work towards in order to achieve these. As mentioned earlier in this chapter, you must remember to formulate objectives and goals that are SMART.
2. Roles and Responsibilities
Setting and identifying the roles and responsibilities of your team members is another fundamental part of your performance plan. It is important to reiterate that clarifying and clearly establishing the roles and responsibilities of each member is significant in ensuring that your plan is executed well. In writing these, you must, therefore, aim to be as detailed as possible.
3. Performance Measures
Performance measures refer to your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). These are the measurable and observable indicators that will help you determine if you are performing as per your set standards as you achieve the objectives and goals that you have set.
4. Action Plan
The action plan is an integral part of your performance plan that delves into the details of how you intend to execute your performance plan. It will include your action items, expected outcomes, and the timeline of dates when you intend to implement your plans. Action items are a key feature of your action plan. They determine what ought to be done in your plan. Moreover, they also establish who ought to do these items by means of assignment members for each action item.
Outcomes, Outputs, and Key Performance Indicators
There are concepts that are essential in performance planning. Namely, these are your outcomes, outputs, and key performance indicators. Outcomes are the results an organisation would like to achieve, while outputs are the physical results you create by the end of a project. On the other hand, key performance indicators (KPIs) are the measurable values that help you determine how effectively an objective has been achieved.
Notably, all three of these concepts may refer to the agreed:
Additionally, KPIs are used in modern businesses to identify areas where specific levels of performance are crucial to the success of a given position. KPIs allow you to ascertain areas of importance within a given position, and these areas of importance are the core functions associated with every position. Moreover, it is concerned with whether the function is critical to other things being achieved within the organisation.
Think through what would happen if a given function was not performed within the organisation. What would the consequences of this be? You will then be able to establish key performance indicators and measures to ensure that the expected standards are not only being met but are also useful to be developed as goals or objectives.
These standards are used for monitoring and evaluating efficiency or effectiveness. They provide targets for productivity improvements such as reduced downtime, higher production levels or decreases in absenteeism. When clearly stated and regularly emphasised, your outcomes or key performance indicators can have a number of positive effects. Improved performance and participation can be observed on an individual and team level. Moreover, significant improvements in the organisation’s systems and operations – specifically through changes in work roles and responsibilities – may also be observed.