Performance management based on behaviours and outputs
One of the conditions within the organisation was stopping people from displaying some of the behaviours required by the organisation's values. This condition was identifed as a lack of some key managerial skills. WHE-UK was asked to design and deliver a training programme which would directly address the behaviours necessary to raise the quality of performance management within the organisation.
Using psychological research and psychological models, we concentrated on the underlying causes of the difficulties that managers experience when providing feedback and when undertaking 'difficult' conversations about performance. A two day training programme was designed based on behaviours supporting the organisation's values and 420 managers attended the programme.
Day one of the programme provided a mix of theory and practical sessions; giving participants the information they needed to understand and techniques they could use to manage their impact on others when managing performance. Day two provided participants with opportunities to apply and build on what they had learned on day one. We employed professional actors to play the roles of staff members. Participants were briefed on the backgrounds and work history of each actor/staff member and had an initial performance management meeting with them.
Participants then received evidence based feedback from the actors about how it felt to be in the meeting and from colleagues about the behaviours and skills used during each meeting. Participants commented that these sessions provided genuine 'light bulb' moments of understanding and significant shifts in the way they perceived their own role and impact when managing performance. Day two was considered an invaluable way to build on the learning from day one.
To ensure we have made a worthwhile difference, we evaluate the impact of our work. We collected the reactions of participants to the content and presentation of the training and this helped ensure that the training events were well received by the participants. However, a more important aspect of evaluation is the extent to which it makes a difference in the workplace - in particular, in real performance management meetings.
Additional evaluation involved 220 participants who assessed their skills at the end of the training and 99% of these were confident that they would be able to take their learning back into their day to day work. To test this, 264 staff members completed evaluations on their managers that had attended the training. 62% of these staff members reported improvements in the way in which they were now being managed. Following the training programme, more managers were reported to:
- listen to their staff and give time for staff to talk
- support their staff to find their own solutions when problem solving
- ensure their staff have the necessary skills and knowledge to carry out their work
- ask for their staff's opinions on issues affecting them
- give staff time and space to contructively challenge feedback
- give staff feedback which makes them feel positive
- contribute to making their staff feel valued.
This enabled us to produce and deliver a reliable and valid report on the successful impact of the programme.