Performance management can be a headache.

Follow these tips to reduce the risks associated with performance management and to give all stakeholders a better experience with the process.

  1. Develop a simple performance management process. The more complex it is, the higher the chances that it will not be fully complied with and the more difficult it will be to attain its purpose;
  2. Train supervisors on the process. Emphasize the importance of (i) giving regular feedback as opposed to waiting for the appraisal time and (ii) giving honest feedback;
  3. Ensure that employees are clear on the expectations of their role;
  4. Orient employees on the performance management process; it should be clear from the get-go;
  5. Provide for dispute resolution/appeals. It frequently happens that the supervisor and the supervisee do not agree on the results. There should be an escalation process to a higher authority – someone who can listen to both sides and decide the matter. It is very dangerous to leave the matter undecided because there will be no definitive performance assessment;
  6. Clearly provide for how poor performance will be handled. An employee with performance issues (i) should be given a reasonable opportunity to improve (unless the nature of the job demands it, avoid performance improvement periods which are too long e.g. 12 months) (ii) should be clear about the improvement areas (iii) should be given necessary support/training to enable them to improve (iv) should be assessed regularly during the period of performance improvement;
  7. The process should be applied consistently for all employees and the results should lead to predictable outcomes;
  8. Conduct internal surveys on the process every so often – feedback taken positively = improvement.

In Sosphita Abdalla Kisanya v Intex Construction Co Ltd [2018] eKLR, the Employment & Labour Relations Court held that an employer who fails to manage the performance of their staff lacks the moral authority to tell the staff that they have underperformed.

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About Anne Babu

Anne is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya and the Founding Partner of Anne Babu & Co. She has practised employment law for over 12 years and her employment law practice has been recognized by the prestigious Chambers & Partners. Anne cares about employers and their labour issues.


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