AC 1.1 Describe the value of formal and informal performance assessment in the workplace
Performance assessments can occur in two forms, informal and formal.
As a manager I try to make sure informal appraisals are held regularly undertaken as part of my normal day-to-day working relationship and offers an opportunity for the employee’s performance to be assessed in near real time. This type of assessment is given through conversation on the job, over a coffee, or by on the spot examination of a particular piece of work.
Informal appraisals are beneficial as the employee receives the feedback quickly as the longer the feedback is delayed, the more mistakes are made and the less likely it is to encourage a change in behaviour.
Frequent informal feedback to employees can also prevent surprises when the formal evaluation is communicated.
Although informal appraisals are useful, they should not replace formal appraisals. These are used when the contact between a manager and an employee is more formal, this is usually part of the employees annual performance review. As a line manager I try to hold monthly one-to-ones and a quarterly update on the annual review.
This type of appraisal focuses on what the employee is doing well and how they can improve on their weaknesses
AC 1.2 Explain the role of the first line manager in performance management
The role of a first line manager is to ensure that their team is effective and meets or exceeds their goals or targets.
A first line manager needs to provide regular feedback to their team members so that their team are engaged in their work and are aware of their individual and team targets and how these contribute to the success of the organisation.
They should also be observing and collecting evidence on the performance of the employees to support their feedback and to guide the development of the employees.
The development of employees could be through feedback or through delegation of tasks so they can progress to a different position, or it could be supporting a new team member to get them ‘up to speed’ and build their confidence in doing their role.
As a line manager I find it just as important to reward success, this can range from a quick thank you to a more formal award.
Where there are team members who are not performing to the required standards it is important to identify the root cause and try to address the issue. As a first line manager you need to provide the support and tools to any team members that are struggling.
AC 2.1 Identify ways to ensure fair and objective formal assessment
As a line manager you need to ensure that any assessment on performance is fair and consistent across the team. You need to base your assessment on facts, figures and evidence you and the team member you are assessing have gathered.
One of the most common types of bias is the “horns/halo” effect where a team member is judged on a single trait and is then perceived as a good (halo) or a poor (horn) team member. For example a team member who uses public transport to commute is often late due to the trains being delayed or cancelled, something that is beyond their control, can be seen as being a poor performer despite exceling in other areas.
Another common bias is the “similar to me” bias which causes managers to give an employee who shares characteristics, behaviours or attitudes that are similar to their own a more positive assessment than someone who doesn’t.
My preferred method for formal assessments and appraisals is to use the 360 degree feedback method. This is where views on performance are gathered from other people such as colleagues, subordinates and customers as well as a self-assessment by the employee themselves. These results are then compared and any discrepancies between the employee’s self-assessment and the ratings given by others can be used as the basis for the assessment and can provide insight into development opportunities that may have been overlooked by the employee and the manager.
AC 2.2 Explain how to set SMART objectives for a team member
Objectives that are “SMART” are designed to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. These types of objectives usually include end-goals such as revenue, a certain score on a key performance indicator or the completion of a task.
Specific – The objective has to be specific rather than vague, broad or general.
Measurable – You need to be able to measure whether they are meeting the objective or not and whether there is a reliable system in place to measure progress
Achievable – An objective must be realistically attainable with the resources that are available.
Relevant – The goal or target that is set is something that the individual can actually influence or impact and is linked to the company’s goals.
Time-bound – There has to be a date when the task will be measured
Examples of SMART objectives I have set;
To complete induction training within 3 weeks of starting in the team.
95% of all customer queries responded to within 3 working days.
Ofgem customer satisfaction scores at a minimum of 75% for the 3rd quarter.
AC 2.3 Explain how to set performance standards for a team member
In order to create objectives the first stage is to look at the organisations’ and the departments’ overall objectives and break them down into smaller objectives that are relevant for the team and the team members.
The next stage is to draft out the ideas, if possible it is a good idea to brainstorm with other managers to gain further insight and share best practice.
Once you have a broad idea on the objectives you need to discuss these with the team members and gain their input and agreement.
The final part is to write the objectives in the SMART format as described above
Good- you have made a good start to this criteria and the content you have applied is valid, however this is an explain question and in your answer you have described and your descriptions though valid are limited, there is additional content that could also be applied within your answer, therefore please re-visit this criteria to expand on your answer with additional content and detail to the explain criteria
AC 2.4 Explain how to measure performance against agreed standards
Any time you observe an employee either behaving poorly or above and beyond you should record these and then they can be presented as evidence or can be referred back to at a later date.
Reports and records
Any reports on the individual performance on productivity, quality, or their attendance can be used as a measure. For sickness absence I prefer to use the Bradford Scoring System to monitor the absenteeism of my team members.
Feedback from others
Colleagues, subordinates and internal and external customers can provide insight into the performance on the team member that you can use a basis to conduct further investigations into the team member’s performance.
Good- you have used the resources well in supporting you with this criteria and what you have applied is valid, however this is an explain question whereas you have described, therefore please can you re-visit this criteria to expand on your answers to meet the explain criteria as your descriptions are limited, though you have applied your own wording well.- Refer
AC 3.1 Explain the importance of feedback to improve performance
Providing timely feedback the member of your team is aware of the performance expected of them and what they need to do to achieve that level of performance. Regular feedback can also build self-confidence and in the person receiving it and helps them realise that the work they are doing is acceptable.
Providing feedback on mistakes and errors can be a useful learning experience so the team member can reflect to what went wrong and what they can do in future so they do not repeat the mistake again.
When someone is not meeting the minimum performance level it is important to address the issue clearly and concisely with them so that they are aware of the need to improve, it also provides a clear starting point for open discussions around performance and what can be done by the team member with the support of the manager to improve their performance.
Good- you have applied valid points within your answer and have demonstrated good knowledge, however you have not fully explained the importance of feedback to improve performance, though you have mentioned why it is important, again you have described three reasons which are correct but the emphasis on this question is the explanation of importance, therefore please can you expand on your answer to meet this criteria
AC 3.2 Describe how to give effective feedback
When I have to deliver feedback to a subordinate I use the CORBS feedback model
Clear statement – give clear and concise information about the situation or behaviour you are providing the feedback on.
Owned by the person speaking – Use words and terms such as “I feel” or “I believe” rather than “you are” or “you have”
Regular – Give the feedback as soon as possible to the event so it is fresh in the memory.
Balanced – find a balance between negative and positive feedback rather than keeping it one-sided
Specific – base your feedback on observed behaviour
Where I have to deal with negative feedback as part of a formal process I use the BEEF feedback model.
Behaviour – what the person does or did
Example – a specific example that demonstrated the behaviour or issue
Effect – the effect it had on someone else or on the outcome
Future – what you want to happen from now on
Good- you have made a good start to this criteria and have identified a valid approach to giving feedback that you use, however you have stated what each of these mean and your description to each is limited, in addition there are important factors that also need to be taken into account including when, where and timing of feedback given, therefore please can you expand on this question to include this criteria and expand on your descriptions you have identified- Refer
AC 4.1 Identify potential areas of underperformance in the workplace
As a manager at some point you will need to deal with team members that are underperforming. The most common areas for underperformance within the workplace are;
Objectives or targets not being met
Absence or lateness
Continual lateness or a series of absences
Deadlines being missed
Lack of effort or motivation
Good- you have accurately provided a valid range of potential areas of underperformance in the workplace, all of which are valid and correct, however these have been taken directly from the resources therefore I am unable to pass this criteria- if you use content directly from the resources, though the question is only asking you to identyfy, you must expand on what you have used. As you have applied the exact content from the resouces without expanding on these I am unable to pass this criteria at this time. Please re-visit this question to either include different potential areas or expand on what you have used from the resources within your answer with a description in your own words- Refer
AC 4.2 Identify causes for failure to meet agreed performance levels
A training need; A team member who lacks the knowledge or skills required to complete the tasks they have been assigned. This could be due to anew task being added to their workload or a new starter that has not yet had the opportunity to learn how to do the tasks.
A motivational issue; A team member who has all the skills and knowledge to complete the tasks but is missing the drive and determination to complete the tasks. This could be due to a poor relationship with their manager, a lack of interest in the day to day tasks as they may feel it is beneath them, or a lack of incentive to complete them.
A capability issue; A team member who has all the skills and knowledge to complete the tasks but they are still underperforming. This can be down to problems at home or their health that is having a negative impact as work.
An organisational issue such as different departments not collaborating effectively. This can be a problem with sharing information or resources.
AC 4.3 Describe actions to restore performance to acceptable levels
Acknowledge and address underperformance
In order to start to restore the performance to acceptable levels you have to acknowledge and address the underperformance with the team member. You should gather evidence to back up the any observations of the underperformance. It is also advisable to bring copies of previous appraisals, feedback and to prepare ideas for improving their performance.
Once the evidence has been gathered you need to arrange to have a meeting with the team member to discuss the problem you have noticed with their performance and providing them with specific examples and the evidence you gathered earlier. Try to engage with the team member and listen to them and their issues as they may already be aware of the problem and have their own ideas on how to improve it. At the end of this initial meeting a development plan to address the performance issues should be drawn up and agreed by both the manager and the team member. This can range from re-training on a specific task, a period of mentoring and supervision by the line manager or a reduction in the workload of the team member so they can refocus on a particular task. There also needs to be a clear explanation given to the team member of the consequences of failing to commit and complete this plan, such as disciplinary action which could ultimately lead to dismissal.