You hired a new employee and think they are great. Your entire has staff interviewed them. The new employee fits the culture of your company and things are off to a good start.

A few months have passed and now things just “aren’t working out”. You’re frustrated and beginning to think you’ve made a big mistake. Where did you go wrong? This person seemed like a good candidate.

Sound familiar? This is a common problem. Performance management “sounds” pretty simple, but in fact is difficult to actually pull off.

What is performance management? Let’s look at the definition.

According to, “performance management is an ongoing process of communication between a supervisor and an employee that occurs throughout the year, in support of accomplishing the strategic objectives of the organization.”

Let’s break down that definition into its parts.

Performance Management Is “A process of communication” – What are you communicating?

So, let’s take the example of the employee who just isn’t “working out”. Is there a regular process of communicating with the employee about their performance? Have you communicated your performance expectations clearly?

If you were to ask the employee to list their top 5 key responsibilities and rank them, would their list match your list (this is typically where the process goes off the rails)?

Employers have expectations of the employee, but do not clearly articulate those expectations. Employees think one priority ranks as number one and that same priority is not even on the employer’s list – this is a huge problem and one that can’t be blamed on the employee.

Action Step #1: Ensure your expectations have been clearly articulated to the employee. Make sure that the employee understands how success is measured in their specific role. What does excellent performance look like from your point of view?

Performance Management “Occurs throughout the year” – How Frequently are you communicating?

Once you’ve defined the expectations clearly, how frequently are you checking in? By the way, just walking by an employee’s desk and asking “how are you doing” doesn’t really count. There needs to be a dedicated time for reviewing performance and giving feedback.

When regular check-ins don’t happen, frustration can build and small problems become big problems. Employees may think they are doing great while the employer thinks the employee just isn’t measuring up.

Action Step #2: Schedule weekly one on one meetings to review the employee’s performance. Give them feedback on how they are performing and where performance gaps exist. Review their KPIs (key performance indicators) and initiatives. Ask them what is keeping them up at night or hindering their performance. Show them you really care about them being successful.

Performance Management Is “In support of accomplishing” – What are you and the employee “in support of accomplishing”?

What are the strategic objectives? Were the strategic objectives communicated to the employee?

Often the employer thinks the company goals have been clearly communicated, but in all reality they have not. Employees are left to guess what’s most important based on the attitudes and actions of the leadership.

Action Step #3: Communicate the top 3-5 company goals. Help each employee understand how what they do on a day to day basis impacts the success of the organization. Give status updates on a monthly basis.

Back to that employee that just “isn’t working out”.

  • Have you properly performance managed them?
  • What is your process of communicating what is important?
  • Do they clearly understand your company goals and priorities?
  • How do you keep them up to speed with any changes in strategy?

Lastly, at Envisionable, we’ve built a system that makes the process of performance management easier by giving you the ability to define and communicate your company’s goals, initiatives and KPIs. Each employee can define their own initiatives and KPIs as well as ask questions about the company vision and goals. This removes the chaos and creates more clarity for each employee. We’d love to give you a free DEMO and share what we’ve found really works in companies like yours.