Checklist For Performance Management Conversations

Published by Kathryn Anda, PEPworldwide on 20 January, 2015

Performance management conversations in the workplace are valuable, but they can also be awkward.

The key to ensuring points are made clearly and that there are no surprises is good planning and preparation ahead of your meeting. Start with our basic performance management checklist for staff and managers.


At the beginning of each year or a nominated period, employees and their leaders need to get together to plan the path ahead when it comes to performance.

  • Role clarity: Every employee must confirm with their leader: the purpose of their job, their duties and responsibilities, and exactly what is required of them to perform as expected.
  • Goals: Goals need to be established also to help stretch an employee and give them an opportunity to challenge themselves and grow. Each goal requires a measureable outcome so that there are no grey areas when it comes to measuring performance.
  • Individual development plan: An Individual Development Plan, or IDP, is prepared by each staff member, and agreed to by their manager. This document should outline milestones that the employee has set for themselves; undertaking particular training, for example, or cross skilling in a different role.
  • Reporting mechanism: When tasks are achieved and goals ticked off, it is important that they are recorded as they happen instead of trying to remember everything at the end of the year. Setting up a document to capture performance in an ongoing way stops the process from being overly time consuming and becomes far more manageable to administer.

Regular one on one catch-ups

When staff have regular one on one meetings with their manager it not only helps to ensure that all parties are clear on performance to date, but it is also a great chance for anyone to bring up concerns or issues as soon as they happen. Waiting for the final end of year performance management conversation is too late.

Use these sessions to provide feedback about employee conduct and performance. Held fortnightly, or at least monthly, this helps to ensure everyone knows where they stand. Managers need to remember to continually provide positive and constructive feedback.

It is also a good idea to introduce a 360-degree performance feedback system where a staff member can receive feedback from peers, clients and those who may report to them. When conducted appropriately and in a controlled environment, it can really help a staff member to develop their skills.

Performance conversation

The performance conversation should end up being a summary of the year’s achievements and a discussion about potential developmental opportunities ahead. Tasks accomplished during each quarter are reviewed and new ways are identified to further develop professional performance.

The key to an effective performance management process is to establish ground rules and clear goals from the outset and regularly touch base with staff to ensure everyone is on the same page with respect to performance and goal achievement.

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