June 15, 2021
Performance Management 16 September 2020
Continuous Performance: Role of a Department Head
Britta Howlett
Photo by Lukas from Pexels

The key to any successful continuous performance program is to have frequent manager-employee check-in meetings. The goal of these meetings is to have the opportunity to discuss performance and continually getting feedback.  

For check-in meetings to be effective, it is essential that both the manager and employee are prepared to discuss the employee’s goals and detailed feedback about the employee’s performance. Each party should be prepared for goal setting, coaching/training, and feedback. It’s important to have this performance check with your employees often because not only will your employees improve their skills but your company will be more successful. Reuben Yonatan, founder and CEO of GetVoIP says,

As a CEO and business owner, I have learned that performance management allows you to develop a team of highly motivated employees who live and breathe your organization's mission. That increases the performance of your organization.

From experience, the best way to approach a performance management plan is from three levels: organizational, manager, and employee. At the organizational level, come up with a plan to improve the oversight. At the manager level, implement tools that manage risk and monitor progress. At the employee level, provide clear instructions on what is expected.

With so many different leaders and managers in your organization, who is in charge of making sure Continuous Performance takes place and what are their responsibilities? Today, we will be diving more deeply into the different levels of Continuous Performance starting with the role of Department Head:

Role of Department Head in Continuous Performance

The department head plays a lead in the entire process of continuous performance by acting as role models for all the employees. Their responsibility is to design policies that will ensure successful management and act upon the core values relating to performance. 

The department head plays a vital role in convincing team leaders that continuous performance is crucial in making a successful business and helping employees improve. The department head is expected to develop a high-performance culture in an organization by doing the following:

  • Communicating the company’s mission to its customers and employees.
  • Being specific and clear with work expectations.
  • Communicating with everyone the company’s goals
  • Facilitating overall performance improvement. 
  • Keeping employees informed of all progress. 

As managers monitor performance, they can give a constructive evaluation as well as advice on problem-solving if needed. Instruct employees on ways they can improve and make them aware of all the resources available from the company.

Role of Team Leaders in Performance Management

Although the Department Head is responsible for all the department employees' performance improvement, it is unlikely that they can personally manage each individual employees' performance. This is where team leaders come into play! By delegating tasks to the team leaders, Department Heads are able to focus on other parts of the business to help the company succeed.

Team leaders play a very crucial role in implementing and enacting the department head's policies by setting goals during a continuous performance process. They are in charge of helping employees set goals that align with the department head's expectations. It’s important that the team leaders have as good of an understanding of those goals in mind as the department head. 

Some team leaders lack the required skills for reviewing the performance of the employees, providing feedback, and identifying objectives along with them. But these limitations can be overcome by practicing these few tips: 

  • The Department head provides sufficient training and leadership. 
  • Maintaining simplicity in the overall process of performance management.
  • Setting specific goals and set up expectations with all team leaders.
  • Involving the team leaders in decisions of the continuous performance process. 

Helping Employees with Setting Goals

Continuous Performance is not just a one-time performance review, it is a system that allows you to continuously get feedback and constantly improve. Consistent, timely feedback is important because it ensures employees receive feedback when they need it, not after the fact. They can then make changes in real-time, cutting back on lingering mistakes, and growing their skills faster.  

When setting goals, make sure that the goals are quantifiable. Talk about how the employee is going to achieve the goal and make a plan. Let them know your expectations and be sure that those expectations line up with the department head’s expectations.  Willie Greer, Founder of The Product Analyst says, 

Our company approaches our performance management plan with transparency. Each member knows of the organizational goals, are updated every time there are additions or changes, are aware of what is expected of them and what they can expect from the management, and are cognizant of what can happen should these expectations from both parties are unmet. This way, we can operate with trust and are afforded more time to deal with issues head-on.

If you want to set your employees up to succeed, tell them how you are going to evaluate them. If you want them to hit their goals, make sure you follow up and keep an open line of communication.  This transparency and accountability increases the likelihood that employees will achieve their goals.

When setting up goals make sure to:

  • Align the goals with the company’s mission.
  • Plan out clear and specific goals.
  • Make sure the goals are measurable.
  • Make sure the goals are challenging but attainable.
  • Have a framed time for when the goals should be completed
  • Revisit the goals on a regular basis. 

Goals should give your team something to reach for. They should benefit both the company and its employees.

Role of Employees in Continuous Performance

The employees have a vital role to play in the performance management cycle as the entire process revolves around them. They discuss their roles and the competencies required and define objectives in conjunction with their superiors. When pathways are created by team leaders and department heads, it’s important for the employees to give their feedback. Because these continuous performance reviews will benefit the employees, employees should share what they value and what skills they want to learn. Knowing this can help managers create a pathway that will not only be meaningful for the company but that will be meaningful for the employee. Heinrich Long, Privacy Expert at Restore Privacy recommends employees use the following method: 

It’s important for employees to create their performance management plan with their line manager whose role is to act as the conduit between the employee and their performance. You should approach your performance management plan as follows: 

Firstly, you need to set out what you want to achieve over the next period, whether it’s landing a new client, working towards a new qualification or getting a promotion. You need to set challenging yet attainable goals with realistic timescales. 

Secondly, it’s imperative to identify the steps you need to take to achieve these goals and set them out in a clear and concise plan. 

Finally, work with your line manager to establish desirable incentives and/or rewards. This will really help motivate you when sticking to your performance plan. 

Once you’ve covered all these things, you should meet with your line manager on a regular basis to assess your progress and amend your performance plan in line with these evaluations.

If you're an employee reading this article, you can help with the continuous performance system by:

  • Establish personal performance goals
  • Talk at least quarterly with your manager about your progress and goals.
  • Seek out opportunities to learn new skills on your own.
  • Find a colleague willing to mentor you and give you feedback.

How ProSky can help

Our ProSky software not only lets you create a personalized pathway for each individual employee but it has features that managers can choose from to give feedback to teams and employees. Managers can see what the employees are working on and follow up on the goals that they set. Using our software allows you to have a successful Continuous Performance for your employees. Learn more about how ProSky can help with Continuous Performance and establishing Succession pathways for your employees! Check out more articles on ProSky's Talking Talent Blog.