Performance Management Training: 10 tips for systems to recognise employees

We feel that in any organisation, employees need to feel that their contributions are recognised.
Often it’s managers who design and implement recognition strategies for employees.
However you may wish to consider some other ideas for developing recognition systems.

Here are a few ideas , (We cover lots in our Performance Management Training Workshops)related to developing and using recognition systems.

1) Design and implement your recognition initiatives with the idea that the employees are the “customers” of the program.
We think that you’ll agree that they must have a hand in specifying the system.

2) A recognition system must fit into your culture and climate.
You may need to get the basics in place.
Job descriptions and Appraisal Skills Training may be a good place to start.
If there’s a climate where distrust of management is high, it makes introducing recognition systems difficult.

3) Your recognition system should take account that workplaces require a high level of teamwork with other employees.
Most individual contribution will have been helped along directly or indirectly by coworkers.
Your Stars need recognition, but please remember the contributing team members.

4) Informal recognition (e.g.. the informal pat on the back) should happen anytime.
Encourage your managers to use this recognition and to do it publicly often.
Your managers will sets the tone for informal recognition.
By publicly recognising contribution, they get the message across that “we celebrate your effort and your accomplishments”.
However, your formal system should be based on measurement of results.
Your decision to give an “award” should be based on data that illustrates that the idea brought measurable results.

5) Use an employee team to determine recognition needs.
Define with them the behaviour you want to encourage.
What do you want the employees to Do More of,  Do Less of?
Make sure that the team understands what a recognition program is to accomplish.
Then let them work out how to get the information they need.

6) Communicate the intent, purpose and process used for your recognition system.
Make the entire process as open and employee-based as possible.
When employees understand the process, they are less likely to resent recognition of others.

7) Being recognised for contribution by your Peers is often the most valuable recognition.
Think how you can encorporate that into your process

8) High rewards can create a really competitive environment.
This may not necessarily be what you want.
Think about keeping values of actual rewards low.
Do more for recognition publicity and maybe also look to team based rewards.

9) Avoid situations where people are recognised for doing something as opposed to accomplishing something.

10) Make recognition a standard and integrated part of any staff meetings.
Ask the question: “What great things have we accomplished since our last meeting?”
Encourage people to talk about their own accomplishments, and to talk about those of their coworkers.

Do let us know your thoughts.

Appraisal Skills Training: The Purpose of the Performance Appraisal

The Purpose of the Performance Appraisal

Performance appraisals like lots of management tools, can be misused.

HR managers usually say it’s their most important device for reviewing team members.

Our experience in running our Appraisal Skills Training Workshops is that, if not used properly often managers, supervisors, as well as employees hate the thought of them.
Their Internal HR consultants try really hard to encourage their completion and managers use their creativity to delay the process.
It’s seen by all as an uncomfortable practice to carry out.
The manager and the employee can sometimes feel on different “sides”.
Appraisals can sometimes wrongly be seen as determining pay increases and in rare cases who is made redundant and who gets promoted.
Commonly they focus on what people have done wrong.

We think the real point of performance appraisals are generally to

  •  Give feedback on performance to employees
  • Facilitate communication between employee and manager
  • Identify employee learning and development needs
  • Document and explain any criteria used to allocate organisations rewards
  • Used as the basis for personnel decisions: salary increases, promotions, re-assignments, succession planningetc
  • Provide the opportunity for organisation diagnosis and development
  • Validate recruitment selection techniques and human resource policies

The most important purpose or goal of the appraisal is to improve performance in the future for both employees and team leaders.

Managers can get valuable information to help them make their jobs more productive.

Through feedback given in performance appraisals managers can identify problems that interfere with everyone’s performance and take steps to rectify them.

We suggest that if there is a shift from blaming to identifying barriers to performance the fear associated with appraisals can disappear.

When managers move have to a more cooperative and learning dialogue, appraisals become more comfortable and effective.

This puts the manager and employee on the same side, and working towards the same goals, improving together.

While managers make an effort to be as objective as possible, there are always concerns about accuracy.

When you’re evaluating your staff it’s wise to be aware of factors that may affect your assessments.

Here are a few factors of which you should be aware
We suggest you take a look and just ask yourself “Are my appriasals free from these biases”


Generalising is the tendency to rate someone high or low in all categories, based on their performance in some areas.
This does not help develop employees because the appraisal is less than specific in areas that do need development.

Different Standards of Evaluation

Evaluation terms such as fair, good, v.good, excellent, or PRB1 PRB2 etc, are commonly used in performance appraisals.
Managers should however be aware that the meaning of these words will differ from person to person.
There needs to be an additional process which tries to get all the managers “on the same page” when defining performance.

Lenient Bias

Expect this when a manager has not been shown the Normal standards of performance (see above)
and  they are lenient and will tend to get defensive when discussed.
It’s ok they don’t know the standards that’s the problem not their judgement.
Question is … Could this be you?

Is it external factors more than employee performance?

Blame can be given  to the employee when the root cause was external.
Credit can be given too. Think recessions and upturns??

Is it the system / processes or the person?

Performance is a function of both the individual and the system he or she works in.
If both factors are not taken into account, it will be increasingly difficult to improve on performance.

Performance appraisals are a necessary tool in ensuring development.
If conducted fairly and appropriately the information gathered can be used to vastly improve the performance of the entire team

If you need assistance… Why  not take a  look at our Appraisal Skills Workshop

You may also be interested in:

Performance Management Training: Root Causes of Performance Issues

Our experience is that you can spend an awful lot of manager and employee time trying to solve a performance problem.
And all of it can be wasted if neither the manager nor employee know what is the root cause of the problem .

Below we have given you a structure that may help identify that root cause and help you to describe possible factors influencing employee performance.

(we sometimes cover this in our Performance Management Training Workshops

The Logical Levels model or the Psychological Levels Model.

The model originates from the work of NLP.
For the purposes of this exercise we will use the bottom 5 levels.

1. Identity

2. Beliefs and Values

3. Skills and Capabilities

4. Behaviours

5. Environment

One way the model can be thought about is to accept that we all have multiple identities.

Level 1 :I’m a Dad, a Husband, a Trainer and a Coach to name a few.
Level 2:  For an identity at level 1, I will have certain beliefs and values appropriate to the identity.
Level 3:  I bring certain skills and capabilities to bear, again differing for each identity and belief
Level 4:  The behaviours I exhibit will change again dependent on what skills and capabilities I employ
Level 5: The Where and When I will exhibit these behaviours will be congruent with levels above…

Another way to look at this model is by the kinds of questions asked of you at each level.
Level 1: WHO am I ?
Level 2: WHY am I doing this?
Level 3: WHAT Specific skills do I bring?
Level 4: HOW am I using my skills and behaving?
Level 5: WHERE and WHEN do I do this?

This model encourages you to work up from the bottom level and can help you diagnose what is the probable root cause of performance problems.

Level 5: Environmental issues:

The sort of question to ask would be targeted at finding out if the environment surrounding the person is supportive of their performing
A few typical environmental barriers to performance.

  • Uncooperative co-workers
  • Incorrect tools / Unhelpful lighting , heating, desks, chairs etc
  • Poor quality materials to work with
  • Not given enough time to complete the work or competing workloads from other tasks
  • Lack of incentives
  • Lack of positive reinforcements and feedback on a job well done
  • Other pressures outside of work all may contribute.
  • Pressures from another identity? Being a Dad with children issues?

Discussion  with the employee should start with reference to factors outside the control of the employee that may impede  progress.

Level 4: How am I behaving?

Your questions should be focused at discovering if the person understands the behaviours and effort required as well as what are unacceptable standards
What measures are in place and how objective are they?
How clear is the performance of the individual to the individual?

The kinds of issues that you may see at this level might be

  •  Not trying hard (Could be fear of failure , boredom . Could be lack of skill?)
  • Not understanding what behaviour is required or is acceptable in the role
    A person must understand the nature of the task, and what is expected.
    If  this is lacking, no amount of skill or motivation will  bring about effective performance.
  • Not knowing exactly what to do and when ( Lack of Training?)
  • Lack of a role model
  • Or wrong role models who lead them astray
  • An employee may be putting in  a limited amount of effort and or time and therefore producing inferior results.

Level 3: Skills and Capabilities

Your questions aim at whether the person does have the skills and capabilities to do the job at the standard you require.
Can you test their skills? Maybe role play a test appointment with a client? Test typing speeds? Using excel spreadsheets?

The kinds of issues that surface at this level

  • Lack of Aptitude:
    Each of us has strengths and weaknesses that determine if we can learn or  perform a task.
    Poor aptitude for a task could mean that the person could  never learn how to do it, even with all the support in the world.
  • No time to practice and perfect the skills:
    We all need a little time to learn a new skill and time to practice in a safe environment
    A chance to fail without the world caving in on us.
    Has the person been given a mentor to show them the new skills?
    What training and learning events have they undertaken? Courses? Books? DVDs? Shadowing?
  • To assess whether a performance deficit is a result of lack of skill, ask the  questions,
    “If his/her life depended on it, could the person do the task?”
    If the answer is no, then it could be a skill problem.

Level 2: Beliefs and Values

The issues at this level are now getting difficult to change.
The person may need to contemplate changing role if the current role demands different beliefs

Your questions need to dig deep to seek out these deeply held beliefs.
You may have to use re-framing techniques to get the person to change their beliefs

Sometimes beliefs get in the way, sometimes it can be a lack of self belief.

For example…

  •  I cannot sell to my friends and I’ve worked with these clients so long that they are now my friends
  • I could not go in and see the CEO because I would be so nervous and I’m so insignificant she wouldn’t see me anyway
  • We’ve always done it this way and it works. There’s no need to change
  • I’ve always had time off in lieu for doing this activity why the change?

Level 5: Identity

The issues here can be of a very deep and personal nature and only resolved by the person themselves.

For example…

  • My job title is now manager so you must respect me
  • My role as a parent impacts on my role as a Vice President
  • I’m the leader of this team so therefore I must know everything there is to know
  • My title says I’m managing so I need to manage everything ( become a micro manager?)

We hope that this model allows you to diagnose the issue of performance problems.

We hope it too allows you to co-create a solution with the employee which they own but you can assist with, finally resolve the perormance issues and get the employee back on track to excellence.

Please let us know how you find its use…

Performance Management Training: What do Managers need to be a good coach?

What do Managers need to be a good coach?

Many companies ask their managers to coach employees.
Many managers find it difficult.

(Our Performance Management Training Workshops help)

Coaching needs a set of skills that need to be developed.
The manager has a number of hats to wear and “Coach” is only one of them.
Often they are looked upon to provide guidance, give answers, settle conflict, build team spirit, issue directives, set objectives.
These require behaviours different to those of a coach.

What are the skills that are necessary in order to be a successful business coach?
We think that a manager acting as an internal coach should be able to draw upon these

  1. This one is how we start our Coach the Coaches training .

    You need to be there.

    That can just mean being “available” when needed.

    Then you need to be there “in the room” Physically AND Mentally”.

    Not looking at your “crackberry” or listening for the ping of email messages

    Completely focused on the person to be coached

    If that is too difficult then please pass up the opportunity to coach.

  2. You need to have an ability to build rapport quickly and build trust.

    You must agree expectations for individuals at the early stages of coaching.

    You must be able to treat each individual as unique

    You need to adjust your coaching style accordingly.

  3. You need an ability to “Agree” goals and targets

    You balance between goals that are too easy and goals which are too stretching.

    Take your lead from the person being coached.

    In our experience they’ll agree a more agressive goal that you’ll set


  4. The ability to put your manager hat on for a moment to suggest areas for coaching

    Then Coach you way through

    1. What people should keep doing (positive reinforcements)
    2. What they should stop doing or lessen (which can be more negative feedback)
    3. Work with them generating new ideas that they can start doing
  5. The ability to conduct effective coaching conversations

    You need to be comfortable asking the individual being coached for ideas and suggestions.

    You then listen actively and attentively.

    Encourage individuals to think back on their experiences and discuss lessons learned.

    Debate with them implications of the experience for future behavior or action.

    Remember the answer is with the person being coached not you.


  6. An Ability to follow a structured coaching conversation.

    Using the GROW model for example.

    Working through that each time with the coachee

    Maybe after the first two or three conversations tell them the structure.

    That way they can use it themselves before they see you

  7. The ability to conclude coaching conversations positively and follow up

    You need to either summarise the conversations or get the coachee to.

    Then follow up with individuals so that all sessions build on the last and are as action oriented as possible.

    Hold the agenda for the person but they are responsible for progress.

If when you look through this list and say to yourself that you are happier providing guidance, giving answers, settling conflict, building team spirit, issuing directives, setting not agreeing objectives then perhaps you should cancel yourself off of the Coaching for Managers workshops and just get back to managing.  Or maybe you just fancy a challenge??

Performance Management Training: An experiment with surprising results

Performance Management Training and Practice.

The principles (work autonomy, knowing what you do matters, the importance of the first-line manager) are well documented, but they are frequently ignored in practice.

So what would happen if we could find a way of putting some of them into practice in a dedicated way?

This was the focus of an experiment carried out within the sales and service team at the Stockholm offices of the insurance company, IF, the biggest non-life insurer in the Nordic countries.

Here’s the report of their experiment

Performance Management Training: What are the benefits to the business of employee training programmes?

Building a business case for training?

When you are building the business case for employee training it can sometimes be difficult to convince management teams of the need and benefits to the business. However it’s just like any business case, we need to persuade others through demonstrating the benefits and telling them what’s in it for the business.

Here are our ideas for those of you who may have to come up with your business case.

1. What impact will training have on Business Performance?

Research suggests when Performance Management training programmes are effective, employee productivity increases.

In your business case describe what might that productivity result in.

Could it be an increase in revenues for your business.

  • More orders?
  • More Cross and Up-Selling?
  • More orders from existing customers?
  • More satisfied customers who turn into loyal customers and order more?


Could it result in cost reductions?

  • Will you able to more with less?
  • What about reductions in wasted time and materials?
  • Maintenance costs of machinery and equipment?


Will it allow you to avoid potential costs?

  •  Employment tribunals are VERY expensive in fines
  • And in time to gather documentation for lawyers


To make your case credible in the eyes of managers you should highlight areas in your business where employee performance has improved due partly to training. You may have to refer to measurements that demonstrate your business case for further investment.

We suggest you focus your business case on areas to support the business’ objectives.
This way you will steer your training plans towards the areas of greatest benefit.

2. Will training and development impact staff retention?

Training has been shown to increase staff retention.
People want to work for managers and companies who are investing in their development.
This in turn will save you money.

  • How much does it cost you to hire an individual contributor?
  •  How much for a manager?
  • Add up the cost of time spent hiring,
    • Interviewing , Managing paperwork, job ads  and agency fees

We think it’s numbered in the thousands of pounds … What do you think?

  • What’s the cost  to the business of hiring someone who does not fit?
  • Has that happened? (If so try our interviewing training and coaching)
  • Reducing recruitment costs by internal promotion of skilled staff
  • What does Absenteeism cost?
    • Would better managers reduce or deal with that?

Your business case could rightly argue that instead of paying recruitment fees, the business would be better served by investing in training. Invest in their development and the business will receive a return on that investment many times over. In some companies, training programs have reduced staff turnover by 70 per cent. Pick a more conservative number and see what the benfits are to your business. Put that in your business case.

3. Improved Customer Satisfaction, Employee Satisfaction and Productivity?

Training can increase the quality and flexibility of a businesss services by fostering:

  • Accuracy and efficiency
  • Good work safety practises
  • Great customer service.

What does your business lose if it loses a customer?
Lots of businesses work out the lifetime value of a client?
Consisting of an initial purchase , repeat purchases and annual orders.
What’s your businesses’ lifetime value figure?

4. Training to encourage new ideas and change to remain competitive

Businesses must continually change their work practises and infrastructure to stay competitive in a global market. As our economy becomes progressively service orientated, we would suggest that it is the development of people that is providing successful businesses with long-term sustainable success.

Training staff to manage the implementation of business strategies, improvements to procedures and customer service policies can also act as a benchmark for future recruitment and quality assurance practises.

As well as impacting on business profit margins, training can improve:

  • Staff morale
  • Employee satisfaction
  • Soft skills’ such as inter-staff communication
  • Leadership
  • Time management
  • Customer satisfaction.

We hope that this has given you some ideas on how to build a business case for training people.

If you’d like some ideas on how to write your business case for any Rainmaker-Coaching training then let us know.

Interviewer Skills and Performance Management Training: How much will it cost you if people leave your company?

Will people jump ship if the green shoots of recovery appear?

How much will that cost your business?

A while ago CIPD came up with these figures of  replacing people.

“On Average” it costs £17k to hire and replace a good manager who leaves your organisation.

That figure dropped to “On Average” £7k to hire a new individual contributor…

(We cover this topic and others in both Interviewer Skills Workshop and Performance Management Training Workshop )

We think these numbers are very very conservative . We’d like to encourage you to come up with your own numbers.

Here are some of the factors that we think you should consider to come up with your specific numbers.

  • Cost of hiring someone via a recruiter
    In some industries that is 30% of first year salary
  • Cost of Job Boards +  Classified Ads Career Fairs/ Misc
  • Cost of time spent sourcing resumes
  • Cost of Time Spent Reviewing 1 Resume x Ratio of Resumes Reviewed per Phone Interview
  • Time Spent per Phone Interview x Ratio of Phone Interviews per Person to person Interviews
  • Cost of Time Spent per Personal Interview x Ratio of Personal Interviews per Realistic Job Preview (or 2nd Interview)
  • Cost of Time Spent on Realistic Job Preview (or 2nd Interview) x Ratio of Job Previews (or 2nd Interview) per Offer Extended
  • Time Spent Preparing an Offer
  • Cost of taking up references / background checks
  • Number of Offers Accepted
  • Costs of training a new person
  • Management time to On-Board that person and get them up to speed.
  • How much less productive is a new employee in first year vs previous experienced employee?

Using these numbers what is your total cost of replacing a good manager and a good performer?

Remember these people may have left because they didn’t feel appreciated, recognised  or developed or could see no career path.

We think it would be a great exercise to work out YOUR numbers..
We’d be very interested in hearing from you too.

We also think that when there is a discussion about whether it’s worth training your managersto

We think this would be a good time to get these numbers out and add those to the discussion too.
Then make the decision on whether there is an ROI on training.

Sales Mentoring: What kind of Sales Manager do you want?

What kind of Sales Manager do you want?

(We cover this and other topics in our Sales Mentoring Service)

Four Types of Sales Manager?

A number of the Rainmaker Sales coaches have worked their way up from Sales Person through Sales Manager and to Sales Director. We have also worked with numbers of Sales Managers in many kinds of companies and cultures. We put our heads together and came up with a hypothesis that we think we have seen around four types of Sales Manager. There are many variations but in the main four types.

 1. The “Do as I say” or “Dictator” Manager

This type of sales manager “rules the roost” and “dictates” what should be done.
Listening skills are limited.
A typical response is along the lines of “Do it this way because it has worked this way before”
The advantage of this approach is that people know exactly where they stand.
Rules and company regulations are fully understood and guidelines are adhered to.
The result is that overall the sales team is seen as “well disciplined”.
Not a bad place for a while as a rookie.
People also know that if the rules and guidelines are not adhered to, then discipline will follow.
The major challenge with this “do as I say” approach is that you will find it hard to get them to take little risks. Your opinion may not be valued and ideas may not make it out of the team.
Some more experienced sales people may get frustrated and feel under valued.
These managers may be mirroring behaviour of managers that they had themselves and few have ever been near a management training course.

What to do if you have one of these?

  • Stay if you are happy with little need to be creative.
  • Stay if you are a new sales person and need to learn the ropes
  • Move if you are unhappy being told what to do.
  • If experienced then get promoted out of the group
  • Leave management books around
  • Give the sales manager your ideas so that they become their own and consequently dictated to you!

2. The “Now you see me, now you don’t” Manager.

Often characterised by always having other things to do, these sales managers appear not to like to spend days visiting and working with the sales people.
They seem to attend endless meetings, arrange trips to head office and are apparently more comfortable spending time in front of the computer pouring through sales figures.
A day “in the field” usually is  meeting up late morning, chatting over a cup of coffee then perhaps suffering a visit to one customer before having a “discussion” over lunch and then heading off back to a report or meeting.

This type of manager always seemed to want to keep the mobile on during visits.
“Waiting for an important call” maybe their most favourite saying.

You will get little time spent with you and will get even less coaching and review.
Time is spent either idly chatting or issuing directives, maybe because the manager is uncomfortable listening to your ideas.
Especially if these ideas might bring about change and impact on the manager’s routine!

We think these are what HBR refers to as “Successful” in the article Effective vs Successful Managers  i.e this job is only a stepping stone for them.
They are only going to be in the job for a sort period because they think they have future potential elsewhere in the organisation.  These managers are usually promoted quickly and not given enough training. They cannot spend time coaching because they are stretched with some of them still having visible Head Office projects. Some of them are simply inexperienced and are not able to handle their immediate manager. They jump at every request made by the senior manager, they have to attend every meeting, write every report and answer every voicemail and e-mail in order to keep in the senior manager’s “good books”.

What to do if you have one of these?

  • Move if you are unhappy being just being left to get on with it.
  • Stay if you are happy with autonomy
  • Talk about how training can improve performance
  • Leave “How to Manage your Boss” books around

3. The “Let me Do It” or the “Super Salesperson” Manager

These managers find it tough to let people work for themselves.
They would love to get back into the field and would do as many field visits as possible.
They miss the customer contact and when out with the sales person immediately engage the customer and “take over” the sales call.
Very little coaching will be done and the manager will tell you the best way to do things based on their experience and success. You will see far too much of your manager and when they take over the sales call you will feel that your integrity in the eyes of the customer is being threatened. Sometimes even your customer will feel uncomfortable.

Having said that many Sales People can actually learn by watching this manager operate.
It can help you as the manager has often been a good sales executive
Your Sales may improve as a result of implementing what you observe.

What to do if you have one of these?

  • Stay for a while if you are learning new techniques and skills
  •  Use a Simple Rainmaker meeting Planner to agree roles before you go to see a customer. Give your manager a role but not as a sales person!
  • Get promoted if you are an experienced sales person and have mastered the sales process but remember you can usually learn something from everyone

4. The Coaching Manager.

The Coaching Manager takes time with his or her people.
Field visits are planned in advance.
Agreements as to what each person wants to achieve out the day are reached and objectives are set and reviewed.
Time is taken to plan good quality sales calls and time is also put aside in order to discuss the business plan.
They also work through any ideas and challenges that you may have.
A full day will be spent whenever possible and the manager will coach the sales person to assist them in identifying their objectives and how best they are going to achieve them.

They will coach you and review how the sales call went and you will get good quality feedback.
You see the coaching manager as supportive but as the manager and not just a “friend”.
You will realise that the manager is giving tough but constructive feedback in order to assist you to development and succeed.
The coaching manager will be skilled in using coaching models such as GROW.

What to do if you have one of these?

  • Stay with them
  • See if you can move with them if they move (Hanging onto shirt tails)
  • Use a Simple Rainmaker meeting Planner to agree roles before you go to see a customer.

Which type of Sales Manager do you have?

Which type do you prefer to work with?

Are there other types we’ve missed out?

Let us know.