Little-Known Ways to Improve the Effectiveness of your Performance Management Training

Antoinette Oglethorpe talks about how leaders can reengage their employees

I’m about to embark on delivering a programme of training to help managers have more effective performance conversations with their employees.

The client I’m working with is not alone in needing to improve managers’ skill and confidence in this area.  Many HR and training departments face the challenge of developing a performance culture across their organisation.  Or at least a consistent approach to performance management which means adopting and carrying out performance reviews and holding effective performance management discussions.

In my experience, critical to this is getting managers to see performance management and any process as tools that can help them do their jobs better rather than an administrative overhead that adds to their workload.   Let’s face it, managers are under pressure to deliver results with less budget and fewer resources.  The last thing they need is more tasks and extra workload unless there’s something in it for them.

Of course, that does mean that you need to design any process with the manager and employee in mind so it is a business enabling tool and not just an HR requirement.

It also means that any training approach needs to do more than just provide knowledge through workshops and skills guides.  It also needs to make the necessary shifts in attitudes, skills and behaviours. [Tweet “Performance management training needs to change attitudes, skills and behaviours”]

Performance Management Training

Building a performance culture takes a combination of good processes, management practices and conversations.  Any training and communication strategy needs to address all three of those.  I suggest the following:

1.  Briefing for the Executive Leadership Team to make sure they deliver consistent messages about performance management

My recommendation is that you hold a briefing session for the Executive Leadership Team to ensure they understand any processes and key roles and responsibilities.  One suggestion is the CEO leads this briefing to show commitment from the top and to underline this as a business initiative (rather than an HR process).

2.  HR & Manager Training Sessions

To ensure the approach to performance management is implemented effectively and consistently, it is critical to provide training for HR and the line managers.  I recommend you design the training programme to include an overview of any Performance Management process, development of the right interpersonal skills to hold effective performance conversations and techniques to handle difficult people situations more effectively

But what about that shift in attitudes, skills and behaviours I mentioned earlier?  Well, as part of the training you need to:

  • Help managers see “what’s in it for me” in terms of how performance management and the process can help them do their jobs better and save time, money and risk.

  • Provide them with tools and skills that will help them engage employees and keep performance discussions simple but effective

  • Work through specific performance management issues they are facing with their employees so it is “real” and they go away with specific steps they can take.

3.  Employee training sessions

The third element in the strategy is the one that is most often forgotten or ignored.  If, as an organisation, you want your employees to take greater ownership for their performance and development, you need to help them develop the knowledge and skills to do that.  In addition to training for the Managers, I recommend that you run some basic training sessions for employees to reinforce the importance of performance management and to help them prepare for their role in the process.  The kind of areas you should cover are how to self-evaluate their own performance, how to prepare examples of their performance, how to receive feedback and how to put together a development plan.

If you would like to talk about how you might improve your performance management training, please get in touch.  You can email me at or call me on 07957 604783.

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