HOW TO CONSTRUCT AN INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE AND DEVELOPMENT PLAN
The Individual Performance and Development Plan (IPDP) has two component parts, the Performance Plan and its related Individual Development Plan.
The IPDP is agreed upon by the supervisor and employee for a performance management cycle, and is also endorsed by the Functional Head to ensure that resource implications can be catered for.
How to construct the Performance Plan: a four step process
The Performance Plan is constructed by the supervisor and employee together, focusing on priority-setting for the performance management cycle period and, working co-operatively through a four-step process:
1. Agreeing upon Key Results Areas.
2. Agreeing upon Performance Objectives.
3. Agreeing upon Key Performance Indicators and their associated Performance Targets.
4. Agreeing upon Action Plans.
AGREEING UPON KEY RESULT AREAS
The important point to note is that KRAs are areas of activity, not specific points of accountability or particular outcomes to be achieved. At the same time, they are specific to the position and to the strategic plan for any performance management cycle.
A matching of the job requirements for an individual position with the section strategic plans and objectives is the starting point in determining appropriate Key Result Areas. This, in turn, should ensure that the agreed Key Result Areas are consistent with organization strategic plans and objectives. The matching process will also ensure that the agreed expected results and required actions are commensurate with the classification level of the employee's position.
DEFINITION OF KEY RESULT AREA (KRA)
A KRA is a function in which goals need to be achieved, rather than a specific task that needs to be accomplished. It is a relatively broad area of activity for the employee, based on the section's objectives to meet their strategic goals.
As a result of this matching process, key activities and outcomes required of the employee can then be translated into a set of specific Key Result Areas, which apply for the length of the performance management cycle period. The number of KRAs should be limited to a maximum of 6, to enable a realistic focus on these areas and to make planning of individual development practical.
A balanced approach to the setting of KRAs brings together many of the seemingly disparate elements of an organisation's agenda, and relates them to individual performance. It allows a supervisor and employee to see whether improvement in one area may have been achieved at the expense of another. This approach is based on four perspectives:
- Organizational perspective
- Client perspective
- Task perspective
- Interpersonal perspective
Key Result Areas should, however, always identify the current most significant objectives of the position for the performance management cycle. They do not describe the myriad of activities required to meet those objectives. It is most useful to choose Key Result Areas, which have the most impact on achieving the goals relevant to the strategic plan, rather than attempting to deal with all areas.
AGREEING UPON PERFORMANCE OBJECTIVES
The Key Result Areas will provide the framework for identifying the most important performance objectives for an individual. An effective performance objective within a Key Result Area will be:
A Performance Objective for a KRA gives a context for the KRA both in terms of personal objectives and contribution to the work area. For example, using the KRA of Office Management, for a general employee, the performance objective might be to develop a client focussed image and service delivery model. Against the overall performance objective for the KRA, measurable outcomes then need to be identified under Step 3.
DEFINITION OF PERFORMANCE OBJECTIVE
A Performance Objective is a clearly defined and critical objective for the performance management cycle and is action oriented. It describes specifically what the employee will achieve.
AGREEING UPON KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS (KP Is ) AND THEIR ASSOCIATED PERFORMANCE TARGETS
KPIs are the agreed measures of achievement within Key Result Areas and can include measures of quantity, quality, efficiency and effectiveness. Performance Targets specify the desired level of performance for indicators.
Targets will in most instances be in one of three forms:
1. A CHANGE RELATIVE TO AN EXISTING LEVEL This will most commonly be expressed as a percentage increase or reduction.
2. A LEVEL TO AIM AT This could be measure of time to finish the required job.
3. AN OBJECTIVELY BASED QUALIT Y This could be that a proposal is approved, or that all employees agree.
The establishment of Performance Targets determines the level of challenge in the job, and is governed by what is reasonable. This is largely a matter of judgment and negotiation between the supervisor and employee. The targets set may be based on:
- Previous results
- Corporate or strategic goals
- Specific deadlines that are imposed by stakeholders
- The availability of people to complete the work
- Best estimates.
DEFINITION OF KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATOR
A KPI is a specific, agreed measure of achievement within a KRA, and for the Performance Objective which has been agreed. It is important to note that the key characteristics of KPIs are that they are objective, independent and standardised measures of performance, not ratings or judgments of performance. Also, it is significant that the KPIs measure an outcome, rather than an activity.
Performance Targets should consider stakeholder expectations. They may be QUANTITATIVE or QUALITATIVE . The measure is activity based rather than outcome based, as these KPIs will often be more suitable to routine repetitive functions. The employee keeping a log-listing enquiry, information issue and follow-up dates could measure this KPI
AGREEING UPON ACTION PLANS
Action Plans outline the agreed steps and timing necessary to achieve the Performance Targets set for the Key Performance Indicators in each Key Result Area.
The beginning of action planning is a review of the KRAs and other Performance Objectives to ensure that:
- They are achievable at the standard specified in the Performance Targets
- The resources required are available and reasonable (eg time, capital or ongoing expenditure)
- The total set of KRAs and their Performance Objectives can be achieved within a reasonable workload, taking into account other required duties.
DEFINITION OF ACTION PLAN
The Action Plan is a sequential list of the essential actions that need to be undertaken by nominated people including the employee, the manager, and others, in order that the target is achieved. In the Action Plan, each action has a date attached by which it will be completed.
Preliminary estimates of workloads, scheduling of tasks, and examination of both budgets and the level of coordination with others that is required, will usually indicate whether a set of KRAs and its Performance Objectives are achievable. If judgments about Performance Indicators/Targets (KPIs/PTs) later prove to be incorrect, or a change in priorities means that a particular performance indicator is no longer central to a position, it may be necessary to adjust the KRAs or Performance Objectives.
DISCUSSIONS BETWEEN EMPLOYEE AND SUPERVISOR
MEETINGS BETWEEN EMPLOYEE AND SUPERVISOR
How to conduct an annual performance-planning meeting
The responsibility for this face-to-face meeting is shared between supervisor and employee, who should prepare by planning ahead and having:
- An agreed upon time set aside
- A copy of the Individual Performance and Development Plan
- Familiarity with the strategic objectives of their Functional Head
- A commitment to open and honest discussion.
Effective communication skills on the part of the participants will enhance the discussions.
The exact course of the discussion is up to the participants, so long as the key tasks are accomplished. There are seven key tasks:
1. Agree upon Key Result Areas
2. Agree upon Performance Objectives
3. Agree upon Key Performance Indicators/Targets
4. Agree upon Action Plans
5. Agree upon the Individual Development Plan
6. Reviewing the Plan
7. Signing off the Completed Plan
AGREE UPON KEY RESULT AREAS
- The agreed KRAs should represent the most significant areas of the job on which it is important to focus on/improve during the performance management cycle.
- Some KRAs will be a feature of successive performance and development plans, as it is recognised that some performance objectives may need to be accomplished over a longer time period than one year
- There may be a mixture of generic KRAs, and KRAs, which are specific to the employee's position.
- The set of agreed KRAs should reflect the breadth of the job role to be performed during the performance management cycle.
- When the job role involves a substantial amount of time in a particular area or activity, such as client service or computer support for an employee; a number of KRAs highlighting different aspects of the area or activity may be appropriate. For example, a major computer support focus, KRAs might include EQUIPMENT EVALUATIO N, SOFTWARE SUPPORT and EQUIPMENT UTILISATIO N.
AGREE UPON PERFORMANCE OBJECTIVES
Once the Key Result Areas are agreed upon, the second task is to agree upon the Performance Objectives. There should be one performance objective for each KRA. PERFORMANCE OBJECTIVES ARE THE SPECIFICS OF WHAT WILL BE ACHIEVED during the review period.
Performance objectives must be:
- Achievable within the performance management cycle, unless it is agreed that a particular objective will be extended over two or perhaps three performance management cycles
- Achievable within available resources of the Functional area, including any resources specifically allocated
- Manageable in terms of total workload when viewed collectively
AGREE UPON KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATOR S/ TARGETS
Once agreement is reached on what will be done, the next task is to agree on specific outcomes and the way(s) in which success will be measured. KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS ARE THE MEASURES OF ACHIEVEMENT WITHIN THE KRA. KPIs are outcome oriented.
As there will be only one KPI for each KRA, in choosing and agreeing upon the KPI it is critically important to choose the most appropriate measure so that when evaluating achievement clear, objective and relevant information is available.
TARGETS ARE THE FINE DETAILS OF WHAT WILL BE DON E, BY WHEN AND (IF APPROPRIAT E) AT WHAT COS T.
There must be a shared commitment from both the employee and supervisor to achieving KPIs and targets, so they must be:
At this time sources of support and necessary resources should be identified.
AGREE UPON ACTION PLANS
For each KRA with its particular performance objective and associated KPI and targets, an action plan needs to be agreed. In many cases this may involve the employee having time to reflect on the agreed KPIs/targets before coming back to the supervisor with a proposed action plan for finalisation by agreement. ACTION PLANS DETAIL CLEARLY HOW IT WILL ALL BE ACHIEVE D.
AGREE UPON THE INDIVIDUAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN
In order to be able to achieve the performance plan, it may be necessary to develop new skills or experience, or enhance existing skills or experience.
The number of areas for development at any time should not exceed that which the employee can successfully handle, and needs to be reasonable in light of the overall workload. A manageable target for the employee, would not normally be more than three areas of skill development for a single performance management cycle.
Individual development is not limited to training courses and workshops, and can also include:
- Project involvement
- Visits to other organisations
- Research e.g., print information to be gathered and studied, from books, internet searches, professional journals, policy documents etc
- On-the-job coaching
- Involvement in the profession.
REVIEWING THE PLAN
Once the Plan has been developed, it is important to review it in total, to ensure that:
- The goals are attainable
- The resources are reasonable
- The workload for the employee is reasonable within the context of their total work load
- The performance objectives for each KRA are clearly understood by both employee and supervisor.
SIGNING OFF THE COMPLETED PLAN
Before the employee and supervisor sign off the agreed Plan, it needs to be forwarded to the Functional Head for authorisation. The Head will seek to ensure that the Plan is consistent with the strategic objectives of the Organisation, and that required resources can be made available.
Upon sign off, the original should be retained by the employee and a copy by the supervisor. The employee should then periodically update the RESULTS and DATE OF RESULT columns of the Action Plans in preparation for Review meetings.