How you can take an active role in your own performance management

Selena Benic, CPHR

Selena Benic, CPHR

HR Consultant, Payworks

Selena has almost 20 years of HR management and consultancy experience across a variety of unique industries, organizational sizes and HR structures, well-positioning her to advise on HR best practices and improving the employee experience.
Consultante en RH, Payworks

Selena compte presque 20 années d’expérience dans la gestion des RH et en consultation dans une variété de secteurs, de tailles d’entreprise et de structures des RH, ce qui lui permet de donner des conseils sur les meilleures pratiques en RH et l’amélioration de l’expérience des employés.

Initiating the conversation with your leader

In the HR industry, we’ve heard these themes a lot when it comes to performance management: leadership development, providing ongoing feedback, setting clear employee expectations and equipping employees with the tools to do their best work. These are all worthy topics for articles geared toward individuals who manage people, but not necessarily the most relevant for those at the employee level – and like any relationship, that of a leader and an employee is a two-way street.

When exploring performance management best practices it's equally important to consider the employee-led side of the equation: What are the things that employees can do to take an active role in their own performance management? For which parts of the performance management process should they be accountable and able to drive? How can we encourage employees to candidly bring forward their own expectations for their career and thoughts about their own performance?

You know best

Let’s face it: an employee’s needs are not one-size-fits-all, and our people leaders are not mind readers.

As an employee, you're the one who knows what you need when it comes to support and feedback. By speaking up and actively participating in the process to obtain the support, tools or access to information that you need to grow in your role, you have a greater chance of fulfilling your performance goals. This could mean sourcing out professional development and learning opportunities, or setting an objective for yourself around education and communicating this to your leader. 

Your leader will appreciate the honest and straightforward communication — particularly during performance reviews and performance evaluations — because it helps them to better understand your aspirations and expectations for your career and how to help you stay engaged in your role and organization.

It’s time to request feedback

As an employee, if you feel the need for more feedback or information about potential career paths, it’s time to speak up and ask your leader. By proactively taking the time to seek out the answers and initiating the conversation, you're demonstrating your engagement and drive, and a good leader will view this conversation as an opportunity to help you create a plan or provide valuable coaching.

The reality is, if you don't address questions directly with your leader, there’s a strong likelihood that those needs will never fully be addressed (remember, our people leaders can't know what we don't tell them), which can cause frustration. Establishing regular career goal conversations with your leader, especially during performance reviews, is important to gain valuable insight and to ensure that your goals align with your professional interests, while also helping your organization achieve its objectives.

Don’t wait for your review

There’s no downside in asking for feedback even outside of your company's typical performance review window. Good leaders appreciate when their employees take initiative and understand that performance management is best done as an ongoing, fluid exercise and employees' concerns or questions about their performance are best addressed as they arise instead of being reserved for that once a year conversation.

From one employee to another

I’ve been there. Even as an HR Consultant with experience on the people leader and employee side of performance management, I know it can can be intimidating to ask for feedback. Don’t be afraid to take ownership and start the conversation - it could be the beginning of something great.

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