How to Manage Performance

This page contains information with regards to the various steps that can be taken during Performance Management.

They include:

Setting Direction

Planning Performance

Clarify the Roles (About the Job)

Attracting and selecting the right individual for a role is essential and relies on having a well thought out ‘About the Job’ defining the key elements of the role, including:

  • What it is there to achieve
  • The key outputs
  • The behaviours and skills needed

This should enable you to attract the right person through appropriate advertising and selection processes.


The final step in the recruitment process: the first real contact that a new person has with the team in which they will operate, thus the foundation of good performance management.

  • Induction is a means of ensuring that they are made fully aware of their job responsibilities, and the standards, and expectations of performance within their new role.
  • Employees who do not receive appropriate induction may take longer to become fully effective in their role, or may not achieve their full potential, and are more likely to leave in the early stages of their employment.
  • The induction period could last for days or weeks. The duration depends on the complexity of the role.

Further details are available in relation to Induction.


  • Probation should be considered in accordance with current university policy (currently applies to academic staff only).
  • An offer of employment is based on the mutual expectation that the individual is capable of and understands the requirements of the post.
  • The probationary period is there to support the employer and employee in this period of development and assessment.
  • It includes the need to regularly develop plans that detail specific and clear objectives for the probationary period, together with details of the training/development and guidance to help the new member of staff achieve their objectives. Regular review of performance against, and progress towards, these stated objectives should also be carried out and recorded.

Further details are available in relation to Probation.

Setting and Agreeing Objectives

For further guidance, the following Top Tips are available here.

Guidance and support materials are available in relation to SRDS.

Short courses aimed at supporting the delivery of SRDS, including:

  • Including objective setting
  • Giving feedback
  • Assessing contribution

Further details are available in relation to SRDS Training.

Providing support and identifying skills needs

  • The provision of appropriate and aligned development opportunities contribute towards a motivated and high performing work force.
  • Development needs should be discussed and addressed during probation, during regular 1:1 meetings, via the SRDS review process and also when an individual takes on new duties as part of their role.
  • To be effective, it has to respond to genuine needs and contribute to organisational success.

For further details of development provisions, see Development Everywhere.

Development Everywhere also includes a number of resources (Learning events, Videos, Useful guides, Books, Web resources) for managers to support the management of performance.  

On-going Management of Performance

Regular feedback and discussion

  • On-going discussions with employees about their work should be an inevitable part of the manager-employee relationship.
  • Pep talks can be used regularly with staff performing to variable standards.
  • Sometimes a short chat with a focus can help an employee to regain their commitment. These are similar to one-to-ones, but are impromptu and are useful where an issue can be handled immediately as it can help build competence by supporting and rectifying the problem quickly.

Interim reviews (SRDS)

  • Once objectives have been set they should be regularly reviewed between the manager and the staff member to check on progress, and to ensure they are still relevant.
  • Holding an occasional interim review meeting during the year will allow the manager and staff member to focus on objectives in more detail.
  • Any agreed changes to objectives and expectations should be recorded and regularly reviewed thereafter via on-going discussions and interim reviews to ensure they remain relevant and achievable.

One-to-One interaction

  • One-to-ones are meetings that take place regularly on a face-to-face basis.
  • Weekly one-to-ones may be necessary in the early stages of employment, where a new task or project has been introduced or where there are any difficulties.
  • Monthly one-to-ones work well with highly experienced staff that may see increased regularity as micromanaging.

These meetings are a ‘conversation’ focusing on key areas that will make a difference to the performance of the individual. Meetings should be uninterrupted, structured, planned and recorded. This may mean taking your own notes or recording agreed actions by email. They do not need a formal SRDS appraisal form.

The key element of a one-to-one meeting is that it is open. It is an opportunity to give and receive feedback, review the employee’s objectives, cover issues and problems and discuss training and development needs and plans. It is also an opportunity to correct and to praise performance. It is part of building a long-term relationship with individuals.

Enabling and Enhancing Performance

Recognising and Reinforcing Good Performance

When an individual is performing well, feedbacks and discussions will be about recognising their achievements and identifying areas where further support can be provided, for example:

  • Reinforcing the behaviours/actions etc, that contribute to the good performance;
  • Identifying aspects of their current role they can continue to develop;
  • Exploring ways to continue their development and skills;
  • Opportunities to be involved in different activities to maintain motivation;
  • Discussions around their aspirations and how they might work towards them.

Continuing Development

Employee development should be an on-going process aimed at supporting sustained good performance as well as to facilitate excellence. It can be achieved through a range of informal and formal learning that supports the individual to increase their range of transferable skills/knowledge and experience.

Measures to support development can be provided, for example:

  • When reviewing performance identify areas for development and set targets;
  • Providing any appropriate on and off the job training e.g. learning from colleagues; shared learning from networking; shadowing; mentoring; involvement in projects; deputising for colleagues etc.
  • Encourage and provide opportunities for employees to coach or train others in specialist skills.

The Learning Management System (LMS) provides a catalogue of training and development programmes for you to make use of.

Supporting Aspirations

  • Supporting aspirations resembles continuing development in a number of ways.
  • Where it differs is that the focus is on understanding what the employee wants out of their role that they are currently not getting, and how you can help them achieve that.
  • In performance review meetings discuss with the employee what they would like to achieve.
  • If able to, provide opportunities for employees to access new experiences and training provisions, in line with business need.
  • Encourage employees to take the initiative and generate ideas in how these can be realistically supported.

Managing Under-Performance

Detailed guidance on managing under-performance is available.

Reviewing and Recognising Performance

Reviewing achievements and progress

This will typically take place via the SRDS annual meeting (or within the probationary cycle), unless there are issues relating to under-performance which will need to be addressed as early as possible.

This is an opportunity to:

  • Review performance and contribution during the relevant period
  • Discuss progress and provide feedback
  • Review the effectiveness of the support that was put in place plan objectives and relevant support for the next period.

Rewarding Good Performance

Acknowledging and rewarding good performance is most commonly associated with financial reward, although non financial recognition can be incredibly effective and as simple as:

  • Giving praise/thanks at the time, sharing their achievements or contribution with others;
  • Giving the individual opportunity to have greater involvement in decisions and planning; take part in new projects or take on additional responsibilities.

Further information is available in relation to Reward & Benefits