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August 09, 2011
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Managing performance

After the hire, it’s time for “performance management,” says Michael Dougal, director of human resource (HR) consulting at HRN Performance Solutions, Salt Lake City.

That’s more than just a performance appraisal, he says. “It’s the umbrella over the whole process.”

That process includes three elements:

  1. Planning. The supervisor sets goals and expectations in collaboration with the employee.
  2. Managing.The supervisor observes performance and provides feedback throughout the year.
  3. Reviewing performance. At year’s end, the supervisor sits down with the employee to discuss performance during the previous 12 months and plan performance objectives for the coming year.

“We encourage at least one other review during the year, usually at six months,” Dougal says. Some credit unions do reviews more often, but year-end reviews are generally linked to pay increases.

“Our Web-based Performance Pro system isn’t just an appraisal tool,” he says. “It’s a performance management solution complete with manager tools, HR forms, and credit union-specific content. It’s fully customizable, not a one-size-fits-all proposition. We help clients create their own unique performance management measurements and criteria, and they determine what weight to give those performance factors.”

Organizations face many issues when assessing employee performance. One perennial issue, Dougal says, “is getting supervisors to be consistent in their ratings. Some supervisors are considered ‘easy raters,’ giving mostly high scores, while others are conservative or restrictive when appraising employees.”

The problem is many performance systems use a global scoring mechanism that’s applied to all factors being evaluated, for example: meets, exceeds, or highly exceeds objectives.

“Performance Pro provides up to five detailed descriptors that are specific to each task, such as teamwork,” Dougal explains. “Each supervisor can choose from among those detailed descriptors” to ensure supervisors more closely mirror one another when evaluating performance.

HRN Performance Solutions also provides customized training to clients in the areas of performance management, coaching, and goal-setting. This reinforces the importance of both positive and “developmental” feedback.

“We’ll sometimes role play in training sessions on how to deliver developmental feedback,” Dougal says. “We do this because we’re committed to helping managers and supervisors build their skills, improve their techniques, and improve both employee and organizational performance.


  1. 2011-2012 CEO Total Compensation Survey
  2. 2011-2012 Complete Credit Union Staff Salary Survey

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