understanding professional supervision practice

Understanding professional supervision practice (LM2a)
4.1 Performance Indicators are quantifiable measurements, agreed to beforehand, that reflect the critical success factors of an organization. They will differ depending on the organization. Whatever Performance Indicators are selected, they must reflect the organization’s goals, they must be key to its success and they must be quantifiable (measurable). Performance Indicators usually are long-term considerations. The definition of what they are and how they are measured do not change often. The goals for a particular Performance Indicator may change as the organization’s goals change, or as it gets closer to achieving a goal. As Performance Indicators reflect the organizational goals, a supervisor of a professional in the organisation must make sure that any performance indicator used can be clearly identified by the professional as contributing to the organisation’s goals. It is the responsibility of the supervisor to ensure the professional: Is aware of the goals of the organisation (employees should significantly contribute to the goals, as should people who use the services of the organisation); Understands the goals and how the performance indicators contribute to the goals; Understands how the performance indicators are to be measured and when they have been achieved -if a Performance Indicator is going to be of any value, there must be a way to accurately define and measure it Targets need to be set for each Key Performance Indicator.

Characteristics of PIs
Quantitative: They can be presented in form of numbers.
Practical: They integrate well with present organisational processes. Directional: They help to determine if an organisation is improving. Actionable: They can be put into practice to effect desired change. For example, a performance indicator for a supported living accommodation project for individuals recovering from mental health problems may be that within 28 days of arriving in the project a full assessment of their psychological, physical and social needs is completed. But, before an assessment can be completed, the individual must have a key worker allocated. Therefore the manager of the project may have as a performance indicator that a key worker must be agreed with the individual within 7 days
of arriving at the project, the key worker to complete the assessment within a further 21 days. 4.2 The Performance Management Cycle has an important part to play in the implementation of motivation in the workplace. An organisation may be doing a lot of good work in terms of managing their employees but the Performance Management Cycle adds structure and identifies if any gaps in the performance management system. It considers the organisation’s interaction with employees when they first join. It also includes ways to keep staff motivated, developed and loyal to the organisation in the long term.

The Performance Management Cycle
Below is a typical performance management cycle diagram, it contains 5 stages to consider when implementing a performance management scheme:

The 5 stages in the cycle are; Plan, Manage, Review, Reward and Renew, depending on the type of organisation, the management cycle may take place over a year’s period or month by month. Stage 1 – Planning

The first stage of the performance management cycle is to plan – this will involve getting together with an employee and evaluating expectations for a set period of time. The first stage in the planning process will be to evaluate an employee’s current role and performance; this will gain an initial idea about areas of improvement and realistic targets. Stage 2 – Manage

Implementing the plan and managing performance is stage 2 of the cycle. This can be providing support to an employee at all times and ensuring that the appropriate systems and tools are available to maximise performance expectations. Stage 3 – Review

Making sure that the performance structure set out in stage one is being adhered to, this may be particularly useful is there are any barriers to performance that could have a direct effect on other areas of the organisation. Speaking to an employee mid-way through a performance cycle is a good chance to tweak their objectives depending on external factors. Stage
4 – Reward

If all of the objectives have been met, stage 4 of the performance management cycle is to reward employees. Reasons and types of rewards will be discussed during stage one when objectives are outlined. Stage 5 – Renew

The final stage of the performance management cycle is renewing. This can involve analysing the previous objectives and looking at ways to improve on them and how to plan for the next cycle. Methods of rewards can vary from an annual bonus to share scheme options, or access to increased training and development opportunities that are part of the organisation’s goals. 4.3 A number of methods can be used to measure an individual’s performance. Regularly scheduled employee assessments can help support the individual throughout the year, leading to their annual appraisal. Evaluation of employees using both general and job-specific duties and expectations can be completed using comprehensive assessment forms based on official job descriptions, using input from departmental supervisors. This helps ensure that employees are evaluated on overall attitude as well as job-specific knowledge. It is important to establish a standard rating system to make it easier to compare employee performance against previous and current data, referring to the employee’s previous appraisals. Quality control checks based on the employee’s job duties can be implemented – for example, recording and reviewing random employee phone calls can measure performance in a call centre. Examining documentation such as case notes using an established tool such as the NMC guidance or the Essence of Care guidelines can measure performance of a professional and their documentation. This spot-checking allows you to view employees’ “everyday” behavior, which may differ from performance immediately before scheduled reviews. Speak with clients regarding satisfaction. This gives the organisation another viewpoint to measure overall performance. A smiling face doesn’t always translate into acceptable work practices. Including comment cards and setting up phone surveys can give customers an opportunity to address issues or give praise – very important for employees to perceive performance management as a way of acknowledging when their performance meets or exceeds established targets. Using this type of analysis can help ensure the
organisation has a complete picture of employee performance. Colleagues can be asked to complete peer reviews, frequently referred to as 360 degree appraisal. Knowing how well employees interact with peers can help measure work ethic and professionalism. It can also help identify problems but also identity employees with potential for leading new developments or to be offered more responsibility for example. The use of standard assessment forms, which include open-ended questions about specific incidents (where the professionals supervisor can contribute). Employees must be encouraged to take their peer evaluation duties seriously and by taking an overall view, any malicious comments can be identified and responded to.

There is also a role for employees to make self-assessments. Giving employees a chance to share opinions about their performance can help their supervisor (and therefore the organization) understand their goals and obstacles. It can also alert supervisors to differing views regarding work quality and enthusiasm. Letting an employee compare their self-assessment to those from management and peers, can help with the individual’s workplace development. 4.4 There are two main causes of performance problems. The first has to do with employee characteristics. Employee performance is based on skill levels, motivation, ability, training, and other factors such the employee’s personality or things which are happening in their personal life. The second type of cause has to do with the system in which work is done, such as managerial behavior, allocation of resources, the effects of colleague behaviour, and a wide range of variables that are, by and large, beyond the control of the individual employee. When trying to identify the causes of poor employee performance it’s absolutely critical that both kinds of causes be explored. Even something like “poor employee motivation”, something that would appear on the surface to be related to employee characteristics, is heavily influenced by the work environment. A work environment can be frustrating or demoralising, so apparent poor employee motivation can itself be caused by a poor working environment. However, indications that someone is performing badly can include not get the results that are expected from them, they make more mistakes than others in the team, supervisors find themselves spending more time handling them than other employees and if left unsupervised they make errors. It is the responsibility of the
organisation’s management to ensure that staff who are failing to meet an acceptable level of performance are offered the support and guidance they need to improve by providing a framework for the effective and consistent handling of poor performance throughout the organisation that is reflective of the values held in the organisation’s equal opportunities policy to minimise the impact of poor performance on the efficiency and quality of services and the morale and well- being of other staff.

4.5 Constructive feedback is letting people know in a helpful way how they are doing, and how their performance is being perceived. Constructive feedback can be positive (letting someone know they’re doing well), negative (letting people know about ways in which they could do better), or neutral (just an objective observation or analysis).

One of the two main elements that make feedback (particularly negative feedback) constructive is the content of the feedback: Constructive feedback is specific, behaviour or issue-focused, rather than a value judgment about the individual, based on what is observable rather than assuming anything about the person’s attitude or motivation, and includes some specific direction on how to make improvements if some are needed. How the feedback is delivered is the other main element. To be constructive, feedback should not be delivered in a manner that provokes resentment, resistance, defensiveness, hurt feelings, shame or a sense of failure. It means not backing the person into a corner with attacks. Honest doesn’t mean tactless. Giving constructive feedback is very important at work as it allows both an organisation and employee to assess progress and for the organisation to let the employee know what he or she has excelled at and areas where there might be room for improvement. Many people consider feedback sessions and any constructive criticism as a daunting prospect as it’s not easy for anyone to accept criticism. However, those who are skilled at conducting appraisals will do so in such a way so that they get their points across in a manner which won’t offend or upset an employee. Many workers value these sessions, which are usually conducted in private one-to-one because not only will they be told what their strengths have been – it’s often good to have an objective opinion on any areas in which can be improved. That allows goals
to be set and objectives for the next review. Ineffective or inappropriate feedback is a major cause of an increasing attrition rate in many organisations. Employees are the most important assets of any organisation, playing a major role in its success or failure. However, ineffective feedback can affect the productivity of the employees and ruin the entire work environment. To avoid this, it is essential to employ a mechanism that helps employees understand their strengths and weaknesses in a constructive manner. A good feedback for their performance can increase the productivity, enthusiasm, and satisfaction levels among the employees. This, in turn, helps in improving the performance of the employees, eventually leading towards the growth and development of the organisation.

Genuine feedback helps employees to analyse themselves in a better way, which paves way for self-improvement. It also gives them a chance to recognize their mistakes and take corrective measures. Hence, it is important to maintain a constant dialog with the employees through a good communication pattern in the organisation.

4.6 According to Lockett (1992), performance management aims at developing individuals with the required commitment and competencies for working towards the shared meaningful objectives within an organisational framework. Performance management frameworks are designed with the objective of improving both individual and organisational performance by identifying performance requirements, providing regular feedback and assisting the employees in their career development.

Performance management aims at building a high performance culture for both the individuals and the teams so that they jointly take the responsibility of improving the organisational processes on a continuous basis and at the same time raise the competence bar by upgrading their own skills within a leadership framework. Its focus is on enabling goal clarity for making people do the right things in the right time. It may be said that the main objective of a performance management system is to achieve the capacity of the employees to the full potential in favour of both the employee and the organisation, by defining the expectations in terms of roles,
responsibilities and accountabilities, required competencies and the expected behaviours.

The main goal of performance management is to ensure that the organisation as a system and its subsystems work together in an integrated fashion for accomplishing optimum results or outcomes. The major objectives of performance management are to enable the employees move towards achievement of superior standards of work performance and help them in identifying the knowledge and skills required for performing the job efficiently as this would drive their focus towards performing the right task in the right way. In addition, boosting the performance of the employees is achieved by encouraging employee empowerment, motivation and implementation of an effective reward mechanism – which doesn’t always have to be finance-based. Promotion of a two way system of communication between the supervisors and the employees helps clarifying expectations about their roles and accountabilities and also assists in communicating the functional and organisational goals. Performance management also provides a regular and a transparent feedback for improving employee performance and can also identify the barriers to effective performance and resolving those barriers through constant monitoring and development interventions. Promoting personal growth and advancement in the career of the employees helps them in acquiring the desired knowledge and skills. The performance management approach has become an indispensable tool for organisations, as it ensures that everyone in the organization are aware and uphold the corporate values and contribute effectively to the accomplishment of the organisation’s visions and mission. It is a forward looking process as it involves both the supervisor and also the employee in a process of joint planning and goal setting in the beginning of the year. Lockett, J (1992) Effective performance management: A strategic guide to getting the best from people. Kogan Page. London.

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