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Mastering Employee Performance: Top 10 Best Practices to Implement

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When it comes to employee performance, effective performance management is truly the glue that holds everything together. One could even say that employee performance management is the backbone of a company's success. With the right strategies, companies can boost employee performance, increase productivity and drive growth - and all of this is the result of good old communication.

When employees are regularly reviewed and evaluated and receive meaningful feedback, they have a better understanding of their strengths and areas for improvement. With the right tools in hand and great support, they can focus on building their skills, aligning themselves and contributing to organizational goals. And that is a powerful thing.

What is employee performance management?

By definition, performance management is a process through which an employer involves its employees in improving organizational efficiency. As we mentioned, this is done through ongoing communication and feedback between managers and employees to ensure employees stay motivated and have everything they need to perform at their best.

Performance management is an excellent way to engage and motivate employees. It also allows managers to address and resolve issues that may be affecting employee performance. It can only produce positive results, so let's take a look at the how and why.

The trick is to make performance management continuous. When you have constant momentum, you create room for continuous progress and improvement.

The benefits of performance management for employees and companies

When we say that a solid employee performance management process can only bring good things, we mean important benefits such as:

  • Better targeting
  • Improved engagement and satisfaction
  • Increased productivity
  • Lower employee turnover
  • A positive environment in which everyone can achieve their best

When you create a company culture of continuous improvement and offer ongoing development opportunities, you create a space designed to thrive. The benefits of performance management are many, ranging from closer relationships between employees and managers to less micromanagement to greater autonomy and accountability for everyone.

Introduction of the performance management process into practice

Implementing a good employee performance management system doesn't have to be complicated. The performance management cycle is a continuous six-step process that optimizes employee performance and growth:


The first step of the performance management process is planning. This is where you set clear goals and expectations for your employees’ performance. Setting goals that align with your company's vision and strategy gives your team a solid sense of purpose and direction.


Based on the goals set in step one, you should then monitor performance. This is the only way to ensure progress is being made toward these goals. Regular check-ins and feedback sessions allow managers to see what is working well and what isn't, so they can then provide guidance, support and even recognition.

Development of

It is important to encourage growth and support potential. Therefore, this step in the performance management cycle focuses on promoting continued growth and development. Offer your employees learning and development opportunities, coaching and mentoring so they can continue to improve. Don’t forget to give regular feedback, set goals and develop skills.


It is important to monitor performance in an objective manner. This type of performance appraisal provides a structured framework for evaluating and measuring individual and team performance, allowing you to then identify strengths and areas for improvement. Use rating scales, peer reviews, and self-assessments to get a 360-degree view of an employee's performance. The insights you gain from this step support decision-making processes throughout the company.


We cannot emphasize often enough how important employee recognition is for individuals and the entire company. When people work hard to achieve their goals, it always deserves recognition. Recognizing goal achievement and rewarding exceptional performance is a central part of the performance management process. So remember to recognize individual and team achievements and efforts to reinforce positive actions and motivate continued success.

Renewal of

The last but certainly not least important step in the performance management cycle is renewal. In this final step of the performance management process, the results and findings of the previous cycle are evaluated. Collect feedback, analyze the results, and then implement effective changes so you can adapt to the ever-evolving needs of your organization.

The most important thing about this process is to always remember that there is always room for improvement - and that's a good thing! This is the origin of growth and progress. Before you begin developing your own performance management strategy, you should familiarize yourself with some best practices.

Want a handy hack? IceHrm's performance management platform offers simple and intuitive tools to help you streamline the entire process - from one-on-one meetings, goals and OKRs to performance reviews and continuous performance management features.

Best practices for employee performance management

As with any other area of business, there are effective best practices for performance management. We'll help you understand and leverage them so you can take your team to a higher level and your business thrives.

1.Set and communicate clear expectations and goals

As in sports, without a goal in mind, we have nothing to work towards. That's why it's so important to set clear and specific performance expectations for each employee. By setting goals and key performance indicators (KPIs), employees know exactly what they want to achieve, what is expected of them and how they need to proceed to score points.

This keeps every employee accountable, everyone has something concrete to work towards, and your team can even agree on a common goal. Numbers are powerful, and this type of alignment paves the path to success.

Check out our handy goal-setting guide to help you take your team to new heights together.

2.Conduct continuous feedback

Did we mention that communication is key? Regular, constructive feedback is one of the most important best practices that should always and consistently be implemented. It is a powerful tool that helps employees assess their performance, understand what is expected of them, identify their strengths and identify opportunities for improvement.

Constructive feedback requires the right method, the right tone and the right time. Be helpful and empathetic rather than critical, give feedback continuously rather than sporadically, and be willing to actively listen in return.

3.Set up multiple communication channels

By now you've probably identified a theme. We've said it (more than) once, and we'll say it again: regular communication channels are important to provide feedback and discuss performance. We're talking scheduled one-on-ones, frequent performance reviews, and informal conversations thrown into the mix to offer advice and address any concerns that might arise.

Regular and timely feedback shows employees that their managers are interested in them and want to help them succeed. In return, you get more engaged, loyal employees. So make sure that communication doesn't stop!

4.Conduct regular performance reviews

In order for employees to develop, they need a clear path to follow. And that’s where regular performance reviews come in handy. Regular performance reviews can help managers evaluate their employees' progress, provide valuable feedback, and set new goals for the future.

Remember that a performance appraisal should always be objective, fair and based on measurable criteria. The best way to do this properly is to use a performance evaluation platform to gather insights because at the end of the day, data comes first.

And managers don’t have to do it alone! Our guide to employee performance reviews will help you.

5.Recognize good performance

When the goals are set, the momentum is there, regular feedback is provided, and your employees are performing, it's absolutely time to reward them for their achievements. Recognizing and rewarding high-performing employees is crucial. They are the ones who show up every day, who keep the wheels turning, and who go above and beyond to ensure your company's success.

The beauty of employee recognition is that there are so many ways to give it. From loud and proud public recognition to kind words from colleague to colleague to offering advancement opportunities, recognizing someone is always a good idea, and there are many ways to improve the way this is done in the workplace .

Do you need inspiration to find the right words? Browse our examples of employee recognition messages and make them your own.

6.Create performance improvement plans

It is said that if you don't plan, you will fail. This also applies to performance management. Performance improvement plans pave the way to success. Implementing them is therefore a must if you want to keep high-performing employees engaged and help low-performing employees improve.

This is where a performance improvement plan (PIP) comes into play. They can help you track and manage work performance, identify areas where employees need to course-correct, and offer solutions to improve and get back on track. For every problem there is a solution, and this usually consists of clear expectations and helping employees achieve their improvement goals.

7.Provide learning and development opportunities

Never stop learning. This is advice for life and also for performance management. Providing your employees with learning, development and career opportunities can help you improve their skills, expand their knowledge and set them on the path to greater success.

Offer training programs and workshops, provide mentors, and always encourage development. This helps employees to develop, feel valued and stay motivated. It also gives them an even greater sense of belonging to your company, which is crucial for employee retention.

8.Promote professional development

Supporting every employee's career ambitions is a key factor in improving their performance, staying motivated and even growing within the company. Fostering this growth begins with a conversation aimed at guiding employees toward their career goals and aspirations.

The best way to have a conversation like this in private is to be well prepared. We've put together a practical guide to help you have an effective career development conversation.

9.Turn your managers into coaches

Just as a coach leads a sports team, a manager should be able to motivate his own team of employees in the same way. Coaching and mentoring are effective tools for improving employee performance and promoting professional development, but we cannot expect all leaders to automatically be equipped and able to lead in the same way. It is important to understand that everyone has a different leadership style and that it is a learning process for everyone.

What we do know is that a coaching style is very effective. The main aim is to empower employees, give them a sense of responsibility and ownership and encourage them to seize opportunities. Coaches encourage their employees to grow, and this type of leader helps build a loyal, productive, and focused team.

10.Use technology for performance management

Now that we've addressed all the human elements of employee performance management, let's not forget the technology side. Employee performance management tools like IceHrm can help you optimize your performance management systems, facilitate goal tracking, manage your feedback loop, and analyze performance management data.

Don’t underestimate the value that employee performance management software brings. Get ready, set goals, and get ready to go!

Reach new heights with outstanding performance management

We now know that effective employee performance management and good communication go hand in hand. We learned that goal setting, constructive feedback, frequent employee recognition, and numerous opportunities contribute to the success of your business - and it all starts with good preparation.

When done right, ongoing performance management is a powerful thing for employees. Continuous feedback and regular reviews help ensure that everyone involved pulls together and drives employee growth and company success. So keep the momentum of performance management going!

Embrace effective performance management with IceHrm. Keep communication clear, feedback constant, and watch your team soar.

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