Blog: Top Tips for Better Performance Development

While many colleagues dread performance discussions, good performance management is critical for progress and improvement. Colleagues that are engaged and performing well can be the driving force behind a successful organisation and great customer service. The key? Regular, constructive feedback.

As the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) define it, performance management is:

‘A process which contributes to the effective management of individuals and teams in order to achieve high levels of organisational performance’.

Good performance management needs to foster a shared sense of accountability and an understanding about what needs to be done, to what standard and by when as well as ensuring that objectives are achieved.

In many organisations, one of the main reasons why traditional performance management doesn’t work is the quality of managers. Managers need to be able to have constructive, meaningful conversations to help colleagues to focus on what needs to be improved and what they’re doing well. At Onward we provide support to teams and colleagues to ensure everyone has the right skills to maximise the benefits from this key process. Good performance management focuses on strengths as well as development areas.

Another reason why traditional performance management doesn’t work is because it can be overly-retrospective focusing on historic performance rather than on the future. For some organisations, the conversation becomes negative and emphasises what hasn’t worked rather than what the colleague does well and where they can improve.

At Onward, our performance process is focused on the future – it’s called ‘Performance Development’ to emphasise that fact. Our emphasis is on encouraging high-quality conversations rather than completing complicated and long-winded forms. Conversation not administration!!

Our focus is on being the best organisation we can be for our colleagues and customers and providing the best possible support

Top Tips for Better Performance Development

1.Make sure everyone knows what they are here to do and what their priorities are

A good performance conversation will ensure that colleagues know what their priorities are for both the short and longer term. It will
clarify what good performance looks like and timeframes. Colleagues are then better able to plan their time and efforts more constructively

2.Have regular performance discussions

Many organisations are moving away from old-fashioned performance management systems and moving to encouraging more regular feedback on a day-to-day or week-to-week basis.

The importance of this can’t be underestimated. Few people come to work to do a bad job. The purpose of performance development is to ensure colleagues know what they are working towards and also gain enough feedback to know when they have achieved it

3. Remember people are different…

A key focus for performance development is to treat colleagues as individuals. We’re all motivated by different things and respond to feedback and challenge in different ways. A good performance development process needs to allow for this flexibility whilst maintaining the high-level focus on achieving our vision and values and providing the right support for our customers

4. Provide support…

Few of us are born with great performance development skills. An effective process will depend on the capability of both line managers and colleagues. Providing the right support and assistance throughout the process is key to gaining the most benefits from it. At Onward, we provide this support right across the organisation to ensure our team is best placed to support our customers

5. Keep the purpose in mind

At Onward, from our neighbourhood housing specialists on the ground to our leadership team in the boardroom, we’re all united by #The Onward Difference:

Enabling people to be their best

In homes they love

And places they are proud of

Our Values underpin our vision which are:


The performance development process is a key mechanism for us to ensure all colleagues are focused on achieving that aim and living by those values.

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