How To Get The Best From Your People

As reported last month (February 2019) in the most recent quarterly sample, the Labour Force Survey details the employment rate in Northern Ireland now stands at 70.3%.  Unemployment in Northern Ireland is below the UK average and is the fifth lowest in all the UK regions.  Therefore the war for talent amongst employers is at an all-time high.  With that in mind it’s crucial to look at those people that you already have - your existing human resources.  How can you achieve optimum performance and ensure they stay with you, work with you, achieve their full potential and ensure their contribution towards organisational success?


In recent years headlines have claimed that some corporate household names have abandoned performance appraisals.  The broad thrust is that traditional practices, in particular the dreaded annual appraisal, are outdated and have been replaced with more frequent, informal exchanges - all in the pursuit of an improved alignment and outcome in terms of performance, interpersonal relationships and perceived fairness. 


The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has researched and published many findings in this area of people management.  In one of their research reports it suggests that the traditional ‘one size fits all’ approach to performance management i.e. the annual appraisal, which attempts to set goals and review performance (developmental purposes) along with providing a standardised grade/rating which informs pay and promotions (administrative processes) should be overhauled.  The recommendation is that any single process or meeting focuses on one or other of these, but not both. 


Introducing some clear water between assessments that inform pay and promotions and those that help employees improve and achieve ultimate job satisfaction should make performance management a far smoother, more productive and less fraught process.  It should also ensure that your existing talent feels truly valued, satisfied and holds greater loyalty to you, the employer.


Good and effective performance management revolves around regular, effective feedback on progress towards agreed objectives.  There is no single best approach but whatever technique you use it should align with organisational strategy and suit the type of jobs in question.  People managers reinforce the links between organisational and individual objectives and provide feedback that motivates employees, helps them improve and holds them to account.  At the very heart of effective performance management are conversations that are frank, yet supportive, and always include ongoing feedback.  Occasional processes, such as annual appraisals and pay setting, are useful tools but they shouldn’t be the main focus.  Your best assets, your people, should always be the primary focus.


For assistance with developing a performance management strategy or for help with any other people management and HR related queries, please dont hesitate to contact Sarah Kerrigan at Synchronise HR (tel: 0789 437801 or email: 


Synchronise HR offers services based on the philosophy of making life easier by helping clients to thrive and succeed whilst keeping them fully in step with employment law.  Synchronise HR provides clear, concise and commercial advice and support to clients blended with a positive and friendly approach.