Why Structured Tools and Procedures Give You Better Results

Supervisors require more than technical know-how to help employees perform better on the job. It’s rare for supervisors to be given the right tools to fix what’s broken. Then why is top management so surprised when so many employees aren’t able to meet work objectives?

First, supervisors should communicate job expectations. After gathering helpful performance data, they need to make reliable assessments. The last step involves providing constructive feedback to employees. Without the right information gathering, evaluation, decision making, and employee feedback tools, supervisors tend to spend most of their time putting out fires instead of preventing them.


BizTip #1 – Use practical performance management tools that get the results you want.

Performance management is not an intuitive process for most supervisors. Without having proper tools at their disposal, supervisors typically use informal approaches that aren’t very effective. By using structured tools, supervisors usually will begin to understand fundamental principles behind effective practices. Take a look at examples of structured worksheets for collecting relevant information, interpreting performance data, and communicating findings to employees.

BizTip #2 – Teach supervisors how to use performance management tools.

Tools are effective only if people know how to use them properly. A common mistake is developing a structured performance management system without telling supervisors how it works. Be sure supervisors understand how employee activities contribute to organizational goals. Providing training on making the best use of performance development tools will not only give you better returns on your investment, but will also build supervisors’ confidence.

BizTip #3 – Don’t let supervisors wing it.

Getting employees to improve their performance is easier said than done. If you leave supervisors to their own devices, you’ll probably end up with multiple approaches that do not always yield positive results. Make sure supervisors follow uniform performance development practices that are well documented in a step-by-step guide. Take time to learn more about the most important features of a sound performance management system.

BizTip #4 – Emphasize employee responsibility throughout the performance management process.

Although companies are responsible for providing effective leadership and development opportunities, employees are ultimately responsible for job outcomes. Communicating realistic but challenging job expectations and making employees accountable for their decisions and actions can result in noticeable improvements in employee tardiness, absences, and commitment to organizational goals.

Use Structured Worksheets

Structured worksheets (either paper-based or electronic) should be provided to supervisors to help them maintain complete and accurate documentation on employee performance. These worksheets, which are the primary tools of a performance management system, should be designed to achieve the following objectives:

  • Maximize efficiency. Time spent observing and evaluating employees is minimized because worksheets are organized and easy to use.
  • Collect job-related information. Using structured worksheets helps to avoid gathering irrelevant information and to focus on critical areas related to job success.
  • Maintain consistency. Structured worksheets promote uniformity in the collection and interpretation of performance data and enable supervisors to apply standards consistently and treat all employees fairly.
  • Ensure comprehensiveness. Using structured worksheets provides the breadth of information needed for making informed performance evaluations in all relevant areas.
  • Minimize errors. The systematic assessment of employee performance increases accuracy, minimizes rating errors, and discourages haphazard evaluation.
  • Provide constructive feedback. Effective worksheets encourage supervisors to provide timely, helpful performance feedback to employees because both strengths and development needs are emphasized.
Author's Bio: 

Barry Farrell is an organizational psychologist who has provided management consulting for over 35 years. Visit GreatBizTools to try some free BizTools and to register for a free 15-day trial of WebAssess, an online testing system.