As support staff incremental rises and new pay scales loom in April then so should an evaluation of the support staff performance management policy and the process. How effective are the appraisals we give our support staff and are we really awarding increments based on excellent performance?
All too often I hear that setting objectives for some support staff is ‘impossible’. The consequences of which are often vague objectives that are merely part of a job description which get carried forward from year to year without any proper evaluation or outcome. We need to be become business like in our approach to rewarding those staff who genuinely go above and beyond and holding those to account that fall short of our expectations.
So based on experience here are some of my tips for effective performance management:
· Split objectives between those that are organizational and those that are personal
· Move away from activity bases objectives
· Think about using behaviour objectives to improve weaknesses and personal attributes
· Use team objectives
· Ensure staff take responsibility for their own development – don’t set targets for them
· Think about the language used to describe objectives so that outcomes are clear and achievable
· Always think of the bigger picture and make sure objectives are agreed in advance
· Get your structures right. No one can effectively appraise 20 people twice a year!
· Train your appraisers – in house training can be fun and enlightening
· Use good systems to record, monitor and evaluate the performance management process
It is important to remember that we also set objectives to improve weakness and having a robust capability policy is as crucial as any performance management policy. You wouldn’t jump out of a plane without a fully functioning parachute so why embark upon a capability procedure without the toolkit you need to make things change?
All this might sound very mercenary and unappreciative of the invaluable work support staff do. We all know that schools cannot operate without a support team but now more than ever we need to make sure we have the right people on the bus and that we are providing the most cost effective and efficient services possible to support the learning outcomes of our students.
Don't be afraid to get tough and remember....'