Performance Management Sequence Models

Although it is true all performance management models are unique in their own way, they also all follow a similar pattern, or sequence. Sequence models can be very simple or more complicated, but they essentially show a common sequence of events that take place during the performance management process. In this Wiki we have reproduced the work of Cave and Thomas (1998) and Torrington and Hall (1995) to investigate the different levels of detail that can go into a performance management model and when they are appropriate.

The model developed by Torrington and Hall, in 1995, emphasises the point that the performance management process is continuous, rather than static. Although targets are set and reviewed, they are constantly evolving and being updated and therefore the process can be represented as a cycle, as shown below. The key is that when the first set of expectations are reviewed, more targets are set, based on the current level of performance. This means employees and their managers never stand still and are always working towards their next goal. This maintains productivity and creates a learning environment where employees are always developing new skills and striving for better performance. A more static approach may see an initial improvement in performance, however is less likely to see sustained and long-term changes.

Performance management sequence modelCave and Thomas’ model is far more complex. They break down each step into smaller components to be more precise about the actions that need to be taken at each step. This gives the employees and their managers more direction and increases the transparency of the whole process, however, the more complex a process is the more confusing and costly it can be. This model ensures the individual performance management agreement is initially aligned to the overall corporate mission and goals. This makes sure employees targets are not conflicting with the organisations, but also helps to echo the organisation’s strategy throughout the workforce. The same process then takes place with the departmental plans and goals. The next few steps are similar to most traditional performance management models, whereby targets are first agreed, then an action plan is created for how they will be carried out and once the tasks have been carried out the delegate will receive feedback. However, this model also incorporates elements to support the whole process, for instance, how performance will be measured and the requirements for showing competence. These elements are not essential to the process, but will help it to run more smoothly. The final elements the authors add are ‘Rating’, which gives the delegate and their managers a chance to summarise their performance throughout the process and, finally, ‘Financial Reward’ where the delegates have the chance to be financially appraised for their work.

The important thing to remember here is that whichever model you choose, it should be followed very carefully. Performance management processes are most likely to fail when steps are skipped or the process is not clear to everyone it affects. Following each steps closely and in the correct order will ensure a smooth and efficient process. The simpler model, suggested by Torrington and Hall, may be more appropriate when timescales are shorter and budgets are smaller.

A Cave and C Thomas. (1998). The Reward Portfolio. (The Training Directory, 1998).

Torrington, D and L Hall. (1995). Personnel Management: Human Resource Management in Action (Prentice Hall, 1995).