STAR Industries - Managing Performance

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STAR Industries

Manage Performance

Table of Contents

Background Summary

Reasons for Probation

Review Current Policy and Procedures

Processes and Methods

Performance Management

Feedback

Appraisals

Tools

Feedback Forms and Questionnaires

Action plan

Checklist

Online resources

Schedule

Conclusion

References

Background Summary

STAR Industries’ current Probation Policies and Procedures need to be reviewed and amended. In compliance with government legislations, new employees are entitled to have a probation period, which would make their transition much easier from induction to working productively. The current policies and procedures are too vague as it does not entail what its performance managements are as well as how they receive feedbacks and appraisals. In order for STAR Industries to continuously improve, the company would review and amend their current policies and procedures, and they will implement these changes into the probation process.

Reasons for Probation

After every induction process, it is essential to have a probation period. The probation period can be seen as a trial/ testing period where they can assess whether or not the job is right for the new employees. The employer will find that the new employees may not have the skills and knowledge expected or they are unsuitable for the job. Likewise, the employee/s may find that they are not suited to their new roles. The probation period allows both the employer and the employees the power to terminate the employment within a shorter notice than if it was continued beyond the intended timeline.

This is also a period where the employer will be able to identify and assess the new employees’ performance gaps as well as helping them to adjust to their new roles. By identifying and addressing the new employees’ performance gaps early on, it will prevent the company from making unfair dismissals/ terminations as well as keeping the new employees leaving their jobs. It will also prevent the employees from anxiety, stress and other negative attitudes that would affect their performance. The company would able to deal these by conducting training (such as mentoring, coaching, shadowing, etc.), performance management criteria and routine interviews, as well as allowing the new employees to provide feedback and answering any of their enquiries regarding their employment.

To provide support to these new employees, they are encouraged to discuss their job performances as well as work goals, targets and milestones during their routine sessions with their immediate supervisor or manager. Their work goals, targets and milestones will reflect on the employee awards and salary. By discussing these, the STAR Industries would be able to help and support these new employees through developing their skills and knowledge up the employee awards and salary ladder. Thus this is why having a probation period is essential to both the company and the new employees.

Review Current Policy and Procedures

The current STAR Industries’ probationary policies and procedures are quite vague in terms of the processes of performance management, feedbacks and appraisals. Because it is not specific enough, when read through the document, many will have different interpretations of its content. As a result, there will be possibility of unfair procedures and repercussions. To prevent this from happening, it is recommended that the Probationary Policies and Procedures are to be reviewed and implemented for the new employees of STAR Industries.

Processes and Methods

To be able to assess the new employees’ performance gaps and preventing them feeling any negative attitudes that would affect their work performance, all new positions are entitled to be placed in a probationary period. The standard STAR Industries’ probation period is 3 months which will include performance management, feedback and appraisals. By implementing these, it gives an opportunity to evaluate the new staff’s performance, commitment and general suitability for the role/s.

Performance Management

Training

There is a possibility that the new employees’ do not have the level of skills and knowledge expected for their roles. It is for that reason that training can be used to develop skills and knowledge in order to improve their work performances. Most of these methods are done face-to-face so that should anything happen, they can be dealt with as quickly as possible.

- Coaching

To monitor on an individual’s overall progress, coaching is use to improve a wider range of work and life skills. Coaching is most effective type of training in response to performance gaps. To help employees develop their potential, workplace coaches are there to help employees providing opportunities to achieve their short and long-term work goals.

- Mentoring

Mentoring is use when there is a role model or a more experienced person in the organisation passes on their knowledge and skills to the new employee or lesser experienced individual. Usually, but not always, the mentor would be the employee’s boss/ manager/ supervisor. The trainee or lesser experienced individual looks up to these role models to see how things are done and what is being accepted as suitable behaviour within the workplace.

- Shadowing

Shadowing is a process where the new employee follows another employees (more experienced staff) observing them at work for a specified period of time. This helps the employee by giving them an understanding of the company as they see them in daily action and application in the workplace. It also gives the employee an insight to explore potential career paths within the company. Shadowing can also allow the employee to see examples and then demonstrate/ practice the job skills as well as foster relationships and communications with other current staff members, clients/ customers and vendors.

Goal-setting sessions

Goal setting can be the most challenging but also the most important task in the workplace. Employees need to be aware of the company’s goals, targets and milestones in order to achieve them. It also uplifts the employees’ morale by developing a weekly or monthly meeting system to talk with them about company’s status and upcoming events and objectives. This will get the employees on board and give them an understanding of company’s strategic direction. To ensure that the goals are met, they should be written clearly and easy to understand. The progress must also be followed up to make sure that the employees are on track of achieving their goals.

Feedback

Two-way Feedback

Providing feedback simply tells the new employee on their quality of performance. Two-way feedback on the other hand is a more effective way where the employer also received feedback, either on their performance and/ or business. Both parties must be prepared to listen to what the other is saying, without being defensive if the comment is not good. Not only does feedback is use as to criticise on poor performance, but also as a way to motivate, direct and present the opportunity to improve. It is vital to listen to the feedback carefully, ask questions to clarify, and understand the valid points that have been discussed.

Peer Feedback

Another way for people to continuously improve is peer feedback where it would be used to give each other suggestions, opinions and ideas. From the new employee’s perspective, it can be used to see what their fellow co-workers’ evaluation of the new employee’s work performance. To compare and determine if they have conducted the probationary programme effectively, managers/ supervisors would ask for feedback from their fellow peers/ colleagues. Peer feedback can be seen as a two-way process where it gives people the opportunity to determine each other’s strengths and weaknesses and to give support when needed.

Interview/ meetings

Regularly meeting face-to-face is one of the most effective ways that people get feedback or inform on poor performance or workplace behaviour. These meetings can be done formally or informally. During these interviews/ meetings, it is important to address any concerns in these opportune moments as well as to assess the new employee’s progress. Since the probation period is 3 months long, it is recommended that these meetings must be done weekly in order to support the new employee and to check up on any of their concerns.

Appraisals

Performance gaps

During the probation period, it is important to identify, document and address the new employee’s performance gaps. By analysing these performance gaps, this will help the employer to determine whether or not the new employee will need training on particular skills/ jobs. This will help the employee to become quickly productive and to achieve their own personal work goals/ targets/ milestones. If the new employee fails to improve on their performance after their training, employers, who document their performance gaps, would use these as evidence to support a decision to terminate the employee at the end of the probation period.

Tools

These are the tools that the line managers/ supervisors and new employees would use to help them during the probation period.

Feedback Forms and Questionnaires

Managers/ supervisors would use these templates (which is available on the STAR Industries’ Intranet) to receive feedback from the new employees and other managers. These documents/ forms would be used to determine the effectiveness of the probation process. In order to continuously improve, these will be collected and assessed by the HR department to determine the effectiveness of the probation period.

Action plan

Employees would be given a probationary action plan which they are obligated to submit their personal work goals, targets and milestones. With their goals, targets and milestones made known, this will allow the managers/ supervisors help the new employees to achieve their goals, targets and milestones. The action plan would be used in conjunction with the goal-setting sessions and/or interviews/meetings.

Checklist

There are two types of checklist; one for the manager/ supervisor and the other for the new employee. The checklist will be used in conjunction with the probationary schedule. The checklist will be broken up into weekly sections, which would include all of the necessary tasks, methods, objectives and tools. The checklist is used as a reference to ensure that the probation process is on track and that it does not let the manager/ supervisor stumble through the procedure. This also reduces the new employee’s anxiety and gives them some reassurance that the company does see that their employment to the organisation is important.

Online resources

Online is a multi-medium which would possess a great number of resources. Online resources will not only gives staff access to the STAR Industries’ intranet with links to probationary templates, it also allows them gain access to electronic manuals and tools, case studies, reference videos, websites, and other related resources. Both the manager/supervisor and the new employee would use resource in their own time.

Schedule

Both the manager/supervisor and the new employee would use the probationary schedule. The schedule would be used in conjunction with the probationary checklist. This is used as a reference to ensure that the probation process is on track. The schedule would be an Excel spreadsheet with the necessary tasks, methods, objectives and tools in alignment with a 3-month period, weekly timeline. On the next page is a brief timeline of what the schedule should be based on.

Probation Timeline

Week 1

First probation meeting/ interview

  • Talk about their employment and probation to ensure they understand
  • Provide them with checklist and schedule of their probation
  • Answer any of their enquiries
  • Goal setting session
    • Establishing what their goals and targets are going to be over the next twelve months with milestones in between; action plan
  • Introduce to coach/ mentor/ trainer
  • Provide other resources (online, intranet, manuals, videos, contact list) should they need them

Week 2 – 4

Work through probation checklist 1

  • Weekly meeting/ interview to check employee’s progress
  • Goal setting sessions – check progress and achievements
  • Check progress with coach/ mentor/ trainer
  • Identify performance gaps and address them
  • Answer any of their questions and enquiries

Week 5 – 8

Work through probation checklist 2

  • Weekly meeting/ interview to check employee’s progress
  • Goal setting sessions – check progress and achievements
  • Check progress with coach/ mentor/ trainer
  • Identify performance gaps and address them
  • Answer any of their questions and enquiries

Week 9 – 11

Work through probation checklist 3

  • Weekly meeting/ interview to check employee’s progress
  • Goal setting session – check progress and achievements
  • Check progress with coach/ mentor/ trainer
  • Identify performance gaps and address them
  • Answer any of their questions and enquiries

Week 12

Work through probation checklist 4

  • Feedback + Evaluation
    • Last meeting/ interview to check employee’s progress
    • Two-way feedback
    • Peer feedback
  • Goal setting session – check progress and achievements
  • Check progress with coach/ mentor/ trainer
  • Answer any of their questions and enquiries
  • Remind them that there is support if they need it

Conclusion

As it is essential that every new employee have a probationary period, it is also necessary that the probation policies and procedures themselves should be outlined clearly. This is so that there is little to no chance of different interpretations and ineffective/ illegal methods which would then potentially lead to dire consequences. Not only does this improvement help and support the new employees, it also helps the managers and supervisor who would be conducting them. By reviewing and implementing the new probation process whilst complying with government legislations, it would allow STAR Industries to continuously improve and help them achieve their business goals.

References

  • CCH Australia Limited, Baker and McKenzie Lawyers & Macquarie University 2014, Australian Master Human Resources Guide, 10 edn, North CCH Australia, Sydney, New South Wales.

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