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Performance management can be described as a set of interrelated strategies and activities used to improve the activities of any organization to ensure the goals of the organization are achieved (Grote, 2000). The used strategies and activities are always based on quantitative or qualitative, direct or indirect sets of data and information related to performance which are known as performance indicators (Holloway et. al, 2002). The unambiguously defined data and information also provide set of items that can be used by different stakeholders of the organization in measuring its performance (Holloway et. al, 2002). Measures and indicators relate to another concept for describing performance which is dimensions of performance, the system's characteristics that need to be measured and how may stakeholders use such measurements (Holloway et. al, 2002).
Marchington and Wilkinson (1996) counted four components for performance management. In order to manage performance, one must first know what is expected out of performance, or what the performance expectations are. This means to plan and inform all employees with what is expected from them. Managers then provide continuous formal and informal opportunities for all employee to discuss progress against objectives, review competencies and decide whether any objectives should be modified.
Four components of performance management
The performance of employees is individually reviewed and appraised to assess how objectives were achieved. This review-appraisal process may occur once or more during the year depending on the organization's policy. The outcome of the appraisal provides managers and employees with information about performance so that weakness points can be identified and ways overcome performance difficulties can be used, by implementing training programs for example. The appraisal would also reinforce good performance.
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Importance of Performance Management in Business
Successful organizations are discovering performance management as a critical business tool playing an important role in translating business strategy into results. People most of the time get caught up in daily work routine and forget about their role in the organization. Performance management empowers employees to think about and clarify their role in the organization. As organizational performance is derived from individual performance, it is important to ensure everyone understands the goals, how their work fits into the organization and how their contribution would accomplish the mission. Clear understanding of the specific job duties of employees and managers eliminates any ambiguities in the organization. Individuals then are held accountable for their responsibilities.
Another importance comes from the regular feedback performance management provides, which facilitates better communication in the organization. It helps to identify strengths and weaknesses. It also creates opportunities to exchange opinions away from the normal work pressures. Most importantly it gives a better understanding of how individual's performance is being assessed and monitored. It also builds employee confidence and adds to the employees' contribution in the organization.
Performance management can be used as a tool to motivate employees and make them feel satisfied. If there are no communications between managers and employees throughout the year, the system will not work. Performance management, by definition, is a continuous process. Performance management can help identifying ways to improve performance and providing opportunities to plan for career development. It will help to gain additional training and mentoring which can act as basis for developing future plans.
As outstanding efforts cannot go unnoticed, performance management offers a variety of awards to show gratitude for a well-implemented work. Awards include bonuses or time off. The appraisal stage in the performance management cycle gives incentive to perform well and may provide opportunities to future career advancement.
Most of universities around the world use performance management program. The performance management program of a university, employees and managers set expectations, prepare work plans and development schemes at the beginning of the academic year. Key responsibilities, expectations and the criteria and standards for performance measurement are prescribed and clarified. The performance measurements may be described and clarified in different ways for different jobs as they may have different goals. Teachers' goal is to educate students and help them advance in their academic life. Administrators' role is to assist the teachers to achieve that goal by providing all the necessary support. The basic areas of measurement for all jobs, however, can be summarized in quality, cost and timeliness (Mani, 2002). Supervisors follow informal feedback based on the individual needs of the employees throughout the academic year. They provide all the necessary support for their subordinates. This may include updated guidelines or solving day-to-day problems.
The performance of all employees is reviewed once or twice a year. This review involves the staff member completing a self assessment of achievements relating to the agreed key objectives for the previous year prior to meeting with their supervisor. The supervisor also provides a written assessment of the staff member's achievements. Some universities allow students to be part of appraising the performance of the teachers or even other university facilities (UTAS, 2009). Employees then receive feedback for maintaining or improving productivity.
In general, performance management is about increasing performance. Successful use of performance management system will enable the organization to improve its work, increase its employees' involvement and productivity and make the product or service it provides deserves the money paid for it.
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Promotional Strategies and Their Types
Promotional strategies play an important role in marketing. I will discuss in this part the importance of promotional strategies and I will explain types of promotional strategies. I will then talk about the promotional strategies adopted by a new cell phone company penetrating the local market and how the company plans to increase its sales and market shares.
Types of Promotional Strategies
A promotional strategy means choosing a target market and using the best formula or promotional mix to influence it (Business Directory,2010). The importance of promotional strategies is inherent in the fact that itâ€™s proper planning and implementation will yield success for the business. All marketing strategies are meant to help the business achieve its goals. Any promotional strategy must have aims (Blythe, 2008). A promotional strategy may aim to persuade consumers that the promoted product will meet their needs. If the promoted product is new and introduced for the first time, achieving this aim could be hard. Brand awareness aims to make consumer familiar with the brand and its characteristics by using a well-chosen and distinguished brand name. As a result of the brand awareness, marketers build a favorable brand attitude in customers mind telling them being familiar with the brand is not enough. When consumers are persuaded with that, they develop a brand purchase intention, or an acceptance to purchase the product. They start looking for the product. Purchase facilitation ensures the product is available and guide consumers where to go and get it (Blythe, 2008).
Marketers then need to decide what distribution channels to be followed. They can either choose push strategies, pull strategies or a combination of both (Blythe, 2008).
The push strategies promote the product to the next level down the distribution chain (Blythe, 2008). In this case, the manufacturer will only sell to the wholesaler whom in its turn will sell to the retailer and the retailer will sell to consumers.
Push strategies' sales and advertisement targets the next member in the distributional channel. This strategy could be cheap and straightforward but it cannot be described as consumer oriented (Blythe, 2008).
The pull strategies give more attention for final consumer and when consumers increase their demands, they will pull the product through the distribution chain (Blythe, 2008). Pull strategies require properly managed distribution chains where chain members are cooperating and more emphasis can be directed towards the final consumer (Blythe, 2008). A combination of elements
from both strategies is usually used in any promotional strategy. Chain members and consumers may both have links to the manufacturer through advertising or other means. (Blythe, 2008).
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Promotional Strategies for Cell Phone Company
The market for cell phones has expanded considerably in the last few years and cell phones have become a necessity rather than a luxury. The target market ranges from teenagers who like to change their phones with the change of fashion trends to people in corporate world who want to stay connected with their business all the time.
A combination of push and pull strategies would be the best adoption to set the promotional strategies of the cell phones company. Push strategies elements would make the process costs less, since they are cheap, and moves faster, since they are straightforward. The new company will not need to get familiar with all ways used for marketing nation-wide. Instead, the company will concentrate on marketing to the wholesalers which, in their turn will market to the following chain member (Blythe, 2008). Since the company is new, promotional channels would be not yet coordinated. This is another reason for using push strategies elements. On the other hand, the company wants to have direct contact with the consumers. Pull strategies, such as heavy advertising, will create a type of product awareness and demand on the product by consumers. They will start searching for it and that will generate sales (Blythe, 2008).
The promotional campaign will start with setting objectives. Objectives can be classified into financial, philosophical and qualitative objectives. It is crucial to identify potential market share the company would have, the profit it will make and the return on its investments. It is as important to deliver a mission statement expressing its core values. Ethics and philosophy of the organization have to be good and sound (Business balls, 2009). Finally, it should persuade consumers to approach the company by telling them about the level of service and innovations the company will bring to the market (Blythe, 2008). This would be followed by marketing audit, an analysis for the external marketing environment and the company's internal marketing goals, operations and efficiency (Blythe, 2008). Then comes the tactical planning, which is how the company will penetrate the market in order to achieve its objectives. There is an unlimited number of tactical planning based on the creativity of the marketing staff (Blythe, 2008).
In order to ensure successful marketing strategy and planning, frequent examination for outcomes and methods must be carried out (Blythe, 2008). Part of this examination could be fed back from consumers by asking them about the performance of the company and the products and services it offers. Feedback will help the company to remain on track and improve its performance (Blythe, 2008).
The Promotional Mix
There are different elements that form the promotional mix. The most basic one is advertising which means using media to send out a non personal message. The next is fostering public relations which include gaining and maintaining a positive public image. Then there is a method for sales promotion which is commonly used to boost short tem sales by making use of special coupons. Personal selling is also a way to promote sales. A feature which comes in particularly handy in this age of IT is that of networking (Blythe, 2008). Establishing a string network within the industry and also with the customers is a known and proven way to positively attract clients. After establishing relations and networking, another very important aspect of promotional strategy is to follow-up with the customers. Companies also use direct mail, telemarketing and promotional products as effective promotional strategies. These prompt the customers to try out the product once. Direct mails help companies target their desired segment with a personalized touch and this is known to be an efficient strategy.
Promotional strategies and promotional mix are strong tools for marketing new or existing products if they are properly employed. Despite the fact that they may vary from one business to another, they can mainly be classified to a limited mainstreams. It is the responsibility of marketing staff in the company to get familiar with the strategies and tools and employ them effectively to give their company a competitive advantage through marketing.