New Guidance from ACAS on Performance Management

ACAS have recently issued fresh guidance on performance management, following research undertaken by NatCen Social Research on its behalf. The research found that:

  • Only 1 in 4 employers adapt performance management systems for staff with special needs and disabilities and conditions such as dyslexia and autism
  • Only one in ten employers used performance management systems for planning and monitoring training and development
  • One in ten employers felt their performance management system was a source of demotivation for staff

The Guidance will be useful reading for employers and in particular, for HR professionals and line managers. It sets out what performance management is, why it is important and provides advice on how to get the process right. It focuses on the need for employers to adapt their processes to the needs of their business and sets out the sort of considerations that should be taken into account when putting performance management systems in place. The guidance also stresses the importance of keeping systems under review in order to keep them up to date and to monitor their success.

ACAS has been keen to stress that performance management systems should not be seen only as a tool to identify poor performance, which is a principle that runs through the guidance. ACAS’s head of diversity, Julie Dannis, has been quoted as saying: “A good system can help an organisation to motivate their staff, recognise the work of their employees and identify development opportunities.”

Tips set out in the guidance on how to get performance management right include, to:

  • Identify clear aims
  • Think about the organisation and what arrangements will work best depending on its needs
  • Be transparent with staff about how the system works
  • Be clear with staff about how performance will be measured
  • Be consistent in terms of approach and application
  • Ensure fairness by: avoiding surprises (e.g. only mentioning a problem at the end of year review); avoiding favouritism and avoiding discrimination
  • Engage and consult with staff as required
  • Get senior management on board with the arrangements
  • Consider the skills and resources of management (e.g. training needs and capacity issues)

The full guidance can be accessed at

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