Roberta Chinsky Matuson
Creating Exceptional Workplaces and Extraordinary Results
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A Dozen Performance Management Best Practices

We are so excited to present author and HR expert Sharon Armstrong's dozen performance management best practices with you. Sharon has generously agreed to share her timeless tips for performance maagement with our community. Be sure to check out Sharon's latest book, The Essential Performance Review Handbook

Sharon Armstrong's current best practices of high performance businesses:

1.     Think of Performance Management as an entire system, starting in interviews with potential employees and continuing through orientation, training, coaching and counseling, and recognizing peak performance.

2.     Stop communicating about PM as if it is an annual event.  The only annual part of it is salary action and/or filing forms.  Think of it as an on-going workplace conversation.

3.     Train managers and employees on giving and receiving positive and negative feedback on an ongoing basis.

4.     Hold managers accountable for having ongoing conversations around work and goals.

5.     Actively seek to align individual goals with organization goals.

6.     Encourage employee participation and ownership in the process.  Create an environment where together the manager and employee can question, challenge and discuss goals and objectives to gain clarity.

7.     Use their performance management system to link with the organization’s values; reinforce the importance of the organization’s core competencies.

8.     Link the performance management system with retention, development, and succession planning initiatives.

9.     Get support at the senior-level.

10.  Openly communicate to all employees how your compensation system works.  If merit pools average 2 to 3% annually let everyone know this. Manage expectations around annual increases to control rumor mill and misinformation.

11.  Where possible, have a second-level review of performance evaluations (by HR or second-tier management).

12.  Understand the legal pitfalls associated with performance management, such as penalizing employees for taking legally protected leave (e.g., FMLA leave), and allowing unlawful bias to infect performance evaluations.


Sharon Armstrong has over 20 years of experience as a Human Resources consultant, trainer and career counselor.  Since launching her own consulting business in 1998, Sharon Armstrong and Associates, she has consulted with many large corporations and small businesses.  She has facilitated training, completed HR projects and provided career transition services for a wide variety of clients in the profit and non-profit sectors.

Sharon received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Southern Maine and her Masters Degree in Counseling from George Washington University.  She is a certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR). 

Sharon is the co-author of a humor book, published by Random House.  Heeling the Canine Within: The Dog’s Self-Help Companion was published in 1998.  Her first business book, Stress-Free Performance Appraisals – Turn Your Most Painful Management Duty into a Powerful Motivational Tool was published by Career Press in July 2003. Her second business book, The Essential HR Handbook – A Quick and Handy Guide for Any Manager or HR Professional was published in Summer 2008.  The Essential Performance Review Handbook, her last book, was published in May 2010. Sharon can be contacted at



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