Performance Management as a New Manager: Who to Involve (Part II)

This is part 2 of 6 in a series that gives guidance on how to manage employee performance for new product design managers — or those facing performance management situations for the first time.

← Read the previous article: “Performance Management as a New Manager: An Overview (Part I)

When you’re managing a team member’s performance, who should you involve to make sure both you and your team member have the right support? Here’s what you should and shouldn’t do.

Don’t: Talk to anyone and everyone

It’s really easy to want to talk to people about your under-performing team member. It may even be under the guise of getting support or learning more. But socializing someone’s personal performance details can be detrimental to the team member getting back on track; performance management not kept under wraps is fodder for gossip. It deserves confidentiality and respect.

Do: Keep it to people who play a role

Determine who your key players are. Try using a DACI framework, which might look like the following:

  • Driver: You
  • Approver: Your manager and/or your Human Resources Business Partner (HRBP)
  • Contributors: The team member not meeting expectations, feedback givers, advisors
  • Informed: Managers of team member’s peers

You’ll also want to determine how and what you’ll communicate with these people. You can use the DACI framework to shape this as well.

Driver

As the driver, you’ll be responsible for running the process, communicating with all other parties, and ensuring action is completed. In a performance management process, you’ll be responsible for intaking and soliciting information from your team member and the people they work with, shaping a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP), delivering the plan and corresponding feedback, working directly with the team member on the plan, determining results, and recommending final actions.

Approver

The approver(s) will be responsible for making big decisions. In a performance management scenario, this may be specifically putting your team member on a PIP, giving a formal performance rating below expectations, or determining if termination is the final action. Because performance implications can be serious — and often involve legalities — it’s critical to bring in your manager and an HRBP early so they can approve and sponsor key steps and decisions.

You’ll want to schedule regular check ins with your approver(s) to monitor the situation.

Contributor

The contributors will bring knowledge and context to the process. What’s important here is that you bring people in contextually and with appropriate confidentiality.

For example, if a team member is chronically failing to get feedback, you may need to learn more from a peer of your team member. You’ll also need to approach them with confidentiality in mind, meaning you won’t alert them of the context — that your team member has performance flags — instead, you’ll just be collecting feedback and information.

Within contributors, you should also consider people who will help you get the support you need. Be specific here, and decide up front who you will go to for advice: your HRBP, manager, coach, or trusted peer or mentor. This will not only make sure you have proper guidance and support, but it will also save you time from needing to bring your advisors up to speed as the situation progresses. While confidentiality is also required here, the context will be more open; you will likely share in depth.

You’ll work with contributors on an as-needed basis.

Informed

The informed are non-contributors who need to be kept in-the-know. The key word is need; think about those who have a role to play. Here, this may simply be the managers of your team member’s peers who might be receiving feedback about your team member.

You’ll share updates with the informed as you progress throughout the situation. In some cases, there may not need to be informed parties.

By outlining who’s involved, you’ll set yourself up to properly and safely assess the performance situation.

→ Read the next article: “Performance Management as a New Manager: How to Assess (Part III)

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Jasmine Friedl

Jasmine Friedl

Senior Design Director at Dropbox, Dabbler in Writing, Champagne Enthusiast