Performance management is an on-going process involving a series of activities to help employees succeed and attain organizational goals. It should not be relegated to a once-a-year annual review process. When done well, performance management is a conversation between the employee and their supervisor/manager that includes discussions about employee goals, expectations, hopes and visions, as well as clear and thoughtful feedback from the supervisor about strengths, areas of growth and opportunity.
This section outlines some of the best practices related to supporting and growing your senior leader/Executive Director. It provides you with clear guidelines and forms to use when having performance management discussions. By using these tools, it is hoped you will have meaningful and thoughtful staff engagement that fosters and encourages organizational success.
If you have additional questions or concerns, please consult your Engagement Partner.
ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
- Provide regular and thoughtful feedback to the senior leader/Executive Director.
- Schedule a minimum of one (1) formal performance review per year.
- Conduct a 360-degree evaluation soliciting and incorporating feedback from the organization’s staff, external stakeholders (funders, key collaborators, etc.) and board members at least once every two (2) years.
- Solicit and provide feedback in writing on the senior leader/Executive Director’s work, identifying areas where they have succeeded and/or challenged themselves, and areas where they need to continue to learn and grow. Include a copy of the written report in their personnel file.
- If applicable, determine the employee’s salary progression adjustment for the coming year.
- Guide the conversation and allow the employee a chance to share and evaluate their past year’s performance.
- Reflection their performance over the past year, noting areas of success and growth.
- Each year, identify and articulate personal leadership goals as well as goals for the organization.
PLANNING & SETTING EXPECTATIONS
- Ensure the board completes a regular strategic planning process with an up-to-date strategic plan to guide and inform the work of the senior leader or Executive Director.
- Ensure the senior leader/Executive Director has an operational plan to execute on the strategic initiatives of the organization, as well as a performance plan with clearly defined performance and development goals.
- Review the strategic plan regularly with the board and senior leader/Executive Director to ensure mutual understanding of the mission, vision and key priorities.
- Evaluate the senior leader/Executive Director’s success on operationalizing and actualizing the organization’s strategic priorities.
DEVELOPMENT, SUPPORT & ENGAGEMENT
- Create two-way performance accountability through ongoing conversations between the senior leader/Executive Director and the board.
- The board should schedule regular check-ins to provide real-time feedback and coaching.
- Do not wait for a scheduled check-in to bring up an issue. Provide regular feedback to the employee to keep them engaged and feeling valued.
- Identify where the senior leader/Executive Director requires additional support.
- Maintain confidential and objective documentation of the issues and actions taken.
- Having a third [neutral] party attend performance review meetings to take notes, be a second set of ears, and ensure the conversation is productive and safe for all parties.
- If performance issues seem to be escalating, review information in the Discipline & Termination section.
Standard probationary periods for senior leaders/Executive Directors range from three (3) months to one (1) year. The probation period allows time to mutually determine the suitability and/or fit with the organization.
- Schedule a minimum of one (1) performance review before the end of the probationary period.
- Give the senior leader/Executive Director clear feedback using examples to demonstrate where they have capacity and strength, and where they need to grow and learn.
- Collectively define achievable goals for the probationary period to demonstrate capacity in the role and gain exposure to all aspects of the position.
- Use the ED Performance Review - Self-Assessment form and ED Performance Review - Board Survey to collect and document feedback.
- Use the probationary review meetings as an opportunity to learn more about how the senior leader/Executive Director is enjoying the job and what additional supports they need, or questions they may have.
- Send the employee the ED Performance Review - Self-Assessment form to complete in advance (and return) before the meeting. Similarly, ensure all Board members complete the ED Performance Review - Board Survey before meeting with the ED.
- Compare the ED’s self-assessment and the Board’s assessment to identify where your thinking is aligned and mis-aligned in advance of the meeting. This will help inform the main points of discussion you wish to focus on in the meeting.
- Discuss different strategies and/or approaches they can take to build capacity, and/or better work strategies to address where they may not be meeting expectations.
- Capture the discussion and any goals or strategies discussed in the ED Performance Review - Board Survey and send an anonymized report summarizing the survey results to the employee for their records and review.
- Establishing at least 2 to 3 performance goals for new senior leaders/Executive Directors during their probation period.
ANNUAL PERFORMANCE REVIEWS
- Conduct an annual performance review with the senior leader/Executive Director.
- Determine who from the board will lead the performance review process. This duty can be delegated to a committee of the board (i.e., HR Committee) or a board member.
- Develop a Terms of Reference for the standing or ad hoc board committee that is responsible for conducting the evaluation of the senior leader/Executive Director.
- See the HR Committee Terms of Reference.
- On an annual or bi-annual basis, conduct a 360-degree evaluation that gathers feedback from the senior leader/Executive Director, staff members, board members and external stakeholders.
- Using the annual performance review process to inform salary increases.
- See the Compensation section.
- Provide learning opportunities that are essential for the growth and development of employees.
- If organization-wide professional development opportunities are not feasible, the employer may choose to give each employee a yearly stipend to spend on training and certification programs.
- The employer must plan ahead for potential vacancies in key positions. To identify which positions should be the highest priority, consider the following
- Risk of the vacancy occurring.
- Organizational and/or team impact of the vacancy.
- Current short and long-term plan to address each position if a vacancy were to occur.
Contacting your Engagement Partner for additional support.