7 Tips to Creating Great Performance Reviews in DOTS LMS

Make performance reviews an effective contributor to your organisation’s health.  You can utilise features within the DOTS LMS to help you create and deliver performance reviews without the dread and and trepidation so often part of this business process.


  • Don’t accept a 6 or 12 month review cycle as default.  You can set the system for shorter periods for review meetings that may include some ‘course correction’, praise and recognition and re-focusing on new objectives.
  • Create scales for your key result areas [objectives] that are clear and descriptive.  You can create as many points in your scale and add as much text as you need to make the scale very descriptive.  The more accurate your scale the less likely there will be ambiguity and misunderstandings during the review process.
  • The same goes for your competency scales.  There may be a number of competency frameworks operating in your organisation so make the scales as extensive and descriptive to meet the needs of your workforce.
  • Encourage the use of the Development Planning module for post-review action plans.  You can use both pre-set plans and enable custom plans for people with specific needs or ambitions.  One of the biggest complaints about performance appraisals is the lack of follow up actions.
  • Show managers how to enter interim notes into to review system.  These notes ensure information, ideas and observations are collected in one place and available for the review meetings.  Interim notes are a great way to ensure your people receive the recognition they deserve.
  • Explore the use of the 360 Profiling module.  Many clients are using the 360 module for their senior leadership and developing a range of assessment types.  You can also use the 360 profile as a self-assessment tool that is a great re-enforcer for development and learning plans.
  • You can assist managers by enabling other managers to ‘review the reviews.’  This is very effective as a coaching tool to help mangers improve their delivery of performance appraisals.


Performance reviews are often met with trepidation by both employees and their managers.  This contributes to both a reluctance to conduct them and if they are conducted the quality of the experience and the follow up often destroys any good that could flow from this activity.  We recommend that managers meet regularly with their team members and build performance coaching ‘all the time.’  When it comes to review time there will be less friction to having the conversations necessary to help your team to performance improvement.


If you would like some help setting up performance reviews in DOTS LMS, other systems or even on paper, we can help you out.  For an initial discussion please get in touch.

Values Need More Than Posters [8 Keys to an effective values framework]

Values can be effective in sustaining a great organisational culture as well as building a new one.

Values have had their proponents and detractors and I will admit to being a bit cynical about the use of values in an organisation to drive a cultural change.  I have changed my stance a bit based on some of these components to a values framework.

1.  A reasonably well known company I am familiar with adopted a very democratic method to choosing a new set of values for the business.  There were committees, surveys, arguments, pilots and all sorts other change elements in a process that took 3 years.  No exaggeration.  Some or most of your values should be reasonably obvious based on how you ‘roll’ now.  Your entire culture and its norms could not possibly be all bad.

2.  Values need to be part of the language of the organisation.  The best models are the leadership.  The modelling must be behavioural.  You do not need posters on the wall with inspirational images and the values.  In my experience this actually cheapens the meaning and power of the values.  I think it may have something to do with those inspirational posters that spawned in offices all over the world in the 80’s and 90’s.

3.  Decision making needs to be based on the values.  When decisions are made they will be scrutinised by people for alignment with the values.  When leaders present and discuss decisions they must frame them in the values.

4.  The values must be simple and easy to understand for every member of the workforce.  The language and words need to be economical and clear just like good journalism.  If you have a diverse work force that includes persons with different primary languages this is even more important.

5.  Repeat the values all the time in communications.  It is well known that communications are heard by a few, understood by fewer and adopted by virtually none.  The way that managers and leaders lift the odds is by constantly repeating the values.  It will seem weird but it works.  Repetition of message.

6.  Build your values into team meetings, social gatherings and all other events where people are assembling in teams and groups.  You can do this by communicating the purpose of these events as well as including them in the agenda.

7.  Publicly recognise behaviour and performance that is aligned with and demonstrates the values of the organisation.  You may choose to create an award that recognises people who demonstrate the values and make this part of your organisations tradition.

8.  Performance appraisals must include the values and they should be discussed and ranked by the employee, the manager and an agreed ranking by both.  You can build a great culture more quickly when values are included in performance appraisals and recognition processes.  When you are looking at succession or termination decisions the values need to play a key if not primary role in the decisions.

9 Tips for Effective Performance Management

9 Tips for Improving Performance Management


1.  Performance management is a process and not an event.  Include performance management in one-to-one meetings between managers and employees throughout the year.  This can include discussions on barriers to execution, lack of clarity on projects/tasks, resource availability, learning opportunities among many others.


2.  Create easy to use and easy to understand performance appraisal forms whether they are online or paper based.  I have seen some that include scoring formulas and ranking scales that are way too complicated.


3.  Ensure there is ‘line of sight’ between an individual’s goals and the organisation’s strategy.


4.  Offer coaching and interpersonal communication skills development to managers who may need this training to conduct better performance appraisals and strengthen interpersonal relationships.


5.  Include competencies in the appraisal as one means of structuring development plans.


6.  There must be follow up actions from the performance appraisals.  Too often appraisals are filed away never to be seen again.


7.  Ensure the whole performance management processes are on the radar of the management team.  Performance management should be a regular topic in meeting agendas dealing with organisational health, succession planning, tactical and strategic decision making.


8.  Perform some quality control by undertaking interviews with selected employees to gain feedback on how satisfied they are with the performance management process.   Look for some common feedback and ask some good questions to learn how the process can be improved.


9.  Your performance appraisal process should include at least one face-to-face meeting with the manager and employee present.  At the very least this could be an online meeting with cameras turned on.  Believe it or not, I have worked with one company that had a performance appraisal process that only included inputs from the manager and employee entered separately.


Performance management has had a bad reputation for too long based on lousy design, planning and execution.  I think the term ‘performance management’ is pretty bad as well but at this point it is a commonly understood term.   When done well, performance management can be a positive contributor to organisational health and employee engagement.  If you are interested in more information and ideas on how to make your performance management processes more effective then you can get in touch and we will help you out. performance management processes more effective then you can get in touch and we will help you out.


Align Performance With Organisational Goals

The process outlined here represents a project undertaken by a client to improve its management of development and performance.  There are limited resources available outside the budget allocated to a learning and performance software platform and existing team members in human resources and learning & development.   The organisation has approximately 2,500 employees.


The goals for this project were identified and quantified prior to being presented to the executive leadership team.  Most of these goals had been on the radar for some time and were worked on but never completed as part of a formal project plan.




  • establish a centralised information source for performance and competency management.
  • consolidate and standardise job titles across the organisation and map to remuneration packages.
  • standardise competency frameworks mapped to job titles and business units.
  • enable employees and managers to capture ideas and observations between reviews.
  • provide the tools for employees to conduct self and 360 assessments.



This list of goals is ambitious.  As you can see they are all integrated and interdependent.  The core of the whole process outside of the software implementation has been the standardisation of competency frameworks.  These competency frameworks are the hub for the performance management and job title consolidation.


The software solution comprises a learning management system that includes competency management, job titles, assessment tools and performance management.  The LMS has been integrated with the payroll system and the HRIS.  The HRIS has become the single point of truth for management reporting upstream.  The LMS is the point of truth used by the learning and development team.


The change management program included a pilot launch of the software initially to a group of approximately 200 users.  The pilot was run in parallel with the larger implementation of the job title consolidation, performance assessments and competency frameworks.   The pilot program was 6 months and the system went live just after six months from commencement.


These are some of the benefits that were identified and measured one year after ‘go-live.’

  • surveys indicate employees are more certain of their goals and how they align with the organisation’s big picture strategy.
  • the HR and L&D teams are able to generate meaningful reports to assist senior leadership in planning.
  • performance assessment meetings are occurring and followed up.
  • productivity has been increased with automation of processes and notifications.

If you would like to learn more about this project and the processes that were used to achieve successful outcomes, please get in touch using the form on this website or contact our office directly.

3 Factors to Develop a Performance Culture

In our business we have the pleasure of working with some very successful organisations and each has a culture that oozes high performance when you walk in their offices.  You can see clues in the way people interact; looking at each other in the eyes, greeting people with their names, and well organised work spaces with personal touches.  I am sure there are many factors that contribute to a performance culture but here are three factors that have been mentioned most often in my conversations.

1.  Follow up and follow through.  Sounds simple enough but one of the biggest killers of a performance culture is lack of follow up with other people.  When leaders do not follow up it show a lack of care.  As a leader people know you are busy but that does not forgive your lack of follow up.  The lack of follow through is just as damaging.   When a leader commits to something and it gets dropped or fades away the damage is serious. You lose trust when you do not follow through.  Both lack of follow up and follow through are like a disease, when leaders exhibit these behaviours it creeps into an entire culture.  Performance appraisals are one critical area that must never compromised by lack of follow up and follow through.

2. Person to person engagement.  Managers need to meet with their teams as individuals and groups regularly.  It is priority one and it needs to be scheduled and committed to.  If a leader consistently cancels these meetings it sends the signal, ‘you are not important.’  A performance culture has a meeting rhythm and this flows to information sharing, communication, collaboration and often innovation.  Some managers and leaders do not really know how to run effective meetings and these people need some coaching.  In one client the change identified as being the biggest contributor to their culture is daily team meetings with a set agenda.

3. Learning is readily available and encouraged.  Learning can be in many forms and it need not be expensive.  For example, one client has brown bag learning sessions that are facilitated by fellow employees.  Online learning is great and you can use your own content as well as find online courseware that can be delivered from your own LMS or via an online portal.  Blended learning in a manager to employee coaching framework is one program that one of our clients has used to increase productivity and align activity with strategy more effectively. This program involves short online learning content, forms for applying learning and fortnightly coaching sessions with a direct or other manager.

These 3 factors were the top three mentioned in discussions with some of our clients.  I am interested in learning about others that have been applied to create and sustain a performance culture.