MyPerformance best practices

Last updated: March 23, 2022

MyPerformance best practices help BC Public Service employees and supervisors engage in meaningful conversations about their goals, performance and development.

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Goal setting

We set goals to help us achieve greater results in both our personal and professional lives.

When we set goals that are meaningful and aligned with organizational priorities, we increase our:

  • Level of engagement
  • Work performance
  • Personal satisfaction

Employees and supervisors should collaborate and communicate openly on what the goals should be and how they can be achieved.

The more meaningful the goals are, the more motivating they will be.

To make goals more meaningful, employees can modify them to better meet their:

  • Interests
  • Career aspirations
  • Preferences for how they work

 

The following method will help goals be well-defined, concrete and important to the employee and the organization.

Structure a goal into 3 sections, or sentences, and a measure:

  • What
  • Why
  • How
  • Measure

Also include any competencies or values that the employee and supervisor expect will be important to completing the work.

What

  • The concise, opening statement for the goal
  • This should be specific so that both the supervisor and employee know exactly what the goal is

Why

  • Defines why this goal is important to the employee and the organization
  • This helps ensure the goal focuses on work that matters and is framed to help the employee make a personal connection with the purpose

How

  • The plan or steps the employee will take to achieve the goal
  • What exactly will the employee be doing

Measure

  • Defines what success will look like
  • The measure helps the employee objectively determine if the goal has been achieved and achieved well

Competencies/values

  • What skills and behaviours will be most important in this work
  • This should not be an exhaustive list

The what and how help with the S-M-A-R-T framework:

  • S = specific
  • M = measurable
  • A = achievable
  • R = relevant
  • T = time-bound

The why helps tap into the H-A-R-D framework:

  • H = heartfelt
  • A = animated
  • R = required
  • D = difficult

For more details on these frameworks, review the MyPerformance Guide to Goal Setting (PDF, 1.4MB).

Example 1

My goal is to provide exceptional client service (what) to increase citizen satisfaction and trust in government (why).

I will do this by providing clients, co-workers and service providers with information that is consistent, accurate and on time (how).

Measures of success:

  • Respond to all requests from client services and service providers within the same day
  • Receive an average service satisfaction score of at least 75 percent

Demonstrated values:

  • Service
  • Teamwork

Demonstrated competencies:

  • Listening, understanding and responding
  • Service orientation
  • Problem solving/judgement

Example 2

My goal is to shift to a coaching leadership style (what), so that I can bring out the best in my team (why).

I will do this by completing the Supervising in the BC Public Service (SBCPS) program, signing up for coaching and having ongoing conversations with my team members about their work (how).

Measures of success:

  • Obtain certificate for course completion by X date
  • Receive a minimum of 75 percent in 360-degree feedback scores related to coaching, as well as positive related comments
  • Team members achieve 80 percent of their goals

Demonstrated values:

  • Courage
  • Passion

Demonstrated competencies:

  • Developing others
  • Empowerment

 

 


Preparing for MyPerformance conversations

All employees and supervisors should engage in meaningful conversations about their goals, performance and development.

Good conversations, whether initiated by the supervisor or the employee, require thoughtful preparation.

Focus on what you really want from the conversation for both yourself and the other person.

Consider the outcome you hope to achieve. This will help you plan how to get there.

Here are questions to help you reflect:

  • What is my focus for this conversation (inquiring, coaching, advising, requesting, directing, dealing with a specific situation or issue, etc.)?
  • What impact do I want to have?
  • How will my body language mirror my intention?
  • What could be impacting how I view the situation?
  • What have I already said or done about the subject of this conversation?
  • Have I contributed to this situation in some way?
  • How can we get the best possible outcome?

When you need to have a conversation with someone, it makes a big difference if you briefly explain what you would like to talk about ahead of time.

This will have an even greater impact if you expect the conversation will need more time or effort.

Having the knowledge up front allows everyone the opportunity to:

  • Better prepare for the topic
  • Understand their role
  • Take part in the conversation

Preparing yourself also includes thinking about which communication style is most appropriate.

The person, situation and intention of the conversation will influence this decision.

Generally, there are 3 types of feedback and some conversations may include all 3.

  • Evaluative: How are you doing? Are you meeting expectations?
  • Coaching: What could you improve on? How could you do it better?
  • Appreciative: What are you doing well? What could you celebrate?

Asking effective questions is essential to having good performance conversations.

When selecting questions, consider:

  • What you want to learn
  • Appropriate types of questions to gain this information
  • How might the other person react to this question

It can also be useful to share the questions with the other person ahead of time so they too can prepare.

Here are a few tips on the use of questions:

  • Be curious and ask questions that encourage others to reflect on their work behaviour
  • Be open to all possible answers. Sometimes people ask questions but are willing to accept only a specific answer
  • Questions that start with 'why' tend to make people feel defensive
    • Replace 'why' questions with phrasing less likely to cause that reaction
    • For example, “What can I do, as your supervisor, to support you?” or “What can or will you do?”
  • Do not use questions to say things indirectly
    • For example, “Don’t you think you should be more diligent in completing your work?” isn’t really a legitimate question. It’s a rhetorical question, or your opinion dressed up as a question. They will hear, “I want you to be more diligent in completing your work.”
  • Questions used to mask statements, opinions or requests can create mistrust
  • Avoid questions where you are asking 2 questions at once
    • These questions are confusing and tend to result in low-quality responses
    • Instead, separate the issues into 2 different questions

For more help for preparing for conversations and suggestions for questions, review:

The following questions are relevant for all employees and touch on various aspects of performance.

They can be applied to specific events or to a larger period of time.

Some, or all these questions can be used to help employees prepare for specific or general conversations about performance:

  • What areas do you feel you have excelled at, or projects you’ve been involved in that have been great successes?
  • What skills, competencies and values have led to your greatest results?
  • Are there areas you feel you could improve? What would help you improve?
  • What things did you feel got in the way that will be important to address next year?
  • Overall, how do you feel your performance has been over the past year?
  • Which rating do you think best describes your performance?
  • What opportunities are you looking for next year?
  • How is your supervisor doing? What changes could be made to better support you?

Review MyPerformance Coaching Questions (PDF, 635KB) for more examples of powerful questions.

Meaningful conversations involve a mutual exchange of questions, sharing and listening from both sides.

It can be tempting to fill silence.

Listening well:

  • Sends the message that this person, their opinions, perspective and their performance are important to you
  • Creates an environment where the other person is more likely to listen to you
  • Is essential for creating rapport, trust and understanding
  • Is not passive. Active listening is a skill to practice and strengthen

Active listening involves:

  • Showing that you're paying attention. Be aware of your body language and make sure to turn off your phone and notifications
  • Accepting that the other person has a right to their perspectives and feelings
  • Not interrupting
  • Using your own words to reflect back what you heard
  • Asking questions to clarify what you heard

Levels of engagement, motivation and results increase when supervisors and employees share trusted feedback.

All employees, regardless of their role, can ask for feedback, including supervisors of their staff members. Employees and their supervisors should have the same aim, to encourage the other person to share as much as possible from their point of view.

When receiving feedback:

  • Stay open and curious, listen and let the other person talk until they finish
  • Resist the temptation to interject your opinion about their statements
  • You might be surprised by hearing the thoughts or opinions on any issues. It's always useful to hear and consider another perspective

When providing feedback, the following points help make feedback easier to accept and understand, and more useful.

The feedback should:

  • Be timely
  • Be specific and supported by clear examples
  • Be focused on observable behaviours, not judgments, generalizations or words that describe a whole person
  • Include an impact statement
    • What was the benefit or consequence of the action?
    • Why was it important?
  • Include getting their perspective
    • Ask questions and don’t make assumptions about a person’s intentions
    • For example, “How do you think the meeting went?”
  • Be focused on future improvements, not past mistakes
    • For example, ask "How can we approach this situation next time?"

Example

Consider which of the following feedback is more effective:

A) “Good job, Aman.”

or

B) “Aman, that new procedure you developed for handling priority cases has really improved our customer satisfaction. Thanks for coming up with it.”

Option B provides more useful feedback to Aman. Aman knows exactly what they did that was helpful, and why.

To make sure the conversation ends on the right tone and that the employee and supervisor can move forward:

Show understanding

  • We all have a need to be seen, appreciated and understood
  • When we demonstrate that we understand the other person, we show them respect and encourage openness

Acknowledge the other person

  • Even though we may not always agree, each person has a right to have their point of view, ideas, experiences and feelings acknowledged
  • Acknowledge where someone is coming from and the effort they have put in first, then give your suggestions

Recognize the other person

  • People who feel recognized and appreciated are more productive and innovative
  • Recognition is an effective form of communication. It reinforces and rewards the most important outcomes people create
  • Make sure that you recognize others and their contributions on a regular basis, not just at the end of a performance conversation

Ask for feedback

  • Make it a habit to ask for feedback at the end of the conversation
  • What could you have done differently? How can you have better conversations?

Make agreements

  • Before you finish your conversation, make sure you both understand and agree on standards, expectations and timelines
  • As much as possible, try to come to a mutual agreement. There may be situations however, when a supervisor needs to give specific directions

Making sure you are both clear at the end is essential to moving forward.

  • Share a quick summary of the key points
  • Take turns sharing your understanding of what’s going to happen next
  • You both have a responsibility to follow through on the commitments that you made

 



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