Performance planning, as with all other steps, is a collaborative process between the manager and employee, although there will always be some elements that are non-negotiable. Begin with the job description and identify major job expectations; expectations then can be clarified for each major area.
Under each key contribution area, it is important to identify long-term and short-term goals, along with an action plan around how they will be achieved. Goals can be weighted to identify priorities. Discuss specific details related to how progress against goals will be evaluated. Next steps include determining any obstacles that would stand in the way of these goals being achieved. If an obstacle is knowledge, skills or behavior–a plan should be developed to overcome, i.e.; training, mentoring, etc.
Using the performance planning document as a reference document, the employee and manager then should regularly monitor progress against goals, problem solve road blocks, re-assess goals, change goals as business direction changes, and re-evaluate training and resource needs. This is where the conversation is critical and often where the follow through sometimes falls down. Performance planning and ongoing performance feedback are critical because they facilitate continuous improvement and aid open communication.