Case Study: Learn to enhance your skills and techniques when managing staff

Leadership is the most important function of management – it helps to maximise efficiency which can help to achieve the overall vision and goals of the business.


Last month I delivered a virtual one-day management training course on how to enhance skills and techniques when managing staff. This course was followed a month later by a further one day course in which the managers applied all the skills recently learnt to practical use. 


The request came following the outcome of the annual staff survey. In the survey staff feedback was that they felt the annual appraisals were not being carried out effectively and were ‘worthless’. It was a ‘tick box exercise’. 


We, therefore, delivered a one-day management training course, which enhanced the managers’ skills and techniques when carrying out annual appraisals with the staff. The skills and techniques we covered were: 

Plan, plan, plan

See the annual performance review as a process that lasts all year long, culminating in that one meeting. This is why you should give it a lot of thought and consideration long before the actual meeting so that by the time it comes around, you are well prepared to execute it well.

Planning ahead of time enables you to give more detailed and personalised feedback and when the performance review comes around, there will be no surprises for you or your employees – and that’s exactly what you should be aiming for. 

Set goals and expectations

At the start of the year, hold a meeting with your reportees to share annual objectives and expectations for the team. Next, sit down with each team member to set their personal performance goals. This not only makes sure that everyone knows exactly what is expected of them throughout the year, but it also gives both of you a clear map to follow each time you meet regularly to discuss performance over the coming months.

While goals should be specific to each person’s role, they should also be clearly aligned with the organisational goals so that employees can see and understand how their performance affects the performance of their team and the organisation as a whole. 

Use SMART when establishing goals

SMART stands for: 

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

SMART ensures your goals are both actionable, realistic, and able to be measured, all of which will keep you on track and motivated to reach your goal(s). 

Ask your employees to prepare too

A couple of weeks before the actual annual performance review, ask your employees to start pulling together a compilation of their annual results. Ask each employee to put together a summary of their key job responsibilities, current project work, and a recap of goals and achievements.

Ask each employee to submit a self-evaluation in writing. This not only helps employees feel like they have an actual say in their performance review, but it forces them to face the mirror and take an honest look at what they have done throughout the year, and this really aids the conversation during the meeting. 

Get specific goals out of the review

Make sure the meeting produces tangible results. You and the employee should agree upon specific actions to be taken by each of you after the annual performance review. Both the manager and the employee should leave the meeting with items on their to-do list.


Use the review to establish what motivates your staff and look to see how you can support their motivations both within the workplace and where appropriate, personally. 

Additional training around skills was requested and delivered on the same day on how to manage remotely, which the managers had not done previous to COVID-19. Skills and techniques covered: 

  • Ensure employees have the capability to work from home
  • Give employees a sense of belonging
  • Empower your remote employees
  • Make remote employees your advocates
  • Choose the right communication tool
  • Encourage peer-to-peer feedback
  • Check-in frequently and be proactive
  • Collaborate on tasks and projects in real-time: implement a ‘buddy’ system for new hires
  • Enable and encourage knowledge sharing
  • Establish a work-from-home policy (with a commitment to a positive work-life balance)


The benefit of this training is that there is now effective communication between employees and employers. Having an honest approach during performance reviews and an ‘open door’ policy further creates a caring culture where employees feel listened to and validated. This in turn leads to stronger relationships with staff, higher retention rates and an overall positive culture within the workplace. 


A manager’s role is to deliver constructive feedback and promote strategies to increase performance. In addition, it is always important to provide support and let staff know that you are there to assist them along the way. 

Improve your management skills and techniques

There has never been a better time to work on your management skills and techniques. With staff now adopting a hybrid way of working, it is time to enhance your management skills and techniques. 

Here at USP, we can help you just like we helped our clients. Whether you prefer online or face-to-face sessions, we will teach you how to manage your staff in a clear and concise manner.