Performance Management

Aligning employee performance to business strategy


Managers and supervisors are generally responsible for clearly communicating performance requirements to each staff member. This is particularly important where performance requirements in the job are changing because the organisation has adapted or redeveloped its business strategy.


As a manager or supervisor you will be assisting each member of your team to translate the organisation’s strategic direction into practical steps their role.

This process avoids the organisation’s strategy getting lost in applicable to translation, particularly for frontline employees; it will support change in workplace behaviour and result in effective strategy implementation.

Pitch the discussion at the employee’s job level, using the Workforce Capability Framework as a guide. The framework sets the context for each role and the performance expectations at the correct level. This will make the dialogue meaningful for each staff member. The framework becomes the foundation for effective implementation and communication of the organisation’s business goals.

Focus the discussion on what an organisational-level strategic goal means to the staff member’s own role and their customer(s). Keep it clear and straightforward. The rest of the background information about the business context and organisation can be added progressively.

For example:

‘The new strategic direction for our organisation means that in your role as a Disability Support Worker, you will be required to consult directly with each individual and their family before making any changes to how support is provided’.

Make communication consistent and regular to reinforce the focus of a role or any changed requirements. Don’t assume one discussion is enough.

The conversations can be supported with up-to-date position descriptions, agreed work plans, team meetings, regular supervision, etc.

Managers and supervisors often work hard on producing written resources and convene meetings and then don’t use them to support their ongoing discussions with staff about performance expectations.

Use a position description that includes a statement of the performance expectations for the role and the relevant capability requirements for the job level. This serves to reinforce the capability level required in the role, even if certain specific performance requirements change over time.

A change to a performance measure is much easier for a staff member to accommodate when it is in the context of a consistent expectation of capability required for the job.

For example, one of the strategic core requirements is reporting, documentation and administration. At a level 3 within the direct service delivery job family, a capability requirement is defined as ‘maintaining appropriate notes and other documentation’.

A key performance measure for a disability support worker may currently be to ‘record in writing any notes relevant to the customer and place them in the customer’s service file’.  However, this may need to become ‘record any notes using the organisation’s client record system and save the notes to the customer’s electronic file records’.

In this example, the means of meeting the level 3 capability at the required performance standard has changed, but the capability itself has not changed. This consistency is valuable in supporting effective performance.

Make sure that the performance expectations set for a staff member match the capability requirements of their job level. The Workforce Capability Framework and position description can assist in accurate and consistent setting of individual work goals and performance measures in line with the capability requirements for the job level. It is very inefficient for an organisation to grade a job at a certain level, recruit at that level, and then not achieve the performance consistent with the level.

Keep reinforcing the common language used in the Workforce Capability Framework in your conversations with your staff members. This common language builds consistency and confidence within teams across the organisation.

The strategic core requirements e.g. leadership/teamwork, communication, customer relationships, innovation, etc. and the relevant functional requirements become a frame of reference for all conversations about the requirements of the role and the priorities or expectations driven by business strategy. By describing performance expectations in the context of the strategic core requirements, it becomes clear to all employees who contribute to meeting the organisation’s business goals.

Use team meetings, one-on-one meetings and supervision sessions to communicate performance requirements. Allocate time to translate the changing of the organisation’s business and/or customer requirements into different performance expectations, and engage staff members in this process. This needs to be done at team and individual level.

Talk about role requirements in terms of what stays the same, what’s new, and what is not required. In this way, the manager or supervisor is assisting the staff member to re-set the boundaries of the role in their own mind. This is critical to the longer-term behavioural change of the staff member and meeting the organisation’s requirements for the role.

Managers and supervisors across the organisation need to work through each role’s capability description in the Workforce Capability Framework at the relevant job level, and discuss among themselves what evidence would be required of an employee meeting the role’s requirements. If managers and supervisors don’t understand or haven’t worked through what is required, it is unrealistic to expect individual employees to translate the goals of the organisation into their own work priorities and achievements.

At an organisational level, management teams will find it beneficial to establish consistency in expectations of roles and teams across the organisation, having regard to job levels and the different teams’ functions. This is an important part of communicating and effectively implementing your organisation’s strategy. Management teams need to ensure that they have allocated the necessary time, responsibility and accountability among the team to maintaining an appropriate dialogue and focus across the organisation on roles and performance expectations.

Additional resources:

  • The Workforce Capability Framework
  • The disability career planner and capability framework implementation guide
  • Technique, tips and template – writing position descriptions
  • Technique and Tips – a person-centred approach to supervision


The term individual(s) refers to an individual with a disability and their family and/or circle of support.

The terms staff/employee(s) refer to paid or unpaid members of the workforce regardless of their employment relationship with their employer i.e. permanent, casual, full-time, volunteer, etc.

Intellectual property rights are jointly owned by National Disability Services Ltd, PeopleAdvantage Pty Ltd and Helen Sanderson Associates respectively. ©This publication is copyright. All rights reserved.