Performance Management

Organizing a high-performance team /sustaining high performance

Research shows that highly productive teams give as much attention to how they work together—their communication and coordination—as they do to their work tasks and results. In these teams, members communicate regularly and frequently and learn from each other. The result: team members who respect each other and want to work together, contributing to successful goal achivement.

Tips for achieving high performance through teamwork


Giving and receiving regular feedback

Feedback is thoughtful verbal communication to let someone know how they are performing—when things are going well it is welcome and motivating, and when things need to change, it is critical to help get performance back on track. It is a skill to both give and receive feedback gracefully upwards, downwards, and laterally in the Organization.

Giving and Receiving Feedback

Open or download the guide to learn how to give and receive feedback.


Having difficult conversations

When a staff member’s performance gets off track, or a situation arises that creates tension, it’s important to discuss it rather than let it go. We strive for ‘win-win’ conversations—meaning that after talking, both sides believe there was value in having the discussion, even if it was a difficult conversation to have.

> Watch these videos about conducting difficult conversations.

Scenario 1 - Properly conducted conversation 
Scenario 2 - Poorly conducted conversation

Addressing under-performance

In a case where your staff member’s performance is not meeting the expectations set out in the work plan for the performance period, there are specific steps for you to take, as first reporting officer, to help the individual get back on track. It is a proactive approach that includes documenting and discussing the performance issues with the staff member, and potentially developing a performance improvement plan.

> Addressing and Resolving Underperformance Guide

Step-by-step guide to assist managers with identifying performance issues and working with the staff member to improve.


Development planning with staff

A staff member’s Development Plan is the result of your discussions about the individual’s career aspirations, competency development, and personal progress. As first reporting officer, you provide context for the staff member to plan given the goals and performance expectations indicated in the work-plan and his/her aspirations. You are encouraged to create opportunities for staff members to test and develop new competencies and knowledge by offering challenging responsibilities and assignments.


Supporting staff learning and career goals

All of the best learning and development occurs on the job by taking on new tasks or committing to ‘stretch assignments.’ Exploring and guiding these opportunities can require commitment of your time and effort as a manager but the benefits can be great: work needs are addressed, staff members are more knowledgeable and more committed to work of the unit. Some examples of growth assignments:

  • Taking on a tough project
  • Working short rotations in other functions
  • Acting for someone who has gone on vacation or mission assignment
  • Becoming the focal point for a significant change and implementation project
  • Fixing something such on cleaning up a system breakdown

> Go to the UN Competency Development Guide to find many options for learning in place related to particular development goals.


Managing performance when there are personal or health issues

You should check the policy that applies to the particular work or life event that may impact a staff member’s ability to fulfil his/her responsibilities. Seek guidance from your HR Partner or the medical service in your duty station about accommodation and flexibility. You can also contact the Staff Counsellor’s Office directly for advice and guidance.

Important documents: