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Supervision Intervention Strategies

Performance Agreements [2.8.4.c.]

Dr. Hannah Knudsen and her colleagues in the study Retaining Counseling Staff at Substance Abuse Treatment Centers: Effects of Management Practices, suggest that providing employees with authority to make decisions is effective only if the authority is real, meaning that it is not undermined by enforcing rules and by constantly exercising (or threatening to exercise) authority. Because the supervisor is ultimately responsible for the actions of supervisees, however, they suggest that the supervisor “contract” up front with the supervisee that he or she will share in the responsibility for the results of his or her decisions and allow the supervisee to decide whether or not he or she want decision-making authority and responsibility. This negotiation concerning authority, and other issues, can be included in a performance agreement.
A performance agreement is a tool based on organizational objectives that encourages two-way communication to improve trust and understanding. The performance agreement:
  • Outlines and provides a timeline for agreed-upon personal and organizational goals;
  • Defines expectations through realistic objectives and milestones for each objective;
  • Describes how objectives and milestones will be measured;
  • Documents status and achievement;
  • Encourages regularly scheduled meetings to follow up or modify the agreement; and
  • Requires a formal sign-off by the staff and supervisor.
The Five Elements in Performance Agreements with Employees provides a basic description of needed elements in setting up performance agreements.

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