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Robert McWhirter

Performance Management Techniques: What Big Businesses Could Learn From Small Ones

Performance meeting

The idea of recruiting bight graduates into a business is not a new one. However, for a small and growing business like us having a stream of new talent is incredibly important. We’ve had a great experience with our latest graduate, Alex. He was keen to learn, not afraid to ask questions and an all-around nice guy. Perfect. He benefited from his time with us too, as his placement allowed him to put into practice things he only studied in theory at University.

But training and managing junior staff can be tricky. Being a small company, every member of staff is running to a tight schedule, and with everybody under pressure to make deadlines, it can be difficult to find the time to train and monitor junior members of the team. If we want to make sure that we’ve got the best workforce and producing the most exciting technology on the market long term, it’s a problem that we know that we need to keep on top of. We’ve developed a few techniques that we’d like to share.


Online tools save us time, money and are essential for managing all of our staff – not just our graduates. For training, we often use online tools and tutorials to get our new recruits up to scratch. Using online e-learning platforms means that we don’t need to spend lots of time or money tutoring junior staff face-to-face on new skills.

We also use technology to ensure regular communication between staff. They shouldn’t be afraid to ask quick questions on anything that they’re not sure about, so we use Slack as a chat system. This allows for quick, easy communication without the worry of feeling intrusive. Being able to quickly get updates from the placement students means that no extra time needs to be scheduled, but regular contact is ensured.

Informal Updates

Every morning each of our teams has a catch up on what we did the day before, the progress they made and any problems that we may have stumbled on. Not only is this a good way for junior staff members to share any problems that they’re having with the team, but also great for getting them involved in what is going on in the wider scheme of things, rather than sitting in their own little bubble for the whole week.

Formal Updates

Of course, quick updates aren’t always enough. We also use the more traditional approach of appraisals every six months. It might seem obvious, but these little face to face sessions can’t be replaced by any technical wizardry. We make a cup of tea, sit down and have an in-depth talk.

Next time, Anne Hamill of Talent & Potential gives her views on why she thinks that grads should be managed differently to the rest of your workforce.