Our performance development experience

What many businesses call performance management, we at Caraffi call performance development. 

When we first started to talk about performance development for Caraffi it became clear that there were some things that were important to us – we wanted something that delivered our values, reflected who we are, and set us up to achieve delivery of our strategy.

Our strategy and values are embedded in all that we do, and performance management was no exception to this.

What we were not prepared to accept was ‘The Performance Management Groan’, you know that moment when you realise performance review season is coming up, you find your review, dust it off and have a little panic about what you have and have not achieved. We were not prepared to accept this for ourselves, the same way we would not accept it for our clients.

We needed something simple, that would engage us all, drive higher performance, ensure everyone had clear objectives and expectations and would provide a sharp focus on regular conversations.

We designed and delivered a coaching based process, with a heavy focus on our teams coaching each other – a challenge we knew they would embrace. Our approach is informal, to fit our culture and values, and is employee led, we hope to never hear people frustrated with the effort they need to put into performance development – we want them to wonder how they ever did it another way!

Our approach to performance management

We only employ bright and brilliant people and we always strive to be better, therefore we approach performance development through this lens – we see it as a way to support our team to be better, and most importantly to not hinder their brilliant side. After, all their brilliant side is what makes them vital to our team.

Our performance development philosophy, and in turn our processes, are enabling us to upskill our managers as coaches and move away from a parental model of performance management.

Our strategic, forward facing approach to developing improved performance, means that our performance development is focused on how effective we are as a business. We don’t have to tell you that when your teams thrive your business also thrives.

We are also totally transparent – we have nothing to hide but everything to gain from being transparent about our objectives and goals, and this approach enables us to be open not only about the goals and objectives of the business, but also how we intend on delivering them.

Therefore, our leadership team openly discuss their goals and objectives at the start of each financial year – this puts a sharp focus on their objectives for the team – they know what is expected of our leaders and this flows through the process to peer reviews for our leaders and an open book on the end of year process. We are all accountable for delivering the business strategy and all of our objectives reflect this.

However innovative and unorthodox we may think we’re being, there are still some things that sit in our performance development that you will recognise – we set goals, we ask our teams to update and record these, and support and challenge each other throughout, but we approach it in our own unique way – we focus on maximising their potential and increasing their satisfaction as a Caraffi employee.

Our top tips for your own performance management programme

Here’s a rundown of what we consider to be best practice for the design of forward-thinking performance development programmes.


A performance development programme should not equip managers to solve problems but help them support and coach people to find the solution themselves.


Performance development shouldn’t feel like a chore. So we only have 2 formal reviews – at the start and end of the year. We did, however, encourage managers to touch on goals in more informal catch ups throughout the year.


And lots of it!


Manager and employee have dual roles in this process, we are confident that this will reduce the time it takes to participate in this programme.


All of our objectives are directly linked to our business strategy. Each one of us can see the direct impact that we are having on the success of our business.


We picked a system that could be configured to deliver exactly what we needed – we were not prepared to fit what we wanted into a pre-existing set up.


Along with their objectives at work, everyone also had to submit a personal goal – we are one Caraffi family and we all want to support each other to achieve those personal objectives.


To accompany the launch of our performance development programme we also developed some succinct e-learning modules packed with infographics and vlogs that helped participants understand exactly what they needed to.


We don’t see performance development as a HR process but as a business process. Our leaders led the conversations around our strategy and how they were going to deliver it. They will have a sharp focus on our objectives, but we will also have a sharp focus on theirs.

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