The behavioral approach to the performance management system rests on the idea that you can get the right level of performance from employees based on a demonstration of desirable behaviors. This system contrasts with the outcome approach in which the results of employee work efforts are emphasized. Employees must receive direct explanation of expected behaviors at the beginning of their employment.

Focus on Process

A focus on desirable employee behaviors is really scrutiny of the process that employees use to accomplish their work objectives. One way an organization can ensure that employees perform their jobs is through the development of internal policies and procedures. The more specific the procedures, such as flowcharts that indicate decisions employees should make in the scope of their work, the more that employees can be expected to execute the routines in their work processes correctly.

Behavioral Statements

A performance management system consists of a form that a manager uses to evaluate employees in their specific position. Each employee's evaluation form includes statements that describe general behaviors, such as completing work assignments by the deadline, or specific behaviors, such as drafting letters of correspondence with fewer than three errors in grammar, punctuation and spelling. No matter what kinds of statements are included on the forms, these statements will describe the most essential criteria that employees need to perform well to help their business department achieve its goals.


Some organizations choose to link their descriptions of desirable behaviors into competency statements, while others focus on statements reflecting how employees embody the core values of the organization. Both types of statements outline a minimum level of competency so workers know what kind of behaviors to use in the workplace. Behaviors must always link to desired results for the organization to achieve in the business environment.

An organization that wants to make the most use of its performance management system will link behavioral competencies to the recruitment and selection process. The desired behaviors in a new hire will be included in the job announcement in some form, perhaps under job criteria, and included in essay questions, interview questions and other applicant screening instruments. Hiring managers will look for these behaviors during every interaction with applicants. When an employee gets a new job with the organization, she will know at the start how the organizational culture values certain behaviors over others.