What is Performance Management?
Like most practices in HR there is no standard definition for Performance Management. Performance Management processes depend on purpose.
There are two main purposes of performance management;
- providing a categorisation of employees for purposes of decisions on remuneration, benefits, formal training opportunities, promotion and termination (formal)
- performance improvement (informal)
Some theorists argue that these two purposes conflict. Most systems are heavily oriented to either one or the other. Few successfully balance both.
What is wrong with Performance Management today?
Only 8% of organizations believe their performance management
process is worth the time they’re putting into it.
Bersin by Deloitte @HR Tech Conference October 2014
This is because most systems are merely digitised appraisal forms. An annual administrative exercise that is divorced from day to day operations. Worse still one that ignores the decades of research that shows quite clearly what is needed to develop individual performance.
Managers see performance management as an administrative burden rather than a management tool. Employees see it is an unpleasant exercise that lacks transparency and adds no value in terms of their personal development.
Performance Management Practices that add value
Despite all the hype about re-inventing performance management – taking it to the next level, the truth is that a performance management process that adds value means going back to basic leadership practices.
- Having a clear mission and purpose that all share and relate to
- Making sure that people know clearly what is expected of them
- Ensuring people have the tools and information to do the job
- Providing constructive guidance and feedback as and when needed
- Recognising good performance and dealing with poor performance as it happens.
This is a world apart from a form based performance appraisal system
Where to from here?
Back to Basics: Job-Centred Performance Support System
- Clear Expectations
- Manage expectations separately from performance appraisal so they can be updated as and when needed.
- Use job role expectations – after all we employee people to do a job.
- Minimise the administrative work in writing goals – job role expectations should reflect the strategic and operational priorities.
- Indicate the company’s mission and purpose and translate these to Values based behavioural expectations.
- Ensure your Performance Management system enables staff to view expectations on demand.
- Ensure you can measure what is important. If you have no operational data then you have no way to assess performance accurately.
- For Managers a key expectation must be demonstration of this performance management process.
- Track performance informally – frequent guidance and feedback
- Make sure your managers create a supportive environment for staff by ensuring they have the information and tools they need.
- Ensure managers provide feedback and guidance on a day to day basis.
- Provide managers with diagnostic tools so they are able to identify and address the causes of poor performance.
- Monitor the quality of day to day performance management and support managers to develop these skills
- Formal Performance Appraisal
- Bring expectations and data from performance monitoring together automatically on screen for performance appraisal
- Ensure ratings include a frame of reference to promote consistency of assessment.
- Maintain flexibility of both content and process
Tracking Performance – Ongoing Feedback