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Change the Channel on Conventional Performance Management

Change the Channel on Conventional Performance Management

Change the Channel on Conventional Performance Management

Authored by: Laci Loew

November 5, 2014

Published in: Society for Human Resources Management 

We all know the rule – do what you’ve always done and get what you’ve always gotten. That applies to most everything; performance management is no exception.

You would think that with more than 50 years as a business practice, at least some of us would have cracked the code on effective performance management. Well … some of us have … unfortunately, a very few. Only 25 percent of the organizations are high performing when it comes to performance management. Everyone else is average at best and another quarter of those are just plain poor.

If I were a CHRO or Chief Talent Officer or CEO reading this, I’d ask the obvious: 1) so what makes an organization high performing in performance management? And 2) so, what if I am … what difference does it really make?

Leading practice performance management looks decidedly different than those of the past:

Today’s Performance Management Actions

  • Not aligned with business strategy
  • Check-the-box activity
  • Feedback to fix weaknesses
  • Feedback one-way from manager to employee
  • Goals set and reviewed annually
  • No managerial accountability to develop employees
  • More about the process, not the conversation

Tomorrow’s Performance Management Leading Practices

  • Performance goals are driven by business goals
  • Ongoing business process
  • Conversations to develop strengths
  • Up, down, sideways input from a variety of sources
  • Goal reviewed and revised frequently in alignment with changing business goals
  • Managers trained to be effective coaches and held accountable to develop their employees
  • More about the conversation, not the process

So what difference does it really make if an organization’s performance management aligns with these leading practices? The answer is simple, and downright compelling: BETTER BUSINESS RESULTS.

Commence the transformation of your performance management process by putting up positive signs of being committed and compelled to move the process from traditional to modern-day. Expect that the transformation will be a journey but, like breaking any bad habit, getting started is a key to success. In talking with the CEOs and other business leaders at high-performance companies, here are five critical actions they have executed on:

  • Teach your managers to be effective development coaches.
  • Eliminate forced distribution.
  • Engage executives in performance management.
  • Hold leaders accountable for developing employees’ strengths.
  • Automate performance management and integrate it with other talent processes.

Taken together, all five actions will jump-start the effectiveness and business impact of your performance management.

Despite its ongoing flawed approaches, performance management is requisite to business success. I cannot imagine an organization doing a good job of managing its talent without gathering information about how well their employees are performing their jobs. And, I cannot imagine organizations holding on to the traditional approach to performance management and expecting to achieve and accelerate their business results.




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