A new view on performance management

Difficult – A word often used when we discuss performance management, and how to do it correctly. Unfortunately, PM tends to have negative connotations & conjures up ideas of employees that are not doing their job to a high enough standard or meeting expected goals, and it’s the first step to them exiting the business.

Performance Management is often linked in some way to the annual appraisal, something I wish every company would scrap tomorrow, no yesterday in fact, as it’s such an old archaic way of working! In todays, fast moving organisations we shouldn’t be looking retrospectively to what someone has or hasn’t achieved over the last 12 months, but continually working with them over these 12 months, making sure progress is a cycle of incremental improvements. Many roles, and people jobs evolve and change over a reasonably short space of time, and we need performance management to evolve as quickly.

Many organisations as highlighted in the new Accenture report on this matter say that having flexible workers who have multitude of skills that can be deployed quickly, are more advantageous than those that specialise in just one area. To that end we need to move our view of performance away from managing it to improving it.

So, lets scrap performance management and look to the future of Performance Improvement. Improvement is a more optimistic word to use, in says to the employee that we are going to invest in you, & your future and improve your skill set. Moving to a view of improvement & away from management energises your workforce, it also allows us to scrap the annual approach, and set up regular one-to-one’s with team members, giving them more specific KPI’s to monitor, set goals that are relevant at the time of need, and track and monitor this progress. From the Accenture survey 67% of leaders see employee performance tracking as a positive change”, so why aren’t more organisations following in the footsteps, of some large organisations like Accenture, Deloitte and a few others & scrapping the annual appraisal & move to a performance improvement approach.

The technology now exists to allow this to happen, quickly, easily & with the use of analytics tools, new insight can be gathered on good & bad performance & the interaction of the line manager. In fact, sighting the report again, “performance data is ranked a one of the top three changes employees believe would improve workplace performance”. If the employees are telling us they want this why aren’t we giving it to them & seeing their performance and that of the business improve.