The Death of Performance Management.

Ideas Grow Ideas Grow

Imagine, you have just completed your last ever performance management review … EVER? How good would that feel?

As an authority on workplace behaviour, I was asked by Human Capital On-Line to comment on ‘upwards bullying’ but I found myself driven to talk about killing off performance management. I reflected upon why organisations still have performance reviews when they are such a burden and from my experience a risk. Performance reviews are more about ‘Managing’ than ‘Performance’?

Current systems are tired, outdated and can be replaced by dynamic approaches dedicated toward talent development, continuous coaching and real time reward & recognition.

Current systems;

  • present lag data;
  • are not taken seriously;
  • are not done well;
  • are a resented administrative burden;

Current methods do not effectively align people with values and goals of a business;

Current methods of paying cash bonuses once a year do not drive performance;

Real-time and continuous team engagement drives performance constantly and not just once or twice a year;

A survey by Deloitte’s found more than half the executives questioned (58%) believed their current performance management approach drives neither employee engagement nor high performance.   The same survey found that a mere 8% of companies reported their performance management process drove high levels of value. 58% of companies reported that their current PM process was not an effective use of time;

A reason for new thinking is the findings in a study that leadership behaviour is contagious: good leaders inspire better leadership behaviours among their reports, while bad leaders do the opposite.

The link between performance management and workplace bullying is unequivocal. Workplace bullying is something I know about. The term ‘upwards bullying’ is interesting. It is applied to workplace complaints made by subordinate employees against their managers or supervisors. But the link of upwards bullying to performance management process is even more interesting.

In the interview I spoke about how tournaments that are played out by people in organisations everywhere, everyday. These tournaments are defined by the structures and systems of organisations. People are naturally competitive and driven toward meeting outcomes they are interested in.  It is relevant to note that performance management conversations have featured in 85% of workplace bullying complaints that Risk to Business has responded to in the past 3 years.

Research Risk to Business conducted to understand the what, when, where, why and how certain workplace behaviours occurred found important indicators and things connected with tournaments and competativeness. You can download our paper here:

So what does a model for performance management look like for2016 and beyond?

This article in Fast Company is a good place to start.  The common theme is that innovative organisations are moving toward a model based on trust, personal promises, and development.

The top five most important goals for HR include talent acquisition (64 percent), employee engagement (59 percent), talent retention (58 percent), goal alignment (55 percent), and training (53 percent). Harvard Business Review Analytic Services – “The Age of Modern HR” – June 2014

So what else do we need to do – Change the language?

For a start let’s kill off ‘performance management’ and start talking about ‘team empowerment’ it is a more powerful and enabling term.

We need to note that “If you want a high-performance organisation, you have to reverse the destructive forces of conventional performance management. You have to find ways to evaluate people, that recognises the role each person played in the moving the organisation forward. These evaluations must be based on a growth mind-set. They must recognize that with the right context and conditions, anyone’s abilities can be improved, especially given the expansive, flexible nature of the human brain.” David Rock, Josh Davies, and Beth Jones, “Kill Your Performance Ratings,” strategy+business, PwC, Autumn 2014

What’s Next?

Development of new models, platforms like REdii, the brainchild of successful serial entrepreneur Naomi Simson.  The new model will comprise ways of driving growth for an enterprise through aligning people with the vision and passion, the ‘why’ a business is in business.  The race is on for providers to create the possibility of a system that provides:

  • Continuous coaching and alignment – it’s about allowing people to take responsibility for accountability – to demonstrate their personal promises;
  • Reward & recognition occurs in real time and is driven through peer-to-peer recognition;
  • A system that recognises the achievement of promises and links real time reward from peers and managers;
  • Managers with the tools to observe on their desktops and in real time, the peer-to-peer conversations around recognition of effort;
  • A system that connects the values and objectives of the business for the business year;
  • Alignment of performance with outcomes in real time;
  • Managers with desktop dashboard where they can observe team interactions;
  • Managers with a tool to facilitate team and employee development;
  • Managers with the ability to align the team and to move the enterprise forward.

These are the components for a new way of driving growth and employee engagement.

Who’s up for the challenge?

Mamó Portraiture Photography