Performance Management Redux: Evolving the Performance Appraisal

As a business leader, chances are you’ve seen some of the attention reinvention of performance management is receiving in both human resources professional circles and the business press (Forbes, Huffington Post, New York Times, WSJ, et al.). This might have you questioning whether updating your performance management system could have a positive business impact for your organization.

bulbs-blue-sqThe growing list of companies who have courageously blazed the trail (Medtronic, Juniper Networks, Netflix, Oakley, Varian Medical, SAP, Deloitte, and Microsoft—just a small sampling) are experiencing results in some combination of: revenue gains, increased employee engagement, increased customer satisfaction, outperforming the market, attracting top talent over competitors, and/or increased profitability (Conference Board, 2014).

In considering replacements for your legacy performance management approach, there is no single one-size-fits-all. Replacement reengineering requires careful consideration of each organization's unique needs.

From our work with clients, however, we have seen a set of core practices emerge as critical fundamentals:

  • Cadence of the process is established based on the cadence of your business, not an arbitrary annual occurrence.
  • Managers and performers are a partnership in the process. Performance management is not something done to the employee.
  • Process is owned by the business and supported by HR—no longer an HR compliance exercise.
  • Organizations have a values culture that is authentic, transparent and celebrated. This is necessary in order to conduct frank and honest performance based conversations.
  • Process is easy and simple to use. Support tools are easily accessible and are not overly engineered. Tools contribute data for business applications (succession planning, talent management, compensation/rewards, etc.)
  • Measurement (formally “ratings”) is focused on performance impact and is future focused vs. assigning a “grade/evaluation” to past performance, with the requisite need for wasteful “calibration” meetings.

But, the single consistent characteristic to emerge with the greatest business impact is the criticality of fluid Meaningful Conversations™. These conversations:

  • Are timely (occurring when they can have the greatest performance impact) and occur with great frequency, according to the cadence of your business.
  • Are a balance of:
    1. Expectations & planning conversations
      (includes effective goal setting that is aligned with business strategy),
    2. Ongoing performance conversations
      (feedback and coaching on current performance to goal ),
    3. Career growth conversations
      (integrated and ongoing vs. annual/”one and done”)
  • Are focused on driving future impact versus documenting, reconciling and evaluating past performance.
  • Overcome the JABS™ of traditional coaching and feedback.

Meaningful conversations are emerging as a differentiator in those companies that excel in agility and innovation. If your organization doesn’t want to be left with an old and outmoded performance management system, it may indeed be time for a makeover.

Republished with permission from: Tim Blakesly | LinkedIn

Tim Blakesly

Senior Partner at Millennium Leadership
Millennium Leadership is dedicated to eradicating legacy performance management approaches that erode employee engagement, deteriorate performance and keep companies from realizing strategic results. The workplace has evolved. Has your performance management approach kept up with the times?

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