Year End != Performance Management

Today I was catching up on some of my feeds and noticed many of the major HR technology related blogs I follow were discussing performance management, for example Jason, Meg, Justin and, it even gets a mention on Thomas’s blog. So I felt I would get in on the game.

So let’s start at the beginning, what is performance management?

an approach to help the individuals within the organisation focus on what needs to be done to help the organisation meet its overall goals

(Paraphrased from the Performance Management unit in the AHRI Professional Diploma)

There are lots of models and method for doing performance management but as Jason says in his post:

Performance management should be about making, supporting and visualizing decisions for all levels of management that drive corporate performance.  It should cater to every talent stakeholder and answer the question that are important to them such as…

  • Managers – How do I reward and penalize individuals and teams based on performance?
  • Directors – How do I analyze and compare the performance of my team against other departments and divisions within my company?
  • VPs – How can I model my group against other high-performing regions, geographies, roles and skills to drive my company’s performance?

It is not about giving a rank to an individual based on the last X number of months work. Taking this further Justin brings up four good summary point:

1.  We believe in the concept and vision of daily performance management

2.  We believe in a future-facing performance management environment.  

3.  We believe in open lines of communication between the manager and the employee

4.  We believe in customised and relevant content in the performance evaluation

I have to say I agree with what everyone has said, and that your technology enabling performance management needs to be more that just filling in an apprisal form online!

Even more so if we assume that a vast majority of workers are now knowledge workers. Knowledge works is by it’s very nature ambiguous, complex and tends to have long feedback cycles (you don’t press a button to see a result), where employees tend to work autonomously but require collaboration with others both internally and externally to get the job done. Add to this that the outcomes tend to be more important than the process followed. (I know there is a whole core competency discussion here as well.)

So really the performance management process needs to be about supporting or facilitating the performance ahead of time not looking back. This of course needs to be part of the broader succession, development, learning, and workforce planning process. And it is not just an end of year thing!

Once the right process is being used we can then add the technology!