Disruption and Performance Management

Posted: 08/01/2016
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Disruption is Everywhere.

Without a doubt, disruption is the buzzword of the hour. Everywhere you look, the notion of disruption is used to describe some change that is occurring, or has occurred, that seems to alter the very fabric of mankind.  If that seems a bit dramatic, that is because it is.

Yes, things are changing.

BUT, when are things not changing? There is no progress or innovation without change. Change is inevitable, unstoppable, and relentless. Even when something ceases to exist, its ending forces some type of change.  You can’t escape change and neither can HR.

Thank goodness things change. Would anyone really be happy if the working world looked like it did several decades ago?  The procedures that we have in place now, while far from perfect, are much better than they used to be – and we have change to thank for that.

One of the things that it seems organizational leaders are having a tough time with is the way that performance management is beginning to change.

Employee Ratings and the Decline of Employee Engagement

GE just did away employee ratings and everyone is losing their minds. How will we know which employees deserve raises or bonuses if we can’t assign numbers to their performance? I personally applaud GE for doing this and since they tend to be a global trendsetter for HR practices, I hope to see this happen with more companies. Employee ratings don’t do anything but make reviews easier for managers. They don’t usually motivate employees to do a better job. In fact, it can do quite the opposite.

Christopher Leady, Head of Learning and Development of Campbell Soup Co. agrees.In an interview with Chris from last December he said:

“We still have them in place as of today, but I think the impact of a performance rating is more detrimental than it is positive. No matter how you look at it, you are placing a label on performance. You’re trying to measure something that can’t necessarily be quantified in that aspect. I think one, it’s an unrealistic type of marker; and two, I think it can be detrimental and under motivating. You can sit with someone and have a really great performance conversation and then say, ‘Well Jane you’re performance rating this year on a five-point scale is a three. You made some really good impact.’ Even if it’s a four, you’re like when was ‘80 percent ever good in school?’ I think it can really be a de-motivator instead of a motivator.”

Generally, people do not like giving it their all and then being told that they had a rating of anything less than exceptional. That’s how you effectively disengage employees in a hurry.

Instead of assigning a fixed rating, which is so one-dimensional unlike the people being assessed, talk about the victories of that period and talk about the challenges and how to overcome them in the future. This engages your employee, acknowledges their efforts and gives them a problem to solve. Just like that- BAM! Motivation.

Performance Management is NOT Dead

Even though employee ratings may be on their way out the door, performance management in and of itself is not going to go anywhere.

Employees, like their managers, and the executives above them, still have jobs to do. You have to be able to make sure that the needs of the business are being met and that everyone is doing their part.

Performance management will be there to help ensure that this is happening.

When I asked Hitachi’s CHRO Levent Arabachi what he envisioned for performance management in 2020, he said:

“I envision performance management as a tool that is embraced by business leaders to achieve results and is utilized not only once a year but as part of an ongoing feedback mechanism to develop employees and managers.”

Ongoing feedback certainly seems to be the new trend (but let’s talk about that next time.)

Long story short, performance management may be changing – like everything else, but it will likely be for the better and may ultimately make the workplace a happier and healthier place!

This piece was originally published on More Than Resources. To get new posts first, visit morethanresourcesblog.wordpress.com