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Performance Management Sucks – Here’s What to Do about It

As always, Jamie Notter whets our appetite on the topic of performance management over at Association Success. Here’s a teaser, check out the full posts over there:

Get Rid of Your Performance Reviews

In most associations, I’m betting that you’ll be able to make a solid case for dumping them. This is one of those organizational processes that we’ve been doing roughly the same way for decades, because, well, we’ve always done it that way. It’s ripe for removal or reinvention. But here’s the trick:

If you get rid of performance reviews, you still have to find a way to solve the problem they were intending to solve in the first place.

What is that problem? Hmmm, the fact that we have to ask that question (and that you may not have a clear answer) is actually the problem. For years we’ve been trying to solve several different problems with performance reviews at the same time, and that’s one reason why they don’t work. The three main problems are:

  • Compensation distribution (i.e., raises and bonuses)
  • Firing people (documenting poor performance primarily for liability and legal reasons)
  • Developing people (creating individual development goals)

If you have one process that does these three things at the same time, it is guaranteed to fail.

>> Read more here.

4 Technologies to Improve Performance Management

When I ask people for the one thing they would change about their performance review system, one answer always rises to the top:

We need the feedback to be more continuous, rather than once or twice a year.

Amen. But there’s a problem with that. Our current systems of feedback rely very heavily on filling out forms and in-person meetings. Therefore, as we increase the frequency of feedback, we will also increase the number of forms and meetings, and that’s going to add up to a LOT of time. This is a problem—remember, the big companies are already dumping their current systems because they take too much time.

Enter technology. This is the digital age, folks. Why are we not using digital tools and technology to increase the amount of feedback and learning about performance in our system in a more efficient way? Here are just a few you can experiment with.

>> Read more here.

Connecting Performance Management With Culture.

…Here’s my recommendation: make sure your performance management system is tied directly to culture. Don’t ask managers to evaluate direct reports on whether they did a “good job.” I’d even pull back on looking at performance metrics to prove whether or not they did well. Instead, double down your efforts on ensuring that the work of your people is tightly aligned with your culture.

This, of course, assumes that (a) you know what your culture is and (b) that culture is aligned with what drives your success. So that work might need to come first.

IF YOU’RE THERE, HERE ARE A COUPLE OF EXAMPLES OF WHAT PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT COULD LOOK LIKE:

If you still want that once- or twice-yearly survey as part of it, then work to take the principles that define your culture and convert them into behavior statements. It’s hard to rate people on whether or not they “value transparency,” but it’s easier to figure out whether or not they routinely share information with people outside their department. Sometimes you can even describe what the negative behaviors look like: tends to keep things to himself/herself or at most share information with the direct team. Give people a tangible understanding of what these 1-5 ratings actually mean. In the conversation part of the review process, you would then have the opportunity to explain WHY these things are valued.

>> Read more here.

Enjoy!


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