The Website and Blog of HR Author and Speaker Lori Kleiman

Performance Management

Business man shows success abstract flow chartThe performance management process in most organizations is akin to the weather report we all rely on daily. Unrealistic and often inaccurate. Yet businesses continue to follow the same old process year after year. It makes no sense! Where else do we see consistent failure and disdain tolerated? It is commonly discussed at all levels of management that performance review processes are a waste of time and don’t provide any value. When asked, HR executives give their performance management process a grade of C or below on a regular basis. Why is it that the CEOs tolerate this?

There is an understanding that employees need feedback and the performance review will provide legal protection. Both are true and will drive the business forward – but only if the program is done well. Reviews that are poorly written and conducted will not only cause the employee frustration but may create a legal issue as well.

If the performance management program is not meeting the needs of the organization, there should be an expectation that the HR manager will change it. It is not the job of the CEO or executive team to point it out.  HR is expected to be the type of managers that will see an issue, and come to the management team with a solution.

But its not just your company – we hear this from the majority of CEO’s in organizations. If the majority of HR managers know it’s broken, why aren’t they fixing it? Generally because they are focused on other areas and figure if the wheel isn’t squeaking – why oil it.

Look at your turnover rate, succession planning (or lack thereof!) and employee engagement survey. Does this show that your employees understand their jobs and how that supports the goals of the organization?  If not – this should be discussed during the performance review. When a leadership position opens up, do you have a high-potential employee waiting to step into the role? If not, why hasn’t this development been uncovered during a great performance conference.

There are many ways to drive performance management in a way that is effective and efficient. It does not have to be the gruesome task managers dread each year. It can be a very productive and enjoyable conversation with two professionals about the challenges and opportunities in the business.


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