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Do you make these performance management mistakes?

Frew Murdoch

Performance management

Performance management is a tricky area in HR - one that sparks a lot of discussion. With so many different views on performance management, how do you know where to start? I find that sometimes it helps knowing what not to do…

1.    Not knowing what performance management is

Sounds crazy but it’s scary how many people don’t actually understand what performance management is. In a study of 100 mid-sized companies conducted by CEB, respondents answered that performance management is an umbrella term for a broad set of analytical and management tasks designed to help leaders understand and guide performance.

No two companies thought the same way about performance management, so it’s no surprise that performance management often encourages conflicting behaviours.

Solution: Clear up any ambiguity about performance management in your company and define performance management clearly. CEB suggests that to realise the full value of their growth strategies, mid-sized companies must identify where the performance management tasks are managed and view these as business performance management tools whose purpose isn’t to measure but to align employee behaviour with organisational objectives.

2.    No support from leadership

A common performance management mistake is that company leadership doesn’t get behind the cause. If leadership is not seen to support it how can you expect performance management goals to be fulfilled?

Solution: According to Regenesys, this can be corrected by encouraging company leaders to be value driven.  Organisations with the best performance management results have strong value and vision-driven leaders who inspire people, communicate the vision, take risks and provide support and rewards.

3.    The performance management strategy is too complicated and not properly aligned with the overall business strategy

When a performance management strategy is too difficult to implement and/or is only distantly linked to the business’ overall strategy, it becomes very difficult to track task status and many tasks may just slip through the cracks altogether.

Solution: Don’t just focus on the metrics. Pay attention to behaviours and milestones. The best companies put in place tracking mechanisms that test how aligned metrics are to future goals, track task completion as well as metric success, measure the effect of that success, and reward those employees who encourage the right outcomes in the right way, says Scott Engler, senior research director at CEB.

4.    Lack of communication

Communication is integral to the performance management system. Bad communication means that no information-sharing is taking place and that the participants and drivers of the strategy are not on the same page.

Solution: Ensure that communication is taking place throughout the performance management implementation process. Good communication will enable buy-in from all those affected by the performance management strategy.

5.    It’s not human

Keep in mind that performance management is all about humans. According to Scott:

“Performance management systems must adapt to reward networked performance, encourage a new set of competencies, and enable collaboration across the enterprise. Only 23% of HR executives believe their performance management processes accurately reflect employee contributions.”

Solution: Align your business performance management strategy with your HR performance management strategy. “Performance management systems have to adapt to reward networked performance, drive an enhanced set of competencies, and enable collaboration across the enterprise,” says Scott.

“To achieve high performance, the best managers establish a climate of trust, create incentives for joint MBOs, and reward those who encourage organizational value over personal achievement,” he concludes.

Frew Murdoch is the assistant editor of HR Pulse. She has a BA degree in communications and English and a passion for HR technology.

Christine Botha, co-author of 'Ethics in HR Management: A guide for HR professionals and line managers', had this to say:

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