Are Performance Management Processes a Hoax?

As the effectiveness of performance reviews has come under scrutiny lately, it begs the question do other performance management processes really improve performance? It should be a rather fluid entity that governs how employees work and the quality of their work. 

As with many ideals, it missed the mark and has become stagnant. Performance management processes are not merely checkmarks on the list, they are necessities that require attention. It’s the way organizations choose to control performance management that is the problem.

What’s Broken?

The idea that performance management as a whole doesn’t work simply isn’t true. There’s an abundance of information that suggests processes like performance reviews, coaching, recognition, etc. are necessary to the success of the employee and the organization – these are performance management processes. But these aspects of performance management don’t always work like they should or they underperform in comparison to company needs. 58% of company executives believe their current performance process doesn’t drive performance. [1]

While some leaders feel conducting performance reviews are unnecessary and irrelevant to truly improving performance, your employees want them. In fact, 72% of employees believe their performance would improve if their managers gave them corrective feedback. [2] These performance reviews serve not as yardsticks to reprimand, but as benchmarks to determine growth. After all, negative feedback can improve performance, when given properly.

It Makes Some Professionals Uncomfortable

“It makes us feel all cozy and organized, but it keeps us from unleashing the power that our brilliant employees bring with them to work every day.” – Liz Ryan, CEO and Founder of Human Workplace [3]

Not to say that Ryan is wrong about performance management, she has a valid opinion. She’s not alone either; 86% of the 96% of companies that have a performance management system dislike it. [4] The ideal performance management system has the freedom she says is so crucial to the growth of the company and the organization, but it simply doesn’t work like that currently. That’s what’s uncomfortable, not performance management itself.

There should be a foundation at which to assess an employee’s performance. It’s not simply to gauge their work and how it sits on the company’s bar of expectations, but it also helps organizations to understand where the company might have performance issues as well. For example, if a new hire is onboarded through what the organization believes to be a robust system yet they still have problems with performance (and they aren’t the only ones)… Are they really to blame?

The answer is no. Organizational leadership didn’t give them the tools they needed for success from the beginning. If a team member doesn’t understand their basic job responsibilities and company standards, they simply can’t reach beyond and knock down walls with innovation. Millennial employees are statistically more inclined towards performance feedback; most of them want feedback on a monthly basis. [5] They need guidance and feedback to accomplish their preliminary benchmarks before integrating their own brilliance into special projects.

Performance Management IS Necessary

The issue isn’t whether or not companies should get rid of their performance management processes in an effort to release some level of profound genius in their team… rather, the question is how you can change your performance management to match the needs of your team. The current stagnation of performance management has created a negative connotation surrounding employee performance metrics.

A majority of companies understand the need to alter their performance management processes with 89% having already changed or planning to in the next 18 months. [6] You need processes that allow the performance management system to become a fluid device for measurement based on changes that happen as workers go through employment cycles.

You can’t escape the need for performance management. Large organizations will always need that mechanism to guide alignment and orientation throughout the company. It’s a necessary (albeit sometimes uncomfortable) process, but it can change. In fact, it should develop with your team. If your performance management system isn’t working, that doesn’t mean performance management isn’t effective. You simply need to find specific processes that work for your organization. Take a demo or give us a call to see how Reviewsnap can get your performance management process on track.

[1] – Officevibe – 13 Disappointing Performance Appraisal Facts You Really Need to Know
[2] – HBR – Your Employees Want the negative Feedback You Hate to Give
[3] – Forbes – Performance Management is a Hoax
[4] – Workspan – Escape the Tyranny of Ratings and Forms in Performance Management
[5] – HBR – Millennials Want to be Coached at Work
[6] – Deloitte University Press – Performance Management: The Secret Ingr...

Bio: Chris Arringdale

Chris Arringdale is the Co-Founder and President of Reviewsnap, an online performance appraisal software that allows you to customize performance management, competencies, rating scales and review periods. Reviewsnap serves more than 1,200 customers worldwide including, Penske Racing, CubeSmart, PrimeSource and Nonprofit HR Solutions.

Views: 137

Comment by Katrina Kibben on August 4, 2015 at 9:59am

So how would you fundamentally change performance reviews to make them a source of data that can feed back into the organization to make it better? 


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