Studies like Performance Management Solution Provider study, Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP 2019 argue that most people find performance management despised. But is this really the case? Successful performance management initiatives consider three key questions: why, what, and how.
When top management in any organisation decides to implement any form of performance management, they must ask themselves why they need performance management. There can be many reasons, but the important factor is that the outcome of the performance management process has to add value to the organisation, includes only relevant employees, and can be measured.
Performance management is a way of capturing the information needed to measure the what. What is it that the organisation needs to register in order to fulfill the why? Is it measurable production targets or the manager’s personal view of an employee’s performance in relation to company values or something else?
Establishing the why & the what
When why and what are established, the decision-makers must find the best way to create a process (how) that supports why the initiative was created.
It is this process, the how, that is the key to performance management.
Previous analysis from many sources explains why employees (remember that performance management includes all levels of employees) find performance management a waste of time and just another bureaucratic action that interferes with daily activities. These analyses are all based on questionnaires, like Performance Management Solution Provider study, Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP 2019.
In my opinion, the reason why employees may not be engaged with performance management programs is the lack of communication and ownership.
Top management has to communicate the why to the entire organisation. There must be a common understanding of the need for performance management, and this understanding must be refreshed on a regular basis. Managers on all levels must take ownership of the process, be ambassadors for the organisation, and pass ownership of the how to their direct reports. Without manager acceptance of the process and ownership of the purpose, any type of performance management will fail. The organisation must be ready to invest in developing managers to be – managers. Part of their job is to manage people, and they must have the tools to be able to pass on the why of performance management in order to make it worthwhile and make sense to all employees included in the process.
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