Performance Management is NOT Dead!

There has been much controversy for the last 3 years and it is increasing in its intensity around the viability of performance reviews.  It is not an anomaly as in 2016 and 2017 almost all HR Technologies are undergoing immense changing from being HR driven to employee driven.  

 What do I mean by HR Driven and Employee Driven?  The first and second generation of cloud technologies have been focused on driving value to HR through automation and reporting.  A little employee and manager self-service was thrown in to drive up usage, but predominately the systems were designed to provide HR with the efficiencies and data they needed. The newer HR point solutions and major players in HR Technology are now changing their systems to be employee driven applications.  I believe the Millenniums have been forcing this change.  This means that employees drive the system, request development, create career paths, track performance and training.

Back to performance reviews and the changes that are a result of failure in traditional semi and annual performance reviews.  These reviews are meant to provide regular and meaningful feedback, but what resulted was a great deal of uncomfortable annual conversations around what the employee had accomplished in the last 60-90 days.  Most reviews were not specific to the employee’s roles and often left the employee thinking it did not even represent their responsibilities.  This made reviews dreaded by both Manager and Employee. 

The market tried to help by creating more frequent meetings, and dynamic performance reviews that pull skills and competencies to be evaluated on based on roles, removed numerical ratings, etc. but still the infrequent meetings, regular feedback and accompanying conversations still resulted in negative feelings and lack of interest in the performance management process.

The latest trend is to produce a continuous performance management cycle that creates a format for what is often called pulse checks with employees.  These pulse checks come with ability to align employee to corporate and individual goals, provide regular updates and feedback and often avoid completely an actual rating per skill or competency.  They become the basis for regular meetings and allow both the employee and manager to document progress and feedback and be aligned on how well they are doing at achieving objectives.  Because reviews are continuous there are no surprises and this reduces uncomfortable conversations that occur during the old performance regimen.

Another contributing factor to improved acceptance of this new pulse checks is the increasing ability that organizations have provided with investments in integrated talent management solutions to tie development to objectives and goals.  Development has for years now become as important as salary for most employees and the ability for them to easily see how you are developing them continuously as well impacts engagement which of course results in better retention.  Most importantly, this alignment, engagement and retention of top performers leads to business outcomes which impact positively the bottom lines of organizations which creates the ROI for investment in Performance Solutions.

So don’t abandon performance management – reinvent it!

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