On June 8th, 11am PST WorkXO and QuestionPro Workforce are doing a webinar on better performance management –
The speakers will explore:
- Why culture is at the heart of better performance management
- The correct role for compensation in performance reviews
- Why customization wins over consistent systems
- What Millennials expect out of all this
In this blog post I would like to briefly introduce you to the this webinar topic.
Better Performance Reviews
Everyone hates performance reviews. Articles in HBR, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal over the years have derided them. Big companies are ditching them left and right. One post on Forbes.com said they should be “destroyed like blood-sucking vampires.”
But guess what? We still do them! Most of us anyway. It’s like we’re addicted. We know it’s bad for us, but we line up every year for another dose. The reason we do this, of course, is that underlying the annoying process are some really important principles:
- People who perform better should be rewarded for that
- Improving individual performance will improve the overall system performance
- Having your people learn, grow, and develop on an ongoing basis is a good thing.
Yes, those are important. The problem is, that once-a-year performance management system is a really poor solution to do all of those things. We need to blow it up so we can address those important principles more effectively. Here are some tips to get you started.
Separate out the financial piece.
Sorry folks, but as soon as your performance review system becomes about who gets a 3% merit increase and who gets a 1% merit increase, the whole thing starts to suck, because people will game the system when they know money’s on the line. That’s what financial incentives do: they get you laser focused. So your people quickly figure out how to make sure they score all “5s” on the review so they get the money, which forces managers to impose those awful forced ranking systems to try and spread it out. And in the meantime, 95% of your people are getting 2% anyway, and you probably didn’t really need a time-consuming system to justify why those few that got more or less—it was obvious to everyone. Stop the game, because in the process you made it impossible for the performance management system to address those other goals of improving performance and supporting growth and development.
Focus on culture
Your culture should be carefully and intentionally designed to support the success of your enterprise. Culture is about what is valued inside your organization, and if what is valued drives performance, then you should be evaluating that in your performance reviews. Are your people behaving consistently with what your culture values. If not, they need coaching, and if they don’t respond to the coaching, you should start talking severance packages. If you don’t do this, then culture will start to lose its meaning. You can’t say you have a culture that values certain things, but then tolerate the opposite from your people simply because they are higher up in the chain or deliver a lot of revenue. If you want a strong culture, it must be embedded in performance management.
Even the staunch supporters of performance reviews will admit that doing them only once per year is a bad idea. We’ve been calling for “continuous feedback” for decades. And at the same time, there’s this thing called the internet that has been developing for some time, and we all seem to be connected to it all the time. So why aren’t we using that in our performance management systems? Why aren’t we figuring out ways to get more constant feedback, connecting to mobile devices? Why aren’t we connecting the systems we use for constant communication into our performance management? The tools are out there, so let’s start using them.
Hope to see you there!