Four signs you need to reshape Performance Management now

Performance management is evolving and we’ve discussed in our previous post why businesses should explore the transition to the Next Practice.

There is a great consensus among businesses on the necessity of creating a new method of performance management. HR professionals as well as business leaders underline the importance of an effectively functioning performance management approach and tool.

However, how can you tell if your business is ready to reshape performance management?

Here are four common signs to tell if you need to reshape performance management.

Absence of process

The need for a new performance management system starts from the problem that “we don’t have processes.” It’s important to be able to understand your operational processes in detail so that you improve the existing performance management system.

Another main issue connected to performance management is the fact that there is no holistic structure in a company. For instance, job titles might be the same but what they mean might be completely different from operation to operation. This indicates a lack of overall discipline that needs to be addressed.

There may also be a case that your team is not engaged enough to set objectives and work towards meeting them. This can lead to the danger of having managers setting their own targets that could keep your business even further from a holistic approach.

Moreover, the absence of process can also indicate a lack of leadership culture. The biggest challenge shows up when you realise that your business may have too many managers but too few leaders. We have too many managers and too few leaders. A lot of managers think they are delivering by focusing on results but they don’t see that in order to deliver you need to focus on people first.

Lack of support

If support is not present in a business, then performance management cannot be successful. Performance Management should not simply be ‘the tool’ but also the process that will allow employees to be engaged and successful.

HR should also have the right skills to apply an improved performance management practice. Education and training can be the starting point of a cultural baseline where employees have the support that they need and the business can enjoy the benefits of it.

Time management

It’s common for a business to face problems with time-related objectives. The lack of alignment between input and output can make the time objectives irrelevant once they’re actually measured. Managers need to acknowledge the problem and it becomes a personal matter whether they are able to succeed once bureaucracy takes over. For example, managers may hold their people accountable for the realization of their objectives when in reality these objectives have been abandoned.

Time management can become even worse when manual work is involved in keeping everyone accountable. Performance management becomes more challenging and there needs to be a new system.

Lack of clarity

The lack of clarity and standardisation can end up with managers creating their own objectives. Performance management can be focused too much on the results rather than the processes or the team.

Team members may feel frustrated from the lack of clear directions while there may also be demotivation because of the misalignment of objectives. Thus, performance management needs to be redefined.

What’s next?

It’s encouraging that more organisations acknowledge their problems regarding performance management. It’s a sign that they are ready to set a new approach with clear expectations that are in line with organizational purpose.

They are aiming for new HR solutions that:

– Align individual work/goals to organizational goals;

– Improve communication;

– Develop and nurture employees;

– Help individuals and teams to perform to their highest potential;

– Support continuous feedback and learning.

A modern workforce simply expects a proper PM process as part of the total employee experience. If we don’t secure this we run the risk of losing our most talented people to our competitors.

About the authors

Nicolien Dellensen, Senior Consultant with Time To Grow Global is a behavioural and research specialist.

Govert van Sandwijk is Managing Partner, specialising in Strategy Facilitation, Leadership development and Organisational performance.

As such both are and have been involved helping our clients reshaping their Performance Management approach.


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