Why Performance Management is changing

flockofcats - performance management not working

Why Performance Management is changing

Current approaches to Performance Management are not working

We have significant productivity challenges in the UK, and the generation coming into the workplace has different needs and expectations. Regardless of size, sector and context, we need to really engage with performance and delivering results. Setting annual objectives, and conducting an appraisal once a year based on these objectives simply does not impact performance.

Some questions about your current performance management experience….

  • How do you look forward to your appraisal – whichever side of the table that you are on (metaphorically speaking)?
  • How often do objectives get referred to?
  • How often are they relevant to day-to-day performance?
  • How quickly are they out of date, and overtaken by events?
  • What value does your current approach to Performance Management actually add?

The Chairman and CEO of Accenture wrote last year about the changes they are making:

  • In today’s real-time world, people are getting everything they need to know instantly from their social media networks and digital devices. Our job as leaders is to create the right environment for the new generation to flourish in their careers
  • Increasingly people want immediate feedback about how they are doing. If we put them in the decades-old, traditional box of rear-view performance management, we will lose them, and rightfully so. After all, who wants to wait for an annual cycle for feedback, when, in fact, performance happens every day?

Current Performance Management approaches have their roots in Taylorism and Scientific Management. This is all about efficiency and an underlying assumption that there is a ‘right’ way to do things, and that managers know what it is, and the workers’ job is to do they are told by managers. Okay, a little exaggerated maybe, but this is where Performance Management has evolved from.

This ‘traditional’ approach can work in contexts where work is repetitive, practical and requires little ‘thinking’ – but today, where so much of work is about dealing with complex issues, building relationships, working across traditional boundaries, rapid change, turbulence, uncertainty and new technology – the approach of ‘managing performance’ through a process of annual objectives and appraising and (maybe) rewarding against these objectives is not working.

Conversations about, and a focus on performance needs to be an ongoing, continuous process that engages both employees and managers.

Most performance management systems focus on the individual and pay very little attention or consideration to team and collective performance. Perversely, so much of work now requires collaboration and teamwork. The 12-month period associated with most systems is relatively arbitrary. It is increasingly difficult to predict performance that far ahead. Circumstances change, and systems are often not flexible enough to adapt.

Many aspects of society and the world of work have changed, but to what extent has our approach to managing performance changed to keep pace?

We need to take a more holistic view. Rather than thinking that we can manage performance through an annual appraisal process, we need to develop a culture in organisations that enables individuals and teams to achieve great performance results.

Contact us to discuss how we can help you to do this.