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April 25, 2013

Change Your Thinking about Performance Management

Filed under: General HR Buzz6:00 am

Having recently attended SHRM’s Talent Management Conference in Las Vegas, my head is swimming with new ideas and strategies in the HR Realm.  Conferences tend to focus on where the future is heading and how we, as HR professionals, can be sure to be a relevant part of that change in our organizations –  if not a driver of change.  While Performance Management was not a significant focus of the conference this year, there were many concepts that were highly applicable in terms of making this process more strategic and effective in our organizations.  As one presenter put it, “New growth comes from new thinking.”

In many organizations, Performance Management is considered by management and employees as a necessary evil.  As a trainer, I have had many opportunities to speak with both appraisers and employees about how they really feel about this process.  Managers often dread appraisal time and do what’s necessary to get it done and off their desks for another year.  Employees are often ambivalent about it.  How can we get our managers and employees to think differently?

The answer:  Position Performance Management as a strategic process in your organization and link it to your overall success.  Give employees, at all levels, line of sight as to how this process impacts your key performance metrics.  Make the process meaningful at the highest level and work to ensure personal development outcomes.  If employees have a big picture understanding of the importance of this process AND they are realizing professional growth and development coupled with organizational success, thinking will change.

Easier said than done, I agree.  Here are some steps to get you started:

  1. As a strategic planning committee, talk about your performance management process and how it supports and sustains your strategic plan.  If it doesn’t, make the needed adjustments.
  2. Train managers.  In today’s information age, managers not only need to have a thorough understanding of your strategic plan; they also need to be able to think more strategically in their managerial and individual contributor roles.
  3. Communicate the plan and how all of your important business processes support it.  Help employees at all levels to have a clear line of sight from their day-to-day job functions to the overall success of the organization.  Studies show that employees are more engaged when their work has meaning and purpose.  It’s HR’s job to give them that vision.
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