HRM TV: The best way to approach performance management



written on June 28, 2017

Brian Kropp, executive director at CEB (now Gartner), talks about how the top companies organise their performance management systems.

“A lot of the arguments about companies changing their performance review process and approach to performance scores is that it just takes too much time,” Kropp says. “But two thoughts. One: providing feedback doesn’t have to be a structured one-hour conversation, it can be a ten minute conversation – you can break it up into smaller pieces, you can provide just-in-time feedback and you can provide incremental feedback.

“And the second point is that if you’re managing people, the most important thing that you can possibly do is improve the performance of the people that you’re managing. And if a company is making a decision to save an hour or two here or there at the expense of the performance of their employees, that’s just a bad allocation of resources.”

(Read our article on the eight performance myths that need to die.)

Kropp goes on to explain how HR can make the case for better performance management to a reluctant executive, and provides a case study of an HR manager that did just that.

Watch the full interview, and let us know your thoughts.

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2 thoughts on “HRM TV: The best way to approach performance management

  1. The article makes great sense in advising replacing rating and formal reviews with more regular feedback and linking performance to a business case. I still argue performance management is also about dealing with toxic employees (I call them the 2%-ers) in a time and cost effect manner. Failure to do so creates a significant drag on the performance of the overall team and the wider business (to quote Brian’s example – less beer delivered). I recommend people approach performance management as two sides of the same coin; forward-looking feedback for the good employees and problem solving conversations for the 2%-ers.

  2. This article and video moves on marginally from the old Performance Appraisal days but continues to view performance management (PM) as a separate program rather than a strategically driven, integrated organisational and HR program.
    Accenture undertook a survey on performance management systems (PMS) late in 2016 found that 94% of the managers believe in PMS’s but only 34% believe their current approach supports the objectives of the business. I am sure most of the 66% ‘non-believer’ managers have accepted the results and taken their “bonuses”. The article by Dr Kropp, I am afraid, reinforces the concept of a separate PMS program and even encourages “ad hoc” or “unstructured” feedback – sounds like an old appraisal system to me.
    There have been human capital management systems (including IT) around for between 15 to 20 years that incorporate quantitative performance management systems that are linked to the strategic direction of the organisation and empower the employees. The question that arises is why have organisations allowed themselves to get into this situation. Accenture threw out their performance appraisal back in July 2015 ’s but in their survey (Dec 2016) “Performance management is underperforming”, Accenture CEO Pierre Nanterme quotes describe perfectly the systems that have been available for the last 15 to 20 years and have become much more sophisticated in last 5 to 10 years – so again I ask why has it taken so long for the icons like Accenture, Goldman Sachs, General Electric, Gap, Abode, Microsoft, .P Morgan, Chase & Co, Citi Group, PwC and Delloite to realise there are system available that meet their needs.
    Dr Kropp uses the dentist example which is a great example of looking at the overall outcome and defining the contributing elements to this “strategic” outcome. Again, in the Beer Delivery it is obvious the horse was behind the cart not in front. If the beer delivery function and roles had been defined originally as contributing elements to the overall business then the contribution would have been obvious to management. The definition would have been firstly the outcomes and secondly measures of success in the delivery of these outcomes. This provides the position description that has the detail to allow the employees to be empowered to deliver. The feedback is continuous, structured and focussed on development so performance will improve – a completely quantitative process including real position and incumbent contribution value. Imagine if we did not take a structured and defined approach to maintaining our other whether plant and equipment, finances, materials etc and if we maintain our people assets they will appreciate not depreciate.
    A modern human capital management approach to organisational management incorporates a quantitative performance management system that empowers employees, is strategically focused and provides ongoing feedback on performance against the measures embedded into the individual position description. We agree with Accenture CEO’s words “Performance management is extraordinarily important.” And existing HCM approaches tick your boxes; “Leadership is about letting go. Trust people”, “Performance is an ongoing activity…. People want to know on an ongoing basis, am I doing right?” The methodology and systems have been available for some time so we need to get the horse back in front of the cart.

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