The topic of Performance Management has experienced major transformation, becoming a far more comprehensive process for improved performance and engagement. However, common myths about performance management still prevail, preventing organisations from reaping the benefits of performance management.
If performance management was purely a discussion about how wonderful we all were then we would never develop. It wouldn’t be beneficial to an organisation either to view itself or its employees with rose-tinted glasses. That being said, performance management is not about emphasising a person’s weaknesses. Instead, it is about employees feeling supported in removing performance barriers, acknowledging their strengths and clearly identifying future goals.
The CIPD defines performance management as the: ‘activity and set of processes that aim to maintain and improve employee performance in line with an organisation’s objectives’.
The key is the relationship between the manager and staff member and the style of the performance management discussion. This should make it safe for the employee to reflect on strengths and development areas and plan for growth.
There can be so much more to performance management when an effective performance management system exists! Discussions about development and career aspirations can happen and valuable feedback from colleagues and customers can be received. Training and coaching opportunities may arise from performance management discussions and staff absence can be managed. Furthermore, the scope of performance management and specifically performance management software is growing all the time.
Increasingly, organisations are recognising the need for the traditional appraisal to be replaced by ongoing performance management conversations. However, many managers cite lack of time/resources as a reason for not delivering on this.
It is often the responsibility of HR to present the business case for performance management to senior management and to explain why it should have a year-round focus. HR also need to ensure that line managers are committed to playing their part in such culture change in order to achieve the right business outcomes. For organisations that have adopted a year-round approach to performance management, the benefits far outweigh the time and resources required.
We need to reclaim the term ‘Performance Management’. The term is often considered to be about focusing on negative performance and ‘performance managing’ people out of an organisation. It is used as a verb “To performance manage someone”. We need to move away from this 70’s mindset and flip the term. We need to consider it to be about performance achievement or managing people performance. The essence is about helping people to perform with the support and help of their manager. Let’s make some positive associations with this important process and reclaim it from being purely a pre-curser to the disciplinary process.
It is easy to see where this common myth about performance management stems from. Again, it could easily be a throwback to 70’s style management! With old fashioned, top-down performance management, the onus was all on the manager, their opinion and feedback. In today’s workplace, many people do not work in the same country as their manager so their view should not be the only one considered.
A more up-to-date approach means that line managers will be drawing on numerous sources of information to get a full picture of performance. Whatsmore, they can demonstrate that feedback is based on various sources, not just their own subjective opinion. In fact, in many cases, the employee may be gathering feedback and driving the process themselves. Using an effective performance management system like Actus Software can make this process seamless. Line managers can use such systems to draw on previous one-to-ones recorded in the system, recognition given by colleagues and feedback provided. They can also review earlier set objectives to see how closely an employee has met these. This way employees can feel that performance reviews are fair and transparent.
Above we have outlined some of the common myths associated with performance management. These myths are often based on outdated management thinking and an effective performance management system can help to challenge this. That is why at Actus we not only offer Performance Management Software, but also training and consultancy to help implement and sustain excellent performance management within your organisation. To find out more about Actus Software and the training and consultancy on offer, request a demo using the button below.