Performance Management issues in the UK

For all our flaws, as Brits, we pride ourselves on our organisation skills, politeness, and non-confrontational manner (for which we apologise for!). We may moan about the weather frequently, yet what can’t we resolve over a good cuppa? Whilst our British attributes may hold us in a favourable light, can these attributes play havoc? Are they the cause of performance management issues in the UK? Do they hold us back from implementing a successful strategy for improved performance management? Let’s discuss…

Providing accurate feedback

When it comes to managing performance effectively, research shows that goal-setting (Locke & Lantham, 1991) combined with regular feedback is critical. However, is our polite and non-confrontational stance likely to interfere with providing real, regular and quality feedback? Certainly, feedback is essential for improved performance. However,  if it is delivered in the wrong way, the impact will be minimal.

Providing accurate feedback

A manager that fears confrontation could deliver inaccurate or misleading feedback to staff. They may air on the side of caution so they avoid negatively impacting on performance further. The negative impact on performance would ultimately reflect poorly on them. However, the issue is that providing inaccurate feedback is meaningless and not conducive to improved performance.

Peer-to-peer feedback or 360 Degree Feedback could lead to further performance management issues. If employees are dishonest when providing this type of feedback, then the effort of conducting such a task is meaningless. In such instances, performance will not improve.

Ultimately, the responsibility lies with the organisation to instil the confidence needed by staff to provide quality, honest feedback. For more information on how to deliver valuable feedback, download our e-book on the subject here: ‘Feedback – the game changer for performance management’.

Reserved rating

We may be stereotyping but our reserved British character may cause another performance management issue – performance ratings. Employees with outstanding performance asked to rate their performance against a set of objectives may provide a modest rating. Our reserved, modest character may, therefore, impact the accuracy of such performance ratings.

One way to get around this performance management issue is by using a tool like Actus Recognition. The Actus Recognition Module allows peers to recognise a colleague for their hard work based on a set of core values. For example, a colleague may recognise a colleague for demonstrating a ‘tenacious’ or ‘supportive’ attitude, detailing why. By using such tools, managers can review this recognition against the employees’ ratings to help determine how accurate it is.

A job well done

Americans are typically generous with praise whereas a Brit’s reaction can often be self-deprecating and bashful.

For example, the employee feedback: ‘well done on that presentation’ elicits: ‘Oh I thought I saw a few yawns from the audience’.

Self-praise is often seen as ‘blowing your own trumpet’ and we can often show little generosity in providing it too. Whilst we are not suggesting that we all adopt the American approach, managers and employees alike can do more to show peer recognition.

When using performance ratings, negative terminology such as: ‘Meets Expectations’ or ‘Acceptable Performance’ can be highly demotivating. Compare this with aspirational language such as: ‘Fully Achieved’ or ‘Complete Performer’. The former can cause performance management issues, the latter can be highly motivational. Therefore, using the right language when offering feedback on performance and recognition is key to effective performance management.

For more information on performance ratings, access our whitepaper here.

Workplace Heritage

We have a lot to be proud of being British including a rich heritage that draws in tourists from around the world! We pride ourselves on certain traditions and practices, however, are these getting in the way of the workplace? Are they the cause of performance management issues?

According to a UK based study of 1,600 companies run by Perkbox, many UK companies are still stuck with old fashioned traditional workplace practices. These outdated practices could directly be affecting staff performance. Modern, less traditional workplaces are seen to be the future. Offering flexible hours, creative work environments and long-term career development programmes will likely increase staff performance and help to retain talent.

Improved performance management practices in the UK

Above we have outlined some of the ‘typical’ British traits in the workplace that may contribute to performance management issues. Globalisation and changing workplace demographics are reducing the significance of concerns raised in this blog. However, we should still recognise the potential impact that British characteristics and attitudes towards work can have on staff performance. Much can be learned from observing practices adopted by other countries across the globe, where productivity is greater and other factors such as work-life balance are greater yet.

If you are looking to manage performance in your workplace better, why not take a look at Actus Performance Management Software by watching the video below. Check out our customer case studies page or book a demo by clicking on the buttons below.

Request Free Actus Software Demo

View Actus Software Case Studies