Sunday, August 2, 2015

How to Engage Top Management in Performance Management

It is difficult to have a highly competitive organization without highly competitive talent.

Performance Management is a significant management discipline in the business system. It’s the management practice that does not have hard coded programming like other business systems but directly drives corporate mindset, attitude, and behavior. What are success factors in Performance Management? How to engage top business executives in Performance Management? And how to build an effective framework of processes and guidelines dealing with dynamic, fluid, unpredictable pool of corporate mentality and behaviors?

Fundamental to culture change, a large subject in itself, is the need for Performance Management: Every organization has its own unique set of collective thinking and behaviors, some are reluctant to change, and others are open to change. It is supported by senior management to drive the culture in the right direction - and move the strategy of the business forward. In many cases, the senior managers are afraid of the change because historically there were no solid roots for adopting new ideas. A popular quote is that, "Culture trumps strategy." This is where HR may need to start in the education of corporate management. Even with great capable people, if the culture is not right - then the best-laid plans will go very slowly and possibly stall. The spirit of an organization comes from the top. The top team has significant influence for implementing Performance Management into practice in the right way. They are serving as role model for other managers in the organization. If the top team does performance management thoroughly, then the rest levels of managers do it thoroughly as well. Bottom line: every organization has a certain culture and to succeed in any endeavor, you need to understand the culture and the drivers behind any action, to understand the culture, HR professionals need to explore the implicit cultural traits (the hidden beliefs that are difficult to know and takes time to uncover), this also takes a lot of time and effort but the results are tremendous, you will achieve your goals regardless of the difficulties. A quick practical approach is to get buy-in from a top team that if they want the business results and outcomes, then performance management is a key system that runs alongside the business processes.

Let data and analytics speak. As we all know, executive management always responds to "data," senior management usual focus is on numbers or revenues, can your Performance Management create or contribute towards more revenues? The prime understanding required is the SWOT of the management team. This is essential because the same would be reflected in the entire organization, in the people system and its function. Also the Strength - Weakness analysis of the members and whether they truly function as a team. Actually, there is an expectation of all levels of leadership, entry, mid- and executive, to critique or at least be aware of how data (S.W.O.T. analyze) affects an organization. Consequently,  the most effective way in confirming senior management's buy-in is to show how the data, directly and indirectly, affects productivity, performance, and profitability. Decisions that affect the lives of people, and the vitality of an organization, should be executed on the heels of history and data.

One of the good way to engage top managers is to apply a suitable Performance Management framework. A suitable PM framework for the organization (not one size fits all) combined with a culture and an attitude that truly values the delivery of performance feedback whenever and wherever it is needed will win out. A suitable Performance Management framework delivers the results they need, in a demonstrable or measurable way, and ideally strategical. Top managers are not interested in a time-consuming process that records history; everyone wants recognition but isn't PM supposed to enable achievement? Top managers must influence their organizational culture and management attitude via leading by example - and it's HR’s job to help them by challenging them to decide what it is that they want from it; and manage it in more integral and systematic way.

Performance enhancement through delegation, decentralization and empowerment: Though top management sponsorship is crucial, Performance Management should not be confined at the top but to all levels, at strategic areas where Performance Management can give desired results for the business, how to manage performance parameters so that desired results are achieved. In many situations, the managers need full autonomy to complete the programs and projects. It is possible only when they are empowered and delegated to take needed decisions. Otherwise, bureaucrats take advantage and the projects are unfinished. Many line managers were obstructed due to improper goals. There is a need for monitoring, evaluating and giving the right feedback for the people on the job. This also need for right leaders. It is useless to come up with a strategic business plan if the people component is not considered. Some people think that with the plan, the people component will just take care of itself. Or they are relying on HR to include programs that will support the plan. In any case, top management has to ensure that the people component is considered so that all facets of performance is covered especially since implementation of the plan will be done by people.
-Aligning the PMS with the overall organization strategy, mission, and objective and how
-Adapting to a proactive fair PMS can contribute towards the leadership strategy.
-Training and coaching to senior management that highlight the importance of having a
-Fair system contributing towards a motivated workforce leading to more productivity and revenues.

Performance - Commitment - Results. And these require management support. Having a logical flow of thinking from strategic business direction to operational planning is important, but all these have to be supported by other programs like facilities planning, market development, etc. in the business area and performance and competency development in the people area. The blessing that came through business strategy planning is the clearer direction of competency development and a clearer basis for evaluating performance. These are important pillars of Performance Management. Instead of simply saying that an assigned work was completed successfully, but giving time for evaluating how the work was achieved in terms of planning, use of available resources, clarity of direction, how teamwork was achieved (not only within a project but in using the knowledge/experience of other people), how the manager and the person involved worked in synergy, etc. From a business perspective, Performance Management, when employed as a way of maximizing results through competence, using cooperative effort rather than relying on fully self-generated effort in an open atmosphere of communication among people including staff with managers, can have deeper and longer impact on organizational performance. The usual incentive programs don't really give much push toward improving performance, but when a program digs deep into individual desire for self-improvement and each one has the opportunity/capability to improve performance with the help of management, then the program can fly.

Performance Management needs to be well integrated with talent management and culture management, and it should focus on improving future performance and talent development as well. What you can show management is how you are moving the organization toward excellence by using PM to get people who are interested in improving doing just that or those that are not - being separated. You can use PM to challenge with stretch goals the performances and behaviors if they are met consistently - you are providing no comfortable resting places. It is difficult to have a highly competitive organization without highly competitive talent.


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