Wednesday, July 29, 2015

What’s your Favorite Terminology for “Performance Management”

Performance development is to focus on positive, rather than negative aspects.

The core of "Performance Management" is to create goals that are aligned with organizational strategic objectives, and to provide reflective feedback to the person moving the particular project along. Goal alignment and performance feedback, are the heart of the approach. However, in many organizations, traditional performance management has many negative aspects: reactive, not proactive; administrative, not strategic; process-driven, not people-oriented. Is there any better terminology for “Performance Management”? And how to improve the performance of “Performance Management”?   

Performance Management has always been followed by the word "system" or "process.” First, you need to consider why you need to do performance management? Mostly, it’s for people who are faltering on certain grounds or deliverables, so you concentrate on Performance Management. You also use it for other people as well, but the focus is to manage underperformance. Strategically, Performance Management should focus on managing future performance and unleashing talent potential. In light of the performance coaching and skill-building. The activity all rolls up into management and leadership. This is what leaders do in leadership positions. They guide, they coach, they teach, they set expectations, they motivate, they develop, and they find ways to ensure that the team members can perform at their best. In a perfect world, this is all done without the need for a formal system. But in reality, you still seem to need these formal programs, which are generally designed to enable, to provide formal feedback, and to document these feedback sessions.

Performance development is to focus on positive, rather than negative aspects: Many talent management experts dislike the term Performance Management because traditionally it is a logistic and an administrative process to do routine works such as annual performance review, with much negative implication. But the words "development, enhancement, coaching, " imply a better mindset. In many organizations, employees need managerial support, resources, appropriate environment, clear goals, job-tailored training, motivation, interpersonal relationship, manuals, job aids, ergonomically designed workplace, tools, performance evaluation and feedback, culture, appropriate rules and regulations, leadership, and policies. If they are not present, the manager has to implement so that he/she can get maximum performance from the employees. Words such as development management would be better although there is a need to be clear that the manager has a job to deliver in the business as well to provide support and development to their team - so the senior management team has a role in this process too and ultimately the company ethos needs to be REAL, not just a set of words on the marketing and sales communications.

Performance communication and enhancement are to manage employees in a more proactive way to enforce their performance, rather than reactively reviewing. Performance communication is an ongoing communication about expectations, feedback, and growth through the year, check-in documentation on a quarterly basis and a summary discussion at the end of the year to set goals for next year. It is not "appraisal" or ratings only. What you want to do is to guide and motivate people to maximize their impact, their engagement with business realities, and their personal fulfillment. You want to show that management is on their side, and also, make sure that you nudge, coach and motivate them to do the right things for the organization. But anything will work so long as it captures both the individual's and the organization's needs and sets the scene for a process, that's all about bringing your cumulative best talents and efforts to bear on business challenges, and to achieve performance maximization.

One should first consider the desired outcome of the process. Yes, it is indeed a review of the employee's performance, but the terminology currently used is too narrow and specific. The desired outcome is to assess the employee's contribution and ability to fulfill tasks and objectives in line with organizational goals and vision both qualitatively and quantitatively. Do they meet the desired standard or are there gaps, what is required to fill these gaps. The business has to create metrics in order to measure the RIGHT things right. Not only measuring productivity but also innovation. Not only measuring "Doing Performance" but also "Thinking Performance." Not only assessing what's been done but also HOW's it been done. Without measurement, you have no idea if you are improving. You should have both metrics and an understanding of human nature and needs.

Still, going back to that old debate “Change the name or the mindset?” Performance management is not a silo management practice to monitor or measure the quantitative delivery of an employee; but a holistic people management discipline to involve development, enablement, and enhancement, to well align with talent management, culture management, and strategy management, to treat people, not just the cost or resource, but the human asset and capital to invest in, not just for bringing short-term result, but for driving business’s long-term prosperity.


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