Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Bridging Gaps in Talent “Performance Management”

Performance management is a holistic people management discipline to involve development, enablement, and enhancement.

The core of "Performance Management" is to create goals that are aligned with organizational strategic objectives, and to provide reflective feedback to the person who can make continuous improvement. However, in many organizations, traditional performance management has many negative aspects: reactive, not proactive; past-focused, not future oriented; administrative, not strategic; process-driven, not people-centric. How to bridge the gaps and improve the performance of “Performance Management”?   

Bridging the gaps between the past performance and future performance: Performance Management has always been followed by the word "system" or "process.” First, you need to consider why you need to do performance management.  Strategically, Performance Management should focus on managing future performance and unleashing talent potential. However, in many traditional organizations, performance management becomes an annual routine to focus mainly on the past performance, treat people as the human resource. Move the purpose of performance reviews away from "evaluating" the past, and to improving success in the future; from treating people as the human resource and a “fixed asset”  tore think people as human capital to invest in. When you lead a business or an organization, you really need to be passionate about what you are trying to achieve for the customer and long term prosperity of your organization. You then need to be able to convey this passion to your people and show passion for both the customer and your people. Digital leaders need to be talent master, they guide, they coach, they suggest, they set expectations, they motivate, they develop, and they find ways to ensure that the team members can align their personal goals with the business goal, and perform at their best for the future.

From subjectivity to objectivity: No evaluations or employee reviews are absolutely objective. Subjectivity abounds so you need to stop pretending that your ways of evaluating employee performance are objective. Traditional Performance management does not work well, simply because, for most employees, their results or outcomes are dependent on other people and other factors. What is important is setting agreed upon goals and objectives, establishing key indicators, and then working with the employee so there is a common understanding of goals and agreement on how to measure them. It means a negotiated and interactive approach with well-designed work processes and systems, collaborative colleagues, insightful leadership, and great communication.

Shift from an administrative performance management process to an interactive talent development scenario: 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. In many organizations, employees need creative leadership, interpersonal relationship, managerial support, resources, appropriate environment, clear goals, job-tailored training, motivation, manuals, job aids, ergonomically designed workplace, tools, performance evaluation and feedback, culture, appropriate rules and regulations, and policies. If they are not present, the manager has to implement so that he/she can get maximum performance from the employees. Therefore, talent development management needs to be integrated with performance management, and shift from reactively annual performance reviewing to proactively guiding, advising and motivation. It also indicates 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, to shift from an administrative performance management process to an interactive talent development scenario. 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.
Mapping the employee’s performance to the overall business performance: One should first consider the desired outcome of the performance management process and scenario. 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 the 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? Business has to create metrics in order to measure the RIGHT things right. Not only measuring productivity but also innovation. No only measuring "Doing Performance" but also evaluating "Thinking Performance." Not only assessing what's been done but also HOW's it been done. Without measurement, you have no idea if people are improving. You should have both metrics and an understanding of human nature and needs. That's all about bringing your cumulative best talents and efforts to bear on business challenges and to achieve performance maximization.

Performance Management is more as planning than tools: Performance Management is not a bunch of paperwork, but a combination of actions leading to a constantly improving product. Performance Management uses performance evaluation as the main tool, it will not be of much value. But when it is more on work or performance planning, then better results will follow. Performance Management gets "stuck" when the people in charge get "stuck." A manager is involved with his/her people and is there to teach, advise, listen, correct, reward, motivate, and discipline, things change for the better. This is Performance Management. Managers are leaders/trainers/teachers, and it is their job to prepare their people, not only for their current job but for their next job as well. Evaluation is water down the bridge even if this is supposed to be used for development or as a lesson for future work unless the work will be exactly the same. But if performance management is done at the initial stage where managers review work approaches to accomplish goals and sustained throughout the work as it is being done, then there will be better chances for success. This is why regular discussions during the course of accomplishing a goal are helpful. The words "development, enhancement, coaching," imply a better mindset for performance management.

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. Until and unless there is a mutual agreement between both management and staff as to a vested and balanced approach to the goals and vision of the organization, the performance management process will most likely remain an adversarial relationship. Simply input, buy-in, and ownership are the keys to advancing the mutual goals of the organization.


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