Employees don’t know if they’re performing correctly? Huh. That’s a problem…

infrastructureHave you ever heard the old saying “hope is not a strategy?” Hope may, in fact, lead to success or it may not. If it does lead to success, the chance of repeating the success isn’t very good unless you know exactly what you did to achieve it.

In my email this morning was an article from Mark Murphy of LeadershipIQ. I like his stuff; it’s research grounded and generally practical.  The research he presented this morning was a survey of 30,000+ employees who were asked to rate “I know whether my performance is where it should be.”  I guess it’s encouraging that almost 30% said “Always,” and another 14% responded “frequently.” But that’s still less than half of a humongous research sample.

So if over half of a group of employees are not sure if the work they are doing is meeting expectations or not, you have to ask the question, “Is it?” And if it isn’t, is it costing more than it should to duplicate work, correct mistakes or go down the wrong path? Probably. (more…)

A Little Secret about Performance Management

band-wagon-2-cir-parade-09It is time for all good consultants and vendors everywhere to jump on the performance management bandwagon. Accenture led the cause by retooling their performance management system, and the business media grabbed the topic and ran with it.  Now, everywhere I look there are articles, journals and webinars that promise to revive and improve this apparently terminal process.

I’ve been reading them (as much as I can – there’re a bunch) to see what has really changed. Is anything new and different? Last year I eagerly read about Accenture’s transition, ready to hear new and different. Instead, I read that they were increasing the frequency of the performance dialogue and adding a simpler documentation process.

Hang on a sec….isn’t that what we HR types have always tried to espouse? More frequent conversations and better documentation?  I read more and found little else new. What did stand out to me is that the change came, not from HR, but from the organization itself – from the operational leaders who were dissatisfied with the bureaucracy of the current program. (more…)

5 easy steps to “fix” your organization’s performance management program

performanceYou don’t like your company’s performance management plan?  Join the crowd! Everyone’s getting into the act these days, bashing a process that has become ridiculously bureaucratic and totally unhelpful.

Managers complain and drag their heels or scratch the surface of the program by doing a bare minimum and, because of their lack of commitment, what they do makes the process unpopular and ineffective.  HR spends their time chasing after compliance rather than partnering on really improving performance.

Some organizations have recognized the need for a systematic change at the organizational level, and are making that happen. But if it’s not changing where you’re at, why are you waiting around for the organization to change the program?

You are bright, intelligent leaders who have achieved a position of responsibility for your team, right? Why not take the program you’re given and make it work for you? After all, it’s pretty simple: set good expectations, provide regular and honest feedback, and ideally improve overall performance. You don’t need a fancy system to do that. It’s Leadership 101. (more…)