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Performance Management & Cultural Alignment: People over Process

Performance Management & Cultural Alignment: People over Process


Performance Management has been broken for some time. But what if the reason it has been so unsuccessful is not because of the tools or the processes, but the alignment with the organization’s culture? Check out this finding from the 2016 Performance Management Study:

How We Work – Agile Principles

Emerging from the rubble of blown-up performance management processes are two important factors for sustaining engagement in people and organizational culture; agile goal-setting and frequent feedback. As the desired-state of agile teams becomes more of a reality the need for agile goal-setting quickly becomes apparent. Due to the pace of changing priorities the feedback loop between managers and dynamic team members must be frequent and concise.

So, Culture plays a significant role in performance management success to the people practices…

Most organizations are blowing up their performance management process or at least revisiting the approach, yet are still finding it difficult to make performance management work. In Brandon Hall Group’s latest study, they found that only 28 percent of companies report performance management as adding business value to their organization, but that number rises to 42% for organizations that say they have collaborative cultures, and 61% for organizations that say they have coaching cultures.

Wow. Companies with a coaching culture are more than twice more likely to have effective performance management than the average company, According to new Brandon Hall Group research.

The answer lies in the direction of performance management as a discipline. A study research shows it is not productive or constructive for managers to save up their feedback to blast the employee with 12 months’ worth of comments and criticism. Even 12 months’ worth of praise is not as help as praise given consistently to reinforce good performance and motivate future performance.

They’re seeing a slow growth of employee-focused activities that enhance the employee experience while still delivering value for the business. This includes everything from coaching and informal feedback to shaping managers into development advisors for their employees to help them grow and succeed. But there is still a struggle in determining how to provide structure and consistency while still keeping the employee at the center of it all.

Process vs. People: Creating the Right Balance

According to Brandon Hall Group’s 2016 Performance Management Study, nearly three quarters of organizations say their performance management process is more process-focused than people-focused. For instance, the goal setting, assessing, and review process is at the forefront instead of incorporating elements such as employee strengths, in-the-moment feedback, recognition, and rewards. Perhaps that is why just 28% of companies say their current approach is an effective method for managing employee performance.

Traditional performance management does not deliver value for companies and creates an adversarial relationship between employer and employee. By gathering information on how employees are performing once or twice a year, performance management seems more punitive than productive. In addition, traditional performance management is not tied to business outcomes or overall organizational success.

When surveyed about what has changed with existing programs, companies touched on some areas that clearly indicate a shift in the traditional approach?

  • 18% supplanted annual discussions with informal, frequent feedback
  • 14% eliminated use of a forced ranking system
  • 11% replaced annual goal-setting with near-term goals

These three items are a stark contrast to the performance management processes of old: they are focused on actual business and individual performance. But, the percentage of companies actually doing this shows that much opportunity remains ensuring frequent alignment between managers and associates so that they could constructively discuss performance, development and career aspirations in a series of connected conversations towards leading practices effective in the organization.









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