Recently a Human Resource Director came to me with a new exciting and courageous vision for performance feedback for her organization. She reported:
"We realized that what we were doing wasn't working to get employees engaged. Our goal was to create a process that was simple and allowed the employee to partake in their own performance discussion."
Within a few weeks, her organization buried appraisal and implemented a feedback system with frequent interactive performance discussions. In essence, their Performance Appraisal was not meeting expectations. Her honest assessment was consistent with the findings of current research on Performance Appraisal.
Most current performance appraisal and management systems fall into the 90-90-60 Club. The latest SHRM report documents that these systems are disliked by 90% of managers and HR professionals and 60% of employees.
It is impressive and appropriate that 40% of organizations have or are considering junking their systems. Dumping systems that are a waste of time is a good thing, but replacing it with a feedback system that provides meaningful discussions of performance, employee engagement, and increased productivity can be a culture shift and competitive advantage. Fortunately, we have been given the critical elements of an effective performance feedback system from a Gallup survey of 80,000 managers in this country that was conducted over decades (Buckingham, Coffman). These critical elements are simple, frequent feedback, focus upon the future, and self-tracking.
What needs to happen for things to change?
First, the value of frequent meaningful feedback has become increasingly more apparent since Millennials entered the workforce. Research tells us that Millennials expect feedback at least weekly from their managers. This feedback will not occur by declaration. Managers and employees must be trained to gain the skills and perspectives to make an ongoing dialogue reality. Managers must rethink their managerial penchants to diagnose and fix, rather than listen and facilitate.
Second, the formal discussions must be radically changed. The employee must be a partner and a driver in the discussion. The employee should be initially responsible to identify the critical duties and outcomes of the job and tracking their own performance.
Third, the focus of the discussion should be now and in the future. In place of a form, an outline would be provided that could become the document of record.
You could expect similar results of this client:
“Yesterday I had one manager tell me that the review process was kind of fun. It was probably the best decision we've made!”
In the online Master’s of Human Resource Management program at Saint Mary’s University, students build the skills needed to effectively analyze and evaluate organizational HR programs. Topics like performance review systems are covered in HRM 601 and HRM 602.
Jim Laumeyer is an Assistant Professor in the M.A. in Human Resources Management program at Saint Mary’s University.