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Evaluating Your Current Performance Management Process – Part I

Evaluating Your Current Performance Management ProcessIn our last article we discussed the fear of having performance management conversations and provided a few options to address managers’ concerns. In this article, we will discuss how to address one of the concerns around a performance process that does not make sense and specifically how to get managers and others involved in evaluating the current performance management process.

A performance management system that works for one organization will not necessarily work for another. Take a long hard look at your current performance management system. Start by asking the following question of all employees (leaders, managers, individual contributors):

  • Does it meet the needs of the organization, management and staff? To answer this question consider:
    • Is it simple to use but also of value to all?
    • Is it consistent throughout the organization?
    • Does it help the manager and employee to set goals?
    • Does it help employees to succeed?
    • Does it help the organization to achieve goals?
    • Does it help departments/divisions achieve their goals?

You might do this through departmental meetings or via a survey. For larger organizations, you don’t need to have every single employee participate, but rather you might select a representative number from all levels within the organization. Choose a mix of participants including:

  • A mix of leaders, managers, individual contributors
  • From all departments/divisions/workgroups
  • From those who believe the performance management system works and from those who believe it is ineffective

You want diversity in this group as the variety of perspectives will be of value to you in gathering sufficient data to enable for improvements to the performance management system.
Research also:

  • Compliance with the current system
  • How effectively the current system is used
  • When the system was last updated/revised

Consider also – why was the current performance management system developed? Was it to do any of the following:

  • Document and address employee performance issues?
  • For making decisions on promotions and/or salary increases?
  • To determine employee training needs?
  • To provide regular feedback to employees on their performance?
  • To ensure that work being completed was aligned to organizational/division or department goals?

Or…was it developed simply because it was believed that a performance management system was needed?

Ask managers the following questions either in small group meetings, one-on-one or via a survey:

  • How comfortable are they having performance conversations with their employees?
    • What, specifically, are their challenges in having these conversations?
    • Do they perceive that the performance conversations are aligned to and enable for meeting individual employee goals?
    • Do they perceive that the performance conversations are aligned to and enable them to meet department goals?
  • What do managers need in order to perceive more value from the performance management conversations with their employees?
  • What does the ideal performance management system look like from their perspective

I also find value in asking about previous companies at which managers have worked and what they liked/didn’t like about performance management systems at those organizations.

And, ask employees they perceptions of the performance management system. This might be done through a survey and you may choose to let employees remain anonymous if that is more comfortable for the. Ask them:

  • What do they like or dislike about it?
  • What value do they find in the process?
  • What would make it more valuable for them?
  • What types of performance management systems have they experienced at other organizations and did they find those systems valuable?
  • What else would they like to share about the process?

In part II of this article we will discuss what to do once you have all this data gathered.

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