Performance Management Practices – ‘Going Through the Motions’

Because performance management practices are too infrequent (perhaps annually or, at best, twice year) there’s sense that in many instances it’s simply “going through the motions” rather than concentrating on how it can help achieve organisational goals and individual development.
In fact, it seems some organisations that conduct performance management practices, don’t know why they do it in the first place. Around 30 percent of participants either didn’t indicate or don’t have any strategic purpose for their performance management system.
And the result is that in some instances the performance review and the related administration dominate the process, rather than the desired outcomes.
“There are many instances of excellent practice,” says Deloitte HR senior consultant Michael Jamieson who conducted the survey. “But it’s also fair to say that many organisations pay lip-service to the notion. You get the impression performance management is done because people feel they need to do it, but don’t really understand the benefits it can bring.
“In many ways, it resembles Dilbert cartoon of people being measured with no one really knowing why or against what.”
Deloitte HR partner Brenda Sayers says organisations can benefit greatly from aligning effective performance management techniques with the overall strategic objectives of the organisation.
“If organisations accept that people are their greatest asset – and few dispute that – then those organisations with the most effective performance management systems are the ones most likely to increase productivity, retain staff longer and boost profitability,” says Sayers.
The survey also revealed opportunities for New Zealand organisations to improve business through enhanced performance management practices, including:
? Measurement and rewards to reinforce company values and drive business performance;
? Better use of performance management information for workforce planning purposes and to identify and retain talent;
? Greater use of coaching and mentoring strategies at all levels;
? 360 degree feedback in most sectors, especially for senior managers and leaders;
? Incorporating personal and career development plans at all levels; and
? Ensuring the performance management system structure is appropriate to the strategic goals of the organisation, its size and workforce.
“Our survey makes us believe that in New Zealand the workforce is resource that is not being fully utilised or harnessed,” says Sayers, referring to reports published several weeks ago in which Reserve Bank economists Iris Claus and Christie Smith noted that while the so-called “new economy” exists in New Zealand there is lack of evidence to show that it has improved productivity.
“Improving performance management practices will be an important means to enable employees to perform to their capability and to enable employers to benefit from improved employee effectiveness,” says Sayers. “In today’s fast-paced business environment this is vital component for keeping ahead of competition.”

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