Reinventing Performance Management (PM)

PDRI is Taking a New, Bold Approach to Deliver the True Promise Of Performance Management

When organizational leaders are polled about performance management, there is a clear and steady disparity between the reasons they implement it and what they actually get out of it:

The Hope of PM

  • Produces visible improvements in individual and organizational performance
  • Provides coaching and feedback to help employees learn and grow
  • Helps everyone understand what is expected
  • Inspires high performance individually and team-wide
  • Aligns to organizational goals and performance

The Reality of PM

  • Consists of disconnected steps with little perceived value
  • Is a formal, one-time event driven by HR but not owned by leaders
  • Engenders a ‘Check the box’ mentality
  • Becomes a perfunctory, administrative process
  • Costs time and is burdensome for managers and team members
  • Drives only short-term behavior changes

Performance Management is profoundly broken but should not be abandoned. High-performing, successful organizations require a foundation of ongoing, effective performance management. So how is this accomplished?

PDRI's Performance Management Model

Rule #1 — Reset your mindset

We need to change our collective mindset about PM. It’s not the formal system but rather critical day-to-day behaviors that drive important business outcomes.

When people think about Performance Management (PM), what usually comes to mind is the formal HR system, consisting of steps, forms, rules, procedures, and software for conducting appraisals. However, research has shown that the top drivers of employee engagement and high performance are not the formal aspects of PM systems, but rather the quality of relationships and trust between employees and their supervisors. The promise of PM can thus be realized only if there is a fundamental shift our collective mindset about what PM is. We need to embrace the idea that PM is not just a once- or twice-yearly event driven by the formal system but rather, critical everyday behaviors for which everyone is responsible.

Rule #2 — Ditch the formal system–Build the informal one

We need to stop focusing on the formal PM system and build up the informal one by focusing on behaviors that matter.

More than 50 years of research has attempted to improve PM systems in every way imaginable. Sadly, none of these complex and burdensome strategies has been shown to fulfill the promise of PM. We don’t need more complexity — formal process steps to conduct and forms to complete. Instead, training and tools are needed to drive three critical behaviors among the entire workforce:

  • Vision: Where the organization is going and how each person’s work fits
  • Action: Real-time expectations and ongoing, informal feedback./li>
  • Growth: Challenging developmental experiences and the freedom to learn

Click here to learn more about the PM behaviors that produce results.

Rule #3 — Change your organization's DNA

Give your transformation staying power by weaving ‘Everyday PM’ into the fabric of the organization.

More important than initiating change is actually sustaining change. Give your new approach to PM some staying power by making it part of the organization's embedded culture. Train supervisors and employees how to engage in the behaviors that matter and reinforce this training with accountability and feedback. Consistently and positively reinforce the use of PM on a daily basis, and you’ll notice how PM becomes an integral part of the organization — every day and in every way. Moreover, when you sustain an ‘everyday PM’ process, you’ll notice that high-performing behavior becomes a cultural norm.