Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Developing a Performance Management Culture

What are the most important factors in regard to the development of a Performance Management culture?

We have been working with companies for over five years focusing on the performance and productivity of their management team and staff. It really boils down to the following ten factors:

  1. I have a complete understanding of the definition of my role and responsibilities associated with the assigned job position.
  2. The work environment has given me all the tools that I need to be a high achiever in the job position.
  3. I have a complete understanding of the workplace expectations outlined by my immediate supervisor.
  4. I have a complete understanding of the strategy (Vision, Mission, and Purpose) of the company and know what makes a difference in the marketplace with our customer.
  5. I have the information and metrics to monitor my progress toward my goals.
  6. I am aware of the market conditions and financial stability of the company at all times.
  7. I find the performance appraisal process in my company the most effective means to self-evaluate myself and measure my progress toward my goals.
  8. My supervisor is available to discuss any work related concern.
  9. People at my company are interested in my career development.
  10. I am willing to accept responsibility for my actions and be held accountable for my results. I understand that my compensation should be based on results, both the company’s and mine.

    If your employee can attest to the previous statements, then you should have a Performance based culture.

    I find it hard to believe that the management teams of companies cannot deliver on those ten criteria. Is it that we don’t know how to have this culture or our supervisor is just not holding us accountable?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Don't Show Bias in Employee Reviews

I was reading a lead article titled, “Bias Found in Employee Appraisals” found online at www, hreonline.com. It was an article that elaborated on the fact that new research shows vast discrepancies in employee appraisals by workers who report to two bosses.

I am not being critical of the author, but in what work environment would that not present itself? Performance Appraisals have always shown bias from one manager to another. Many consulting firms recommend that companies not spend money on the training and development of their managers regarding the delivery of an employee appraisal by a manager. If we don’t train to develop consistency in delivery, then how can we ever have a Performance Appraisal System without bias?

I am a firm supporter of Performance Management and the availability of a sound Performance Appraisal Process that is conducted quarterly in terms of reviewing the progress of the individual’s development plan. It is time that managers realize that the Performance Appraisal Process is the best means to communicate workplace expectations with the employee and that employee engagement is the key to retention moving forward. Managers must utilize a system for monitoring performance on a day to day, month to month basis and not just wait for the annual performance appraisal process for the data to appear. A Performance Log or file must be maintained throughout the year to note successes, learning opportunities, behavioral tendencies, etc. The Performance Appraisal Process must be more objective than subjective and certainly results-oriented. It must be based on the job description or role assigned to the employee as the role is defined today, not five years ago. It must reflect technical skills as well as performance skills that demonstrate an above average performance in that position. Above average performance should be the workplace expectation of most managers. Clear expectations must be defined. Clarity and good communication are key management skills for this to succeed. We must communicate workplace expectations in a clear, decisive, and definitive manner with the creation of a development plan for the employee. All managers must be willing to coach and mentor the employee to high performance through the use of a solid Developmental Plan of Action. I have always believed that the formulation of a developmental plan for a high achiever is one of the most difficult tasks a manager can undertake. And it certainly shouldn't be….it should be the opposite.

Both bias and the dreaded “Performance Appraisal” mentality must be eliminated from the equation….discuss expectations, monitor performance daily, and make employee engagement a priority. If you do that, the bias and subjectivity will be removed.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Frustrated by the fact that when the Stock Market or the Real Estate Market takes a turn for the worst, training and development along with marketing are the two things that immediately appear on the radar screen and are transferred to the “hit list” of most CEO’s. People development just seems to go out the window along with the things that hopefully will bring the customers in. I think the expression that my mother used was, “we tend to cut off our noses despite our face”.

It is well documented that we have the greatest number of employees leaving the workforce and we have the greatest number of future workers with the least experience ready to take their place. Due to current market conditions, we now can’t afford to train them so that our plan for the succession of the “baby boomers” goes right out the window. This transition will now become a transformation because it cannot possibly be as smooth and transparent as originally intended. We certainly enjoy being in the reactive mode and not the proactive mode.

I think we are viewing the re-structuring of our workforce very similarly to that of our highway system or mass transit system. We will worry about the problem of having companies with no trained workers only when it is time to be productive or close the doors. When are we going to realize the need for mass transit?...when there are too many cars on the highways so grid-lock is commonplace or it now takes twenty hours to go from Philadelphia to New York..

The exodus from the workforce is well under way so when are you going to feel an obligation to do something about it…..when you receive your first check from Social Security or now, when you can call it succession planning. I think as “boomers”, we are obligated to make sure that our companies have qualified people with the appropriate skills sets to make a difference in the future. Let’s not wait for our companies to be “bottle-necked” by lack of qualified personnel. Train, coach, and mentor now before it is too late and the “bottle-neck” is equivalent to “grid-lock”.