If it IS broke, fix it | 'For god's sake, just stop doing performance management'

'For god's sake, just stop doing performance management'

To say that performance management is important to the success of your business, in the turbulent year that is 2022, is a gross understatement.

The highly nuanced term essentially encompasses the direct correlation between what your people do, and the profitability of your business. Are workers achieving their full potential? Are they truly aligned with the business’ overall goals? Are they developing at a good rate? These are all questions that should be answered with a truly robust performance management process.

Yet for many, this is simply an annual tick-box exercise. A form to be filled in and added to the pile, never to be read, or acted upon. Unsurprisingly, this is not only damaging the overall output of the business, but also the longevity of your people, who inherently understand when they’re being forced through a bureaucratic process.

So, what does good performance management actually look like? Or, perhaps an even bigger question, is performance management really what we should be referencing when discussing the success of our people? It’s these questions that HR Grapevine sought to answer in a recent conversation with transformational people leader and Director of Innovation at Advanced, Nick Gallimore.

'Useless, box-ticking, valueless process'

Gallimore starts our conversation with a scathing state of play. “Whenever I talk to organisations, I always start by asking what performance management means to them. To put it simply, most people you ask dislike the process, don’t understand the value, and can’t link it back to improving performance. What we end up talking about is a process that’s poorly adopted, no one is excited about, and is basically a useless box-ticking, valueless process. Many see it as a pointless corporate ritual,” he says.

This is far from conjecture; our conversation is ideally timed around the release of some major research from Advanced, which discovered amongst other revelatory data, that 13% of respondents have no formal approach to performance management, and only 20% use a continuous performance management model. In essence, it seems that the situation Gallimore is describing is far from one or two bad cases – the majority of businesses are getting this process wrong.

Many organisations, according to Gallimore, need to essentially go back to the drawing board and reassess the basics of what they’re doing – and also why they’re doing it. This starts with frequency. Advanced’s research states that a significant 30% of respondents are only having these conversations with their people once a year. It’s clear to see, when taking a step back from the process itself, that such a tiny snapshot into the inner mechanics of people performance is doomed to tell just a fraction of the story. As Gallimore says, this is useless.

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