Nadine Smart from Cirrus talks to HR Grapevine
Traditional performance management systems should be scrapped in favour of a holistic approach to improving individual and organisational performance, according to new research from Cirrus.
The research found a number of shared challenges across the businesses interviewed, including the need to focus on on-going conversation-focused approaches, and to develop the capability of managers to have these conversations; how to embed intrinsic motivational aspects into the goal-setting process; and how to eliminate the subjectivity of traditional ratings mechanisms.
The report also cited a widespread desire to move away from rigid systems that rely on bureaucracy and box ticking, and moving towards a more flexible model that encourages more regular and ad-hoc performance conversations.
Nadine Smart, Head of Talent at Cirrus and co-author of the report, spoke to us about the research.
What are the stigmas attached to performance management – and how can they be changed?
“Performance management is an area with many different meanings and stigmas attached to it. Changing the perceptions around performance management and re-engaging employees with it is a huge challenge. After all, it’s regarded by many employees as a dreaded process. What many forward-thinking employers want to achieve is a valuable, positive experience for everyone involved. So, how can we do this?
“It’s important to show employees that you’re listening. Gather feedback, and act on it. Communicate the purpose of performance management. Focus on the future rather than dwelling too much on past performance. Draw the line between processes and performance management so you can focus on having performance conversations rather than form-filling and tick boxes. Demonstrate to employees how this will benefit them.”
Have you witnessed any cases of better performance since changing traditional systems?
“During our research, we spoke to many organisations that have made a shift towards a more dialogue-based approach.”
As David McCormack, Head of Talent Management at AIB Group, said, it’s an ongoing journey: “Nobody has perfected performance management. I think every organisation sees value in it but every organisation also struggles with it. Some are better at it than others. Those who feel they’ve cracked it are the ones who have decided to focus on honest, timely performance conversations instead of focusing on end of year ratings and the performance management process/system. ‘Cracking it’ doesn’t mean perfecting it. Effective performance management requires an ongoing commitment. It also requires that line managers have the skills to have effective, supportive, performance conversations. If you don’t develop these skills, you’re more likely to revert to the comfort blanket of form-filling and tick boxes.”
© HR Grapevine 2016