In theory, performance management has a simple yet noble mandate: to track and review employee performance and productivity.
A productive workforce is a happy one. One that has great retention and low turnover. One that encourages employees to succeed rather than admonish them for failing. It’s positive, collaborative and celebrates winning.
A productive workforce gets stuff done. It marches in synch with company initiatives, each employee contributing to the overall goals of the team. It’s clear, efficient, accomplishes its objectives in a timely manner, and wins deals.
When the conversation turns towards performance management a lot of people cringe. Somehow, this noble endeavor has become counter to its goals. Let’s face it, managing reviews and goals is painful.
- Painfully anxious for the meticulous employee because his “quick and dirty” style manager may not appreciate the careful methodical approach and score him low on performance: “He is not meeting my expectations”.
- Painfully confusing for the manager who reviews his team members performance based on abstract competencies like: “Is this person loyal to your company?” Well, I think he is.
- Painfully difficult for a busy manager to review and compare performance from 2 weeks ago against performance from 11 months ago. Is it even fair, given the changing environment of a small business pivoting, growing, changing?
- Painfully tiring for admins to chase down overdue reviews, send incomplete reviews back and encourage all employees to complete their goals on time.
- Painfully time-consuming for admins to read through 360 and self-reviews and censor all those naughty words and educate the workforce to provide positive and constructive feedback.
It’s tough to encourage a happy and productive workforce given how painful performance management has become. The bottom line is that performance management is marred by a widening gap between managers’ and employees’ workplace issues. This gap is obvious in how often we have a review, and how often we talk about goals. Once a year is just not often enough.