Taming the Performance-Management Monster

Article excerpt

A three-headed hydra--that's the way many managers and staff perceive their companies' performance-management systems, reports a new study.

"One [head] wants to improve people's performance, another wants to help people grow and develop professionally, and the third wants to be a compensation and promotion mechanism," explains Performance Management: What's Hot, What's Not. Rarely does a company succeed in merging all three heads into one smart system.

More than 1,100 people representing 79 U.S. companies responded to the survey conducted jointly by Development Dimensions International and the Society for Human Resource Management. About 57 percent of the respondents identified themselves as managers, or as people who conduct performance reviews.

Participants were asked to rate their satisfaction with their organization's performance-planning, feedback and coaching, and performance-review practices, as well as the overall results of performance management.

The survey findings include the following:

* Regardless of position, both managers and staff see a lot of room for improvement in performance-management practices.

* Respondents give the lowest marks to feedback and coaching practices.

* Respondents don't see a clear link between their performance and their pay.

* Respondents describe performance management as a fragmented system that lacks continuity.

Based on the survey's findings, DDI and SHRM suggest that to improve performance management, organizations must do the following:

Prepare the organization for changing its performance-management process. …