by Linda Sharkey
Is your Performance Evaluation System Helping or Getting in the Way of a Talent Rich Culture
Process versus the People
Are your year-end performance discussions more painful than they are worth and would most of your managers prefer to throw the system out? Are you doing them merely to comply with legal requirements or to decide who gets paid what? If so you are missing the mark on a very powerful system that can build your brand as a talent based culture and market leader.
We need to consider some key human resource systems to make sure that they are aligned with the culture you are creating and not working against it.
As we researched performance management systems in over 500 Fortune 1000 companies and talked with HR leaders in over 60 of them we discovered that the process was often more important than the outcome. Checking the box once a year to make sure the employee and manager had at least one performance discussion seemed to be the prevailing outcome achieved. Others focused on compensation alignment. Few focused on creating a system where employees and their managers truly had a dialogue that actually helped employees understand how they could continue to grow and improve. To quote several senior HR leaders “we are highly tactical in our approach and we don’t really use it to drive alignment to our culture and to our overall business strategy”.
Getting it Right
Here are ten proven steps that everyone can use to support a talent rich culture.
- Be crystal clear on the purpose of your performance management system. What is the people philosophy that you are trying to promote through this system?
- Ensure that the system aligns with your values. Make sure that these values are discussed so that everyone understands that what you do is as important as how you do it.
- Create a working profile of what the values look like in action. State the values in terms of behaviors that everyone can recognize. This way everyone in the organization understands the standard of the” best”.
- Train all you leaders and managers to recognize great behavior, assess talent and provide specific and actionable feedback.
- Teach managers and leaders how to effectively coach. Agree on a coaching model and consistently apply it throughout the organization.
- Create peer coaching circles to help teams support each other in learning new skills and “grooving” new behaviors. These circles enable employees to learn to ask each other for help when they need it and share suggestions and ideas.
- Create a simple form for year-end performance reviews that is 1 page – no more than 2 if you must. Include specific business achievements, behaviors demonstrated, career goals and aspirations and finally what the employee needs to do to continue to grow in their current role or prepare for the next role.
- Don’t just reward for business outcomes; reward for expected behaviors as well.
- Measure and track the impact your system is having on the desired culture. Examine your employee engagement scores to ensure feedback and coaching is happening through the year and measure your alignment to your culture so that you don’t lose sight of keeping your values on track.
- Link all your talent and performance discussions together to make sure you are sending consistent messages in the talent discussions as well as in performance calibration discussions.
- Communicate, communicate and communicate more about the impact of an effective system and how it is building a great place for shareholder value, customer loyalty and employee engagement!
If you follow these ten steps you will build a system that becomes part of your DNA, where people and leaders regularly help each other to succeed through effective feedback and coaching. This was you will be providing performance feedback through the year and the end of the year “pain” goes away! Try it you might like it.
Linda Sharkey is an HR Executive and Business Strategist with experience coaching and developing leaders and teams in Fortune 10 companies. Dr. Sharkey is the author of Optimizing Talent and The Future-Proof Workplace.