Reinventing performance management

The once-a-year approach to performance reviews is viewed as too infrequent and inflexible to meet the needs of today’s ever-changing business environment  

Taqi- Takatuf PicA growing number of organisations are questioning the value of performance management and its effect of delivering meaningful impact to the organisation. Performance management is often a source of great frustration for employees who do not clearly understand their goals or what is expected of them at work. For managers, it has evolved into a process that is mandatory by HR to be completed and so is turned into a tick box exercise rather than a valuable input to developing capabilities in the organisation.

Many industry leaders, such as Accenture, Adobe, General Electric, Google, Microsoft and Netflix, have made headlines for pioneering large-scale changes to their traditional performance evaluation systems, and many more are considering reinventing their approach to performance management. Organisations are calculating the lost time and productivity spent on traditional approaches to performance evaluations and having thoughts on how to better utilize their people and cost allocation in this activity.

Take for example the subject of feedback; it is deeply rooted in the Omani culture to be respectful of peers and always be a voice of support to others, however in a lot of organisations in Oman, this has lead managers to shy away from assessing employees objectively in the fear of repercussions and thus impacting the employees of potential growth and the organisation in creating a high-performance culture. The leadership of any organisation is responsible to set the tone and culture it creates, and therefore leaders play a pivotal role in their ability to create an environment that fosters results whilst demonstrating the right behaviors in achieving those results.

The trend elsewhere is shifting, where annual review cycles are being replaced by a method of ‘Check in’s’ on a quarterly basis through a simplified conversation focusing on pivots/improvements and development. The once-a-year approach to performance reviews is viewed as too infrequent and inflexible to meet the needs of today’s ever-changing business environment. Key performance objectives are being replaced with a focus towards Objectives and Key results, which fundamentally allows departments to have better synergies and understanding of each other’s contribution towards the overall business. Finally, building managers to be better coaches and in guiding their employees through constructive feedback whilst ensuring learning and development remains a central part of the ongoing performance discussion.

It would be unwise for organisations to drop the subject of performance completely, hence it’s time for leaders to dig deep into the process and culture of performance and identify innovative ways to amend it if required and ensure its creating meaningful results that justify all the time and emotional efforts invested in it.


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