Performance Management: It Really Does Work, But Managers Are the Key

AdminHR Technology, Performance Culture

Employee performance is not the sole responsibility of HR. The management of employee performance is a day-to-day responsibility of managers and supervisors.

Much research suggests that effective managers trigger better results. They are the key to creating a high performance culture where people have a palpable commitment to the success of their organization.

The goal of a competitive organization should be to fully utilize the capabilities of our people. As several research studies show, that rides on the effectiveness of managers and supervisors.

A recent study  by a Wharton professor, Ethan Mollick, reported in the paper, People and Process, Suits and Innovators: The Role of Individuals in Firm Performance, concluded, “They may have a greater impact on company performance than almost any other part of the organization.”

Employers need the best tools and processes to be able to explain and defend decisions based on performance – promotions, pay increases, terminations, etc. The law is always a consideration. Employees of course need constructive feedback and coaching to improve performance and for individual development planning.

Managers: The Decisive Factor in Winning the Hearts and Minds of Employees

The current media attention to employee engagement is another selling point for performance management. Gallup’s research highlights the role of managers in strengthening employee commitment as a strategy to improve performance. Nine or 10 of their Q12 survey questions focus on issues relevant to performance management, starting with, “Do I know what is expected of me at work?”

Gallup was among the first to emphasize the importance of managers. Their research shows the best managers “are the decisive factor in winning the hearts and minds of employees.”

Its probably fair to say that much of the recent bad press around performance management is tied to antiquated and inefficient practices. Corporate leaders are clearly looking for better answers. This is a test for HR. We have the knowledge to develop performance systems that avoid or minimize the problems highlighted by the critics.

Leading by example – Collaborative Performance Management

The best way to get company-wide buy-in is to involve managers and supervisors in defining the goals and the steps to finalize the changes in the way performance is managed.

Involving respected managers in the planning will be important to gaining acceptance for new policies, system and practices. They will also be instrumental in selling the change to their colleagues.

With guidance on a few technical issues, they are fully capable of developing an approach that meets their needs.