Performance Management: Assess or Unleash Research Report

By BlessingWhite , a Division of GP Strategies

Performance management is a business process which appears stuck in a bygone age. This activity remains broadly disliked, cumbersome, often demotivating, and a major time drain. Moreover, it most often falls short on what it was designed to do, which is to manage performance. Individuals, managers and executives alike have little faith in the process when it comes to improving individual performance.


Today, a number of pioneering companies have decided to take a new approach, returning to the roots of the process: set expectations around individual contribution, track performance, then provide guidance and support (and occasionally remediation) for improving performance over time. Rather than lean on forms and assessments, these companies are relying on coaching, development and forward-looking approaches to achieve high performance across teams.


In this employee performance management report, we examine the results of a survey of over 1,000 employees along with feedback from interviews with HR/OD leaders, along with the practical lessons from pioneers.


Key findings from the performance management research study:


  • Those who receive coaching have a more positive attitude towards the performance review, and a more positive perception of fairness, accuracy, etc.
  • Regular feedback and coaching conversations are still the exception, rather than the rule.
  • Incrementally, the higher up in the organization the more positive your perception of the approach (fairness, accuracy, etc.). The challenge is to understand how it is experienced throughout the organization.
  • Traditional performance management processes seem to place little value on career conversations or development, despite these being key to engaging individuals.
  • What the formal process is matters less than how it is used.


Performance Management Report Recommendations


The current movement among companies – to question whether the approach to performance management is yielding the right results – is not a fad. Building an approach that sustains engagement, creates vibrant collaborative workplaces, and truly delivers higher performance now has a proven track record.


Organizations that remain dissatisfied with their current performance management approach should study this trend, and challenge current internal practices.  How far down the road to go will depend on the specifics for your organization – from shifting gradually to a more coaching-based approach to outright jettisoning of formal performance appraisals.


For those organizations looking to travel down this road, the performance management report offers six guiding principles and a four-phase process based on the lessons learned from pioneers in this space.