Earlier this year, we carried out our annual Performance Management Survey, asking over 300 organisations to take part and share their specific challenges in driving and managing performance. Nearly a quarter of those we surveyed felt that their organisation was “oor” when it came to driving and managing performance, whilst only 5% considered it to be “Very Good.”
For many businesses, the performance management culture still centers around the performance appraisal system and is regarded by many as nothing more than a formal, box ticking activity.
At Global Edge, we believe that open and constructive Conversations around performance should be an on-going process, one that is interwoven within the cultural fabric of your business, rather than an annual burden. Through our research and experience, we have identified a further nine ingredients which we believe are critical for an organisation to become world-class at driving and managing performance. These include Feedback, Ownership, Engagement and Clarity.
We based our survey, on these ten ingredients, asking participants to select one of two statements on each that most fitted how performance is managed within their own organisation. .
For many of the ingredients, it seems that a big gap exists between current practice and and what we believe makes for strong performance management. Particularly striking was the response with regards to Feedback. Of those surveyed, 71% agreed with the statement that “People lack the skills and confidence to give and receive open and honest feedback,” with comments reflecting the widespread view that feedback is often considered time consuming and difficult to express honestly and constructively.
This is an interesting statistic, considering a recent XpertHR Survey on performance management found that almost half of employees see the lack of feedback as a “major obstacle,” and yet 51% cite it as the best way of tackling underperformance. It seems that managers do recognise the need for feedback, but that they also need to feel more confident and capable when it comes to having those performance conversations.
The same XpertHR Survey also found that only 8% of employers feel that they have succeeded in tackling underperformance. Our results concerning another ingredient – Ownership – may point to one of the main reasons why, with only 33% of those questioned agreeing that managers take full responsibility in managing performance as an integral part of their role. People’s comments again suggested that managing performance can be arduous and time consuming, with managers rarely taking full ownership for poor performance; one participant went so far as to write, “our managers often cannot describe what good or poor performance looks like!”
With the lack of feedback, ownership from managers and the fact that less than half of participants feel engaged or motivated by their leaders (Engagement), it is therefore unsurprising that 65% of participants feel that they often do not know what is expected of them and how their performance will be monitored (Clarity). Many of the comments suggested that these are all challenges businesses are trying to tackle; however, it is clear that more needs to be done, especially in environments where one participant admitted, “change is fast.”