Article: Shifting paradigms in performance management

Performance Management

Shifting paradigms in performance management

Today, a majority of managers will tell you that traditional methods are no longer proving to be effective in motivating employees. There is an immediate need for a paradigm shift in the performance management system.
Shifting paradigms in performance management

There has never been a more crucial time for performance management than now. With constant changes in priorities and resources, employees have become the key to creating a business, brand, and service that stands a class apart. In this context, a performance management system not only ensures a performance boost, but also instills values and behaviors that add to creating the right working culture.

Today, a majority of managers will tell you that traditional methods are no longer proving to be effective in motivating employees. There is an immediate need for a paradigm shift in the performance management system. Here are five steps that can help achieve the same:

Do away with ranking

We need to understand the fact that everyone is different. It’s simply counterproductive to compare people to each other. Not to mention, it’s unfair as well. When we realize that each person is unique, we will see that everyone brings a different set of skills and capabilities to the table. All that’s required is good management to encourage it.

Rating and ranking systems put people in a specific box. Therefore, each person should be evaluated and assessed based on tasks and goals that are set for them specifically. This encourages collaboration and teamwork rather than making employees focus their time on competing or outperforming each other.

Create a continuous process

Performance reviews should not be conducted on an annual basis. It should be a continuous process that allows for conversations between employees and managers over short periods. It could help solve issues and address problems while providing immediate feedback rather than waiting for a whole year to pass. It will also encourage employees to be more transparent as they work in a friendlier environment. The feedback and communication will also facilitate individual development, taking the organization to new heights.

Upskilling of managers

The performance management system can really suffer if the managers do not possess the right skills, attitude, knowledge, and aptitude. Unless managers develop a passion for people development, it could be disastrous for the entire organization. They must develop the ability to be more empathetic and help people grow. They must also be able to bring out the best in people by recognizing talent so that they can be systematically coached to leverage their true potential. Therefore, managers themselves need to be equipped with the right set of skills to understand the capacity of the people in their charge.  

Shift in conversations

Traditional performance review methods were a conversation between managers and employees regarding past performance errors. This meant that employees were burdened with the task to prove that they performed their duties effectively, while managers pointed out the missed spots. This creates an environment where employees begin to focus on a way to defend themselves rather than putting that effort into doing their job well. 

What if the process was vice versa, wherein a manager is now tasked with finding the constraints that limit the employee’s performance? This could ensure that an employee can begin to work on areas that need improvement while the manager is in charge of highlighting an employee’s strengths. This will create a positive environment that encourages growth rather than pointing out a mistake.

An autonomous process

Again, we see that traditional methods operate on set principles where managers are given the task to set goals, tasks, timelines, etc. while also deciding on the teams that a particular employee needs to join. However, the new system needs to empower an employee to reach their goals. This means that an employee should decide how, when, and who to work with in order to achieve the desired results. Not only do employees feel more secure this way but managers also feel empowered. They can focus on creating strong teams that could reflect well for them and earn themselves a reward.

All in all, one thing is certain. The performance management system is changing for the better. We need to embrace and empower this change rather than halt it if we want to achieve success.


This article was originally published in February 2021.

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Topics: Performance Management, #GuestArticle, #RethinkPerformance

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