Performance management is a process of agreeing on what needs to be achieved in the form of targets, tracking progress, giving feedback and taking corrective action. Put differently, performance management is a process that helps organizations and their employees set, monitor, and review goals and objectives. It ensures that everyone in the organization works towards the same goals and objectives. More importantly, it helps to make people accountable for their actions.
It involves setting clear expectations for employees, providing feedback on their performance, and rewarding them for meeting or exceeding expectations. It also involves providing guidance and support that help employees reach their goals.
Related: Performance management process
Research shows that over 60% of employees hate performance appraisals for various reasons. Not many organizations are doing a third of what they are supposed to do to make performance management work. The challenges are known, but many organizations struggle to fix them. I can not imagine how any leader would run an organization successfully without a deliberate process of managing performance at all levels.
Employees can see performance management as a burden because it requires them to constantly monitor their performance and ensure they meet expectations. This can be stressful for some employees who may feel they are being micromanaged or judged unfairly.
One common challenge with performance management is ensuring that the process is fair and equitable for all employees. This means ensuring that all employees have access to the same resources and opportunities, as well as providing feedback in a way that is consistent across the organization. Additionally, it can be difficult to ensure that performance reviews are conducted on time; this allows for corrective measures to be taken.
Related: Performance feedback and how to make it work
Why does performance management fail?
There is enough research evidence to show that for performance management to work, it must be less complex for everyone. Managers and employees must not see it as a burden. To reduce the complexity level, do not make the evaluation form long. Any performance assessment tool with more than two pages will likely burden the users.
Research shows that if employees are tasked to accomplish many goals, their performance goes down significantly. I suggest that no employee works on more than ten goals within any review period. For department heads, 4 to 7 goals is a good range.
Related: How to Design a Performance Management Policy
Set challenging but realistic goals for your employees. Setting challenging goals has been found to enhance performance. I was fascinated to note that research shows that participative goal-setting does not enhance performance. While allowing your employees to participate in goal setting may make them feel good, it does not make them achieve more. Instead, what has an impact is explaining the rationale for goals that you allocate to your subordinates.
I have seen organizations obsessing with self-appraisals. Research shows that asking employees to self-appraise themselves does not enhance the process of evaluating performance. Instead, self-appraisals have been found to make the ratings less accurate. In the first place, the focus of your performance management system should be on objective indicators so that you take away the need for employees to self-appraise themselves.
According to research, poor performers exaggerate their abilities. For your performance management system to succeed, every rating must be supported by hard evidence that can be verified. Successful organizations are moving towards evidence-based performance management.
Related: Is a performance management system worth it?
Overcoming the administrative challenges
To overcome these challenges, organizations should strive to create an environment where performance management is seen as an opportunity rather than a burden. This means creating clear expectations for employees, providing regular feedback on their performance, and rewarding them for meeting or exceeding expectations.
Additionally, organizations should ensure that all employees have access to resources and opportunities, as well as provide consistent feedback across the organization. Finally, organizations should ensure that performance reviews are conducted on time.
Performance management is an important part of any organization's success, but it can also be seen as a burden by managers and employees. To ensure its success, organizations should strive to create an environment where performance management is seen as an opportunity rather than a burden by setting clear expectations for employees and providing regular feedback on their performance. Rewarding employees for good performance should be part of the performance management system.