More than 90 percent of major corporations have formal performance management systems in place. Yet recent research by Deloitte Consulting reported that only 8 percent of these organizations find their performance management process worth the time they put into it. Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity seems to fit here: “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Is the solution to abandon the process? Quite the contrary. A recent survey by The Ken Blanchard Companies found a 20 to 30 percent gap between what employees desired from their leaders during performance management conversations and what they were receiving. Simply put, employees want much more from their leaders than they’re getting!
So what do direct reports want more of?
- More specificity: Be clear on expectations. People want to know what their key responsibility areas are, how they are going to be measured, and what a good job looks like.
- More coaching: People are looking for regular ongoing coaching aimed at helping them to be successful in their job. This includes timely, constructive feedback, regular one-on-ones, and specific, meaningful praise.
- More frequent evaluation: People want to know how they’re doing and what they can do to get better. Don’t wait until the end of the year—make evaluation at least a quarterly conversation. Do your homework and take the time to give meaningful feedback.
- More time spent on career development: Show an interest in your direct reports’ career aspirations. Provide development opportunities. When they participate in a learning event, follow up to see what they learned and have them share their action plan. Chat regularly to check their progress and offer assistance.
No matter what your organization’s performance management process, remember that employees want more and better quality conversations. Take the time to meet with people on a regular basis to discuss performance and help them be successful.
What other ideas do you have to improve the quality of your performance management conversations?
About the author
John Hester is a senior consulting partner with The Ken Blanchard Companies who specializes in productivity and performance management.