When It Comes to Performance Management, Employees Want More, Not Less!

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!

Blanchard Cap Study Results


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.


10 thoughts on “When It Comes to Performance Management, Employees Want More, Not Less!

  1. Hello John, thanks for the summary of the GAP data.

    Seems to me that managers are not doing their jobs well which is not surprising considering the following three lines.

    80% of employees self-report that they are not engaged.
    80% of managers are ill suited to effectively manage people.
    The two 80 percents are closely related.

    Employers keep hiring the wrong people to be their managers and then they wonder why they have so few successful, long-term engaged employees. Successful employees have all three of the following success predictors while unsuccessful employee lack one or two and usually it is Job Talent that they lack.
    1. Competence
    2. Cultural Fit
    3. Job Talent

    Employers do a…
    A. GREAT job of hiring competent employees, about 95%
    B. good job of hiring competent employees who fit the culture, about 70%
    C. POOR job of hiring competent employees who fit the culture and who have a talent for the job, about 20%

    Identifying the talent required for each job seems to be missing from talent and management discussions. If we ignore any of the three criteria, our workforce will be less successful with higher turnover than if we do not ignore any of the three criteria.

    • Hi Bob,

      Thanks for your comment. I agree that many organizations look for the wrong things in hiring or promoting individuals into manager roles. The critical skills to interview for include (among others) the ability to listen, coach, teach, and be flexible in their leadership style.


  2. Hello John,

    Great post, I agree with you on all points. More coaching help employees learn and feel valued, it also helps to develop them into better workers and leaders. Investing in the people that make the company tick cannot be understated. We should always try and develop future leaders of our organization as much as possible.

    Please check out my blog on career and Life success:

  3. Great post. The solutions to motivate people is easy and as simple as just having frequent meaningful conversations. Yet companies continue to want to make everything too complicated that no one takes it seriously..

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