Rethinking Your Performance Management Process: Engaging Employees to Redesign from the Bottom-Up

Clint Tripodi, Chief Operating Officer

Change is difficult for most organizations but as we know it is necessary to survive in a constantly evolving marketplace. One of the most difficult shifts in culture currently faced by many organizations is how they manage their performance management process.

In fact, that may explain why many companies have kept the same old performance management process in place, year in and year out (sometimes for decades) while somehow still expecting different results. Some may actually throw away their process entirely, or at least replace it with a tool more geared toward compliance—than driving any specific performance management culture.

Traditional annual performance reviews just don’t cut it anymore.

It was not long ago that most organizations viewed performance management as an annual, one-time event, typically owned and reluctantly ‘policed’ by Human Resources.

Like pushing a bolder up a hill, the HR department leaned against a reluctant user base forced to write performance evaluations that had no bearing on the actual performance of the individual, much less enabling an organization to execute to their strategic plan.

Is it any wonder users thought the process painful??

As an example, I can remember being a new hire to a company as Head of Human Resources in the mid-2000’s where the company was still using an appraisal tool designed back in the 70’s!

Do you think the company had evolved in 30 years? Of course it had. Its strategy had changed, markets changed, products changed, virtually everything changed except the crucial process of ensuring that their performance management process was driving a culture that the company wanted. Instead, it kept the same performance management process in place that was doing the exact opposite! Yes, this company remained moderately successful, but I cannot stop imagining where it could have been if the leadership had tossed the entire performance management process out the window and redesigned a system that drove a desired workplace culture while at the same time enabling the company to execute to their strategic plan.

That is why it is so refreshing for me to consult with progressive organizations that will not accept the status quo. Organizations who ask the critical question:

Why are we designing processes around the culture we already have instead of the culture we want?

Too many organizations fall into the trap of staying with their antiquated performance management processes, because it is easier to accept the status quo than to drive the change management process that comes with the shift. I guess that just takes too much work for some, but what a missed opportunity!

Do you want to take your organization to the next level?

Then take a hard look at your performance management process and really ask yourself: what is it doing? But be prepared, you may be disappointed with the answer.

Take the first step and ask yourself if your current process is driving…

  • Employee engagement
  • Individual goals directly linked to strategic initiatives or operating Key Performance Indicators
  • Reinforcement of company values
  • Actual behavioral competencies specific to roles that really demonstrate success
  •  Leaders that own the process and are held accountable
  • A work culture that drives where you want to go versus where you are today
  • A ‘pull’ effect? Do your users welcome the tool as an easy and integral part of the work environment and actually want to use it?

If not, then why not?

All of the factors are within your reach. And, as I mentioned earlier, change does not always come easily. So, why not get your employees involved in the redesign of the performance management process? You may be very surprised at the level of engagement you will discover. Remember, employees do not resist change as much as they resist being controlled.

Get your employees involved in the redesign of the performance management process.

Make the shift a ‘bottom-up’ process, rather than top-down. How? Select a group of progressive employees and give them the criteria above. Have a senior level executive (CEO is best) to champion the initiative and give them the resources to implement a plan. Designate someone on your team with organizational development skills to keep the project on track.

Challenge your team to think outside the box and let go of legacy practices.

Have your team consider cloud based performance management solutions. Shift the ownership of performance management off the backs of HR and put it where it belongs: on each and every leader in the organization. Make your leaders accountable for the successful integration of the process and actually rate their performance on how well they embrace and set the tone of performance management. Start the paradigm shift of performance management from being a one-time, annual event, to a continuous process where evaluations of employees are always current. If you do decide to implement a cloud based solution, pick one that gives you the power of analytics at your fingertips to translate performance management data into intelligence that can be used to make critical decisions on the fly.

Data analytics gives you the power to see how your organization is performing as a whole, or to filter information in a variety of ways to identify your high performers and sustain them, help your low performers, and to identify those competencies that are scoring low and bring in development plans. All faster than ever before.

Does this sound intriguing? Is this how you want to change your performance management culture? The power is in your hands to make it happen and so many organizations have already started the shift and wish they had done so many years earlier.

Need help shifting your culture and are you ready to bring out the best in your leaders? The human capital staff at Craford Benefit Consultants can help you train your leaders to excel in all areas of leadership. Call us today or simply send us an email for a free consultation. We look forward to speaking with you soon.


About the author:

Clint Tripodi, Chief Operating Officer, Craford Benefit Consultants

Clint possesses over 30 years of experience providing Human Resources and Operations support for global high technology companies. He has served as Vice President of Human Resources for companies such as Hitachi Data Systems, nCUBE Corporation, Pacific Broadband Communications and Entera. In Clint’s executive roles, he focused on liquidity events, mergers and acquisitions, human resources strategies, internal communications and community relations programs. Clint serves in an advisory capacity at the board level for several for-profit and not-for-profit firms. Clint was the founder of The Pendolino Group, a leading Human Capital Management consulting firm. Clint has consulted with over 650 companies across all industry verticals in the areas of Performance Management, Leadership Development, Strategic Planning, and Executive Coaching. Clint is regarded as an expert in the area of performance management cloud based systems, analytics, and configuration of process design to drive company culture.

Clint’s passion is in the development and delivery of Social and Emotional Training programs for children, schools and the community. He has taken this work and applied it to leadership development in the corporate world truly believing that leadership mastery begins from the inside. Clint is a current board member of Dovetail Learning, a ground breaking Social and Emotional non-profit education center pioneering curriculum for grades K-6 to enable children’s emotional self-mastery.

Clint holds an MBA in Human Resources and has earned certificates in Strategic Planning from Harvard Business School and the University of Michigan. Clint has been certified in the use of visual graphic tools and advanced facilitation from the Grove Consultants, International. In addition, Clint is a certified executive coach through the Management Resources Group Leadership Executive Assessment and Sales Professional Assessment methodologies.