The Productivity Blog

Five Ways to Sabotage your Employee Performance Management System

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If your employee performance management system has you frustrated, you're not alone. People say it's time-consuming. It's too subjective. It's yesterday's solution. There's been plenty written about best practices in employee performance management, but are managers so averse to the message that they don't even hear it anymore?

A new report by i4cp comparing the employee performance management practices of firms in Brazil, Russia and the United States shows that U.S. organizations may have lost their way. This first report in a five-report Performance Management series, Performance Management: A Comparison of Brazil, Russia and the U.S., also details how firms in Brazil and Russia are making performance management succeed.

But if you're one of those that's hell-bent on proving that employee performance management processes suck, we are happy to help you save time. Here are some quick paths to performance management failure:

1. Exclude yourself from the process.
No reason the executives need to be bothered with this. They have more important things to do. While you're at it, let all of upper management off the hook, too. The only ones whose performance needs to be examined under the microscope are the worker-bees. Make “It's for your own good” the new company mantra.

2. Let supervisors figure it out for themselves.
First-level supervisors are busy people. They don't have time for training programs on feel-good topics like how to set a goal or how to give feedback. They've been through performance appraisal meetings themselves. Just tell them to do it the same way it was done to them. Builds character.

3. Don't waste time with the problem performers.
When an employee's performance dips, you've got a tough decision to make. Get rid of him or her right away or spend a lot of time and effort talking about the issue, setting up developmental plans, monitoring progress. Sheesh! What if it doesn't even work?

4. Bolster success measures with low-hanging fruit.
It takes a lot of time and mathematical calculations to figure out percentage of goals achieved or other fancy statistics. How many employees report to you? How many performance appraisal forms are filled in? There. Your performance management metrics are complete.

5. Avoid the unknown territory called the future.
You can spend your time discussing pie-in-the-sky concepts like the future and how each employee's work today can impact next year's outcomes, or you can stick to your comfort zone: the past. All an employee really needs to know is did they do good or bad? If they did good, keep on doing it. If not, well, they're probably not around for this discussion anyway.

So, there you have it - an iron-clad strategy for failing at employee performance management.

This report is available complimentary for a limited time.

But if you understand that your organization's talent base is an investment that pays dividends when nurtured, you might want to make an effective employee performance management system a key part of your business strategy. The second report in i4cp's Performance Management series, How High-Performing Organizations Approach Performance Management, will be released later this summer.

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