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Inclusive Performance Management - Exploring the Relationship with Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

In this session, Amelia Ransom, VP of DE&I at Smartsheet and Kristen Lee, Director of Talent Management at Target shared their insights into:

  • Ways to ensure DE&I considerations are brought into the performance management process.
  • What a collaborative relationship looks like between PM and DEI.

Here are the top questions we explored.

Where can I start to build an effective relationship between performance management (PM) and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I)?

  1. Recognize and respect roles and responsibilities. PM often owns the capability, but it's in direct connection with DE&I goals.
  2. Get clear on the common goals and how the teams measures success. PM may consider the capability accountable to DE&I.
  3. Look at development within the organization first. Then, leverage the success of development to then attract new employees and bolster retention.
  4. As you continue your work together, keep communication lines open. Create a regular cadence to meet and continue the collaborative efforts.
  5. Be open to change. It's ok to do something different. As you try new things, don't let good enough get in the way of perfect.

Check out the Performance Management Bias Audit Checklist.


How can we adjust the PM process to drive DE&I?

  1. Don't focus solely on performance results. Incorporate leadership competencies into your PM process and describe behaviors that support DE&I goals in a clear, tactical, consistent manner.
  2. Consider including DE&I goals for every manager, leader, and employee. Use frequent check-ins throughout the year (at least quarterly) to get feedback from each other.
  3. Focus on providing the right support mechanisms and environments so leaders can be successful in this area. Accountability is important, but if leaders don't have a path forward it's hard for everyone to forge their own way.
  4. Support leaders in reframing who they give development opportunities like stretch assignments to.

Check out 5 Ways Leaders Can Supercharge Performance and Drive DE&I.


How can you help employees identify their own unconscious bias?

  1. Teach leaders how to lead diverse teams, create inclusive environments, and appropriately handle situations when they see bias.
  2. Conduct calibration sessions to assess possible bias.
  3. Encourage ways to surface logic behind perspectives for the ratings.
  4. Incorporate "cognitive stops" in the PM process for managers to check biases that may be coming into play, such as the recency effect or the halo effect.
  5. Randomize the order in which you conduct PM conversations or reviews.

Check out Overcoming Proximity Bias: A Bias Audit Toolkit for Flexible and Hybrid Work Models.


How should I incorporate data and feedback?

  1. Look at the story the data tells you. Look at it from several perspectives, and consider any red flags that the data might be biased.
  2. Ensure you collect performance data and feedback from multiple sources. Incorporate feedback from ERGs in the talent calibration, to identify pain points, and other areas too.
  3. Collect metrics related to retention and promotion, but also look at your employee listening strategies like engagement surveys.
  4. Find ways to separate that data by diverse populations.

Check out the AI & Algorithms Bias Audit Checklist.


What approaches and strategies lead to success? Lessons learned?

  1. Engage HR business partners (HRBPs) as they can help champion and implement initiatives.
  2. ERGs are a great resource when invested in. Provide executive sponsorship at a VP level for each ERG.
  3. Have a dedicated, safe, real-time communication channel for the DE&I team and HRBPs (such as a Slack channel).
  4. Recognize leaders that emulate equitable and inclusive behaviors daily.
  5. There is no "silver bullet". Each organization is different and needs varying approaches. Aim to be agile and meet needs as they change. It's a journey, so buckle up!

Check out Domino's Inclusion and Diversity Journey.


The Performance Management Exchange focuses on discussing the valuable ways that talent and reward leaders are making this possible through:

  • simplified, nimble approaches to setting priorities and accountabilities
  • purposeful ways that people and teams should collaborate
  • principles of safe and engaging feedback
  • recognition and reward of exemplary performance
  • career tracks and interesting projects / growth opportunities
This meeting is exclusively for members of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Exchange, Performance Management Exchange. If you'd like to participate, please contact us to see if you qualify. If you are an i4cp member, please log in to access the registration/meeting details.
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This event is approved for certification credits.