Vernier Caliper

Strategy in Action: Clariant Reboots to Bundle PM with Development and Transparency

Clariant is re-launching performance management in2012. When revisiting the performance management process, an important priority was to provide a “bundled solution” and, in doing so, link performance management to other processes – especially development.

“In the past we were far less transparent about how these pieces fit together,” noted David Jarrett, Clariant’s Head of HR for North America. After exit interview data revealed that critical departure decisions could have been influenced if the departing individuals were aware of their status as top talent, Jarrett shared, the organization decided that “where people stood in terms of their potential in the organization needs to be made more transparent.”

“We are linking our PM processes to other processes that we have," explained Renee Redmond, Manager, Corporate HR Management Services. "For example, there are specific links to our talent management process. If employees are meeting expectations or not meeting expectations, we are taking the next steps.”

PM provides direction on developing their highest performers, but also offers practices to improve poor performance. Poor performance at Clariant is defined as the bottom two points of their five point rating scale – or below fully satisfactory – and is managed through performance improvement plans. It is not a one size fits all approach. As Jarrett makes clear, “We are dealing with cases of poor performance individually.”

360° feedback is an important new component of the performance management process, and is used for assessing behaviors against corporate values. Employees usually respond positively to feedback, especially when it is paired with development planning. In this case, the 360°feedback information is used to determine key highlights and areas for improvement. This information is used to assemble development plans for behavioral changes for both high and low performers.

As a way of measuring process acceptance, Clariant's HR team asked for feedback on the new process. "Surprisingly, we had a little higher than 90% feedback response on the surveys that were sent out – which I thought was phenomenal – and the quality of the feedback was quite good as well,” Redmond explained.

Perhaps not so surprisingly, a positive focus on development planning and transparency makes all the difference in engaging employees in the PM process.

This article is an excerpt from i4cp's Performance Management Playbook: Managing Critical Performance Challenges.

Other companies mentioned in this playbook include: Hertz, Corning, ConnectiCare, IM Flash Technologies and PNC.