It’s the time of year when we’re making new resolutions and setting goals for the year ahead. At Let’s Talk Talent (LTT) we are no different!

I won’t bore you with all of our business goals, however one I wanted to share with you, which is really close to my heart, is how we continue to challenge businesses to create world class experiences for their people. How we aim to do this in 2019 is firstly by changing our “old world HR rule book”.

Part of this means thinking about performance management using our philosophy rather than as an HR process dictated by software systems or bonus structures! At LTT we’re moving the conversation from performance management to talent development so will you join us?!

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Performance vs talent development

“Performance Management isn’t dead. The way of thinking about it is.” says Anita Bowness. In recent years big names like Accenture have scrapped the annual appraisal. Deloitte, Microsoft and Dell have removed ratings from performance management as they were found to be demotivating.

While I completely agree that performance is not about whether you got a three or a four, people still need to know what they’re working towards and how their manager will help them get there.

What’s the base level you’re at? Your target? And once you’re there, what’s the stretch target? How do we as managers get people to be the best they can be?

What needs fixing in performance management?

If you’d like to make some changes to the way you manage performance in 2019, ask yourself whether any of the points below apply to your organisation. These are issues I commonly see with performance management, and we’d like to encourage you to change them.

  • Viewing performance management as remedial: It’s not necessarily a performance improvement plan. Nor is it a checklist of what you have done, not done, where there are gaps. Performance management is about how you can inspire and motivate people to develop the skills and behaviours that will help them get ahead.
  • Coupling the performance management review with bonus: Bonus is a part of reward but linking performance rating directly to bonus payment sends a mixed message. Bonus should be a reward not a prerequisite, nor should it be used to top up salary. By de-coupling bonus to some extent you can take a wider view of reward that will drive deeper engagement.
  • Management capability: Only 16% of managers know how to develop their people according to LTT’s talent diagnostic. Objectives and goals drive the outputs and therefore reward, so managers need to be confident having those conversations. At one of our clients, EU Networks we’re rolling out a manager tool kit to help managers understand their role in a performance conversation.
  • A process-heavy approach: I’d like to see performance management become more organic and simple. What are you aiming for? And work back from there. I’ve seen a few horrors including a 70-page guide on the performance management process! And all too often, enterprise software systems that are process-heavy, dictate how performance is managed and add layers of complexity.

Advice to ourselves at LTT

So, in 2019 here’s how we can all ensure we have the right performance conversations:

  1. Ensure we have clear and succinct guidance about the role of the manager and employee in performance conversations.
  2. Measure the how as well as the what. Link achievements with what motivates people and drives them, making sure we look at the person as a whole.
  3. Move to descriptors of what performance looks like rather than worrying about a rating scale or forced distribution curve.

Here’s to a successful 2019 for all our clients, friends, partners and team here at LTT.

If you’re an HRD and you’re interested in having a fresh discussion about performance as a philosophy, then please register for our HR Leaders roundtable on the 27th February.

Are you an HR leader? Take our complimentary Talent Diagnostic Survey which breaks down in detail how you can build, enhance and develop your Talent Management strategy. Upon completion, you’ll receive your own personal report, which we believe will give you the space to step back from your day to day activities, and look at the areas which you want to focus on, but maybe do not have the time to. The survey takes no longer than 5 minutes to complete.