Performance Management Fails And 6 Steps You Can Use To Fix It

Most of us hate performance management programs.



  • Performance management is usually seen as a bureaucratic HR process you are forced to do.
  • We are not sure of the value performance management adds to the business.
  • Performance management models change as often as the soup of the day.
  • We have all had performance management nightmares.
  • Mine:
      • One employer changed the performance management system five times in 13 years;
      • Another had a rigid, complicated and frustrating system with no connection to pay or promotions;
      • Another had never completed performance management for anyone, ever.

If you want to improve your current process, here are six issues to address to ensure you get the highest return on your investment.

Challenge #1: Lack of strategic focus

The company’s strategy and goals must be integrated into its performance management process to deliver real business value. Too many goals will likely leave your employees feeling confused, unaligned, and inefficient.

Simplifying and prioritizing your company goals and focusing your performance management on a few critical goals will help your employees understand how their everyday work and individual goals will help achieve them.

Read about connecting performance management and strategic goals

Challenge #2: Lack of timely, meaningful feedback

When you wait until the formal performance review to provide feedback, employees may feel blindsided, leading to disappointment, confusion, frustration, and disengagement.

Train your managers to provide timely, meaningful feedback when positive behaviours or performance issues occur. Waiting too long to give feedback hurts your company’s employee morale, engagement, and, ultimately, your business performance.

Read about recognition


Challenge #3: Lack of leadership support

Leaders must be committed, actively engage their teams in performance management activities, and support and recognize managers and employees who exhibit the expected behaviours and actions.

Without leadership support, performance management will not be successful, no matter how well-designed the process is.

Challenge #4: Lack of proper training and communication

Leaders and managers may not fully understand what performance management is and what’s in it.

It is crucial to explain the benefits of performance management and provide ongoing training to help leaders and managers obtain the appropriate knowledge, behaviours, and skills to engage their teams in performance management activities properly.

Challenge #5: Lack of appropriate recognition and rewards

Rewards are significant in recognizing and promoting top performance and keeping your employees engaged, motivated, and inspired about their future with the company.

A valuable reward and recognition program should have clear expectations and criteria around the behaviours and actions that drive your company forward.

Read about good objectives going bad.

Challenge #6: Lack of simplicity

Whether you currently have performance management in place or not, the process you ultimately implement should be simple, easy to understand and use.

Managers and employees should not have to spend hours learning your new processes and tools or look for the performance-related information and forms they need.

Final Thoughts

Poor performance management is costly, delivers very little value, and can lower your employee engagement level and harm your business growth.

When done right, the impact of effective performance management is significant on your bottom line and will stop your top performers from walking out the door.