Performance Management is a key HR and Operational practice that is an easy target for criticism from managers who often say they are not happy with the process, or that the information and feedback provided from the process is inaccurate.
This has led to a lot of research and articles about what is and isn’t the best Performance Management process. But little research has been undertaken into ‘how’ performance management is actually conducted by line-managers and the impact that different approaches to delivery can have on employee engagement levels.
To address this, in 2014, a Thought and Action Group was set up within Engage for Success, to understand what it is that managers of highly engaged teams are doing differently during performance management, compared to managers of lowly engaged teams.
Having explored this, to then make recommendations as to how those leading the performance management process can embrace the actions of managers of highly engaged teams, to make performance management as engaging as possible, irrelevant of which performance management process organisations are using.
Summary of findings
Our findings identified that the managers of highly engaged teams adapted the performance appraisal policy and produced more positive employee outcomes, than the managers who merely followed the policy.
They interpreted and deliver the performance management policy in a manner that better integrates and embeds with their own existing local operating practices, and therefore make aspects of the PM policy and process more relevant to their team.
This included downplaying the use of objective setting, reviewing past performance and giving ratings, in favour of a focus on the purpose of the department, using forward-looking indicators and working on employee and department factors that enabled improving future outcomes, such as enhancing employee skills and fostering teamwork.
Here’s the research detail: