Friday, 25 April 2008

Innovation in performance management

In his KnowHR blog, Frank Roche suggests that organisations may need to develop a dual system for performance management, with one version for high performers and another for everyone else.

"Great performers don’t need performance reviews. Especially the yucky and typical kind. They have a great distaste for ratings that can’t adequately capture what it means to be up at two in the morning working on a project while the rest of the company sleeps. On top of that, they really resent getting a rating that’s anywhere near what Joe Average gets."


The slide presents a 3 level approach for performance management we introduced in my last corporate role - based on standards (performance appraisal), SMART objectives (performance alignment) and what we called stretch goals (performance leadership) and I'm now referring to as MUSICal dreams (although 'd suggest keeping the earlier term for use within an organisation!).

The approach in the slide suggests that all employees can be set all three levels of goal. But I also think that organisations may want to focus on one or more level according to the employee's performance. Low performers need to be focused on the standards for their role. Higher performers need to focus on their dreams.

For me, the key to answering Frank's concerns isn't how high performers are reviewed, it's the type of goals they are set. If' they're freed up from the organisational mechanics to focus on their dreams, their performance is going to be even higher, and the review of this is going to be much more pleasant for all concerned.