Chapter 3

An Essential Guiding Principle

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What­ev­er approach you take to mea­sur­ing per­for­mance, and there are many, you should adhere to one essen­tial principle:

De-cou­ple your per­for­mance mea­sure­ment from your reg­u­lar per­for­mance conversations

We know from numer­ous research stud­ies that we improve per­for­mance by hav­ing reg­u­lar, mean­ing­ful, devel­op­men­tal per­for­mance con­ver­sa­tions. How­ev­er, if we try to add any form of per­for­mance mea­sure­ment or assess­ment into those con­ver­sa­tions, the per­for­mance improve­ment impact is imme­di­ate­ly lost. An employ­ee is rarely going to be hon­est about their areas for devel­op­ment or improve­ment if they know a per­for­mance rat­ing is com­ing at the end of the con­ver­sa­tion. This is one of the key rea­sons why tra­di­tion­al appraisals aren’t effective.

So as the Char­tered Insti­tute of Per­son­nel and Devel­op­ment (CIPD) stat­ed in their recent Per­for­mance Man­age­ment research report:

Intro­duc­ing some clear water between assess­ments that inform pay and pro­mo­tions and those [process­es] that help employ­ees improve should make per­for­mance man­age­ment a far smoother, more pro­duc­tive and less fraught process.”

In prac­tice, this means hav­ing a sep­a­rate process that you oper­ate peri­od­i­cal­ly with the sole pur­pose of assess­ing per­for­mance and poten­tial, which sits out­side of your reg­u­lar check-in dis­cus­sions, as shown in the dia­gram below:

In our Clear Review per­for­mance man­age­ment soft­ware, we call this process View­points(although it can be called what­ev­er you want) and it enables HR to col­late the views of their man­agers about the per­for­mance and/​or poten­tial of their team mem­bers using a sim­ple, cus­tomis­able online form. The answers can then be report­ed and analysed. Our cus­tomers typ­i­cal­ly do a round of View­points annu­al­ly, bi-annu­al­ly or quar­ter­ly, depend­ing on the nature of their busi­ness and how fast mov­ing it is.