IS PERFORMANCE
MANAGEMENT BROKEN?


To a layperson performance management seems simple, all you need is a pencil and a paper and answer simple questions regarding accountability and development. However, over the past decade we have made it inherently complex and cumbersome, we invented a rating scale so that one employee can be comparable to another. This led to objectives, Key performance indicator (KPI) definitions and targets to be defined with respect to the rating scale.

This was soon linked to all talent programs, career progressions and bonus schemes. Consequently, everyone became so focused with the scores and ratings that inflation set in, and the need arose to invent ‘calibration’, so we pushed the scores alongside normal distribution curves, to ensure that the scores remain differentiated. In this whole exercise the whole process became so convoluted that the original intent and purpose was lost. The whole process of performance management that was supposed to be a powerful force delivering results, and developing people in the organization became a yearly motivational speed-bump, a time-consuming process imposed by the HR department on the managers that has become a leading cause of disappointment and cynicism.

Consequently, everyone became so focused with the scores and ratings that inflation set in, and the need arose to invent ‘calibration’, so we pushed the scores alongside normal distribution curves, to ensure that the scores remain differentiated.

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