I just wrapped up my MBA course on Performance Management this week. Before I move onto the next course, I thought I would take a minute to summarize just some of the key points from the course, both for my own purposes as well as for the reading pleasure of anyone who is interested in taking a few minutes to see what has been keeping me from having the time to update my blog for the last number of weeks.
Consistent with the name of the course – Performance Management – the course was largely about; hey you guessed it – Performance Management systems. The word system is a pretty broad word that can mean many things to many people depending on the context. As such, a Performance Management ‘system’ is going to mean something to different to every organization. Understanding this, and that there is no universal, hard-fast approach for the successful design and implementation of a Performance System, here are just some of the major points that came out of this course for me that – I would think – would be applicable to most situations:
- A performance management system is much more than a series of performance appraisals
- Should align with organizational and departmental strategic objectives and priorities
- Should focus on the past, present and future (employee development)
- Can have impacts, both positive (i.e. motivation, empowerment, productivity) and negative (i.e. cynicism, turn-over, dissatisfaction) and as such should be carefully planned and executed
- Should be sized and designed in accordance with the size, structure and culture of the organization (one size does not fit all)
- Should properly account for individual as well as team contributions and performance in alignment with how teams are utilized in the organization
- Should be designed and implemented in such a way as to reduce the possibility of rater biases (halo effect, error central tendency, etc.)
- Training on performance management for everyone, especially the ‘raters’ is imperative for success
- Job roles as well as performance expectations should be clearly defined and communicated (as well as specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound; SMART).
- Should be focused on behaviours as well as outcomes
- Should provide clear links between effort, resulting performance and rewards (financial or non-financial)
- Should understand and account for different personality types (introverts vs. extraverts) as well as different forms of motivation (intrinsic vs. extrinsic)
- Employees should be involved in its creation, delivery and evolution
- Should be an ongoing/iterative/continuous process
- Communication at all stages is key
In addition to the points above specifically related to performance management ‘systems’, here are a few other related subjects that were touched on during the course – each one of which could be a course on its own (and a few of which I plan on posting further on later).
- The Four Temperaments for Peak Performance (I anticipate a blog post on this one soon)
- Team based learning (the approach that was used for this course)
- Case study/story board method (also used for this course)
- 360 Review Systems
- Coaching process
- Giving and receiving feedback
- Managing vs. leading
- Personality types
- Reward systems
- Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
- Myers Briggs Type Indicator
In summary – despite their absence on the actual balance sheet, most organizations will say that their employees are their most valued asset. Those that truly believe this will figure out how best to create a ‘Performance Management System’ that works for their organizations and employees to drive employee development & satisfaction which will in turn, will help to drive all of the important organizational metrics.