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Performance Management

When Measuring Performance Management Begins to Hurt More than Help

June 15, 2018
4 min read
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Performance Management, Supercharged


Performance management is a vital part of the employee experience. When done correctly, performance reviews should motivate employees to improve their performance by providing a consistent way to assess and select employees for promotion, transfer or alternate actions. According to a recent survey, 82% of employees appreciate receiving feedback, regardless if it’s positive or negative. But when bias comes into play or an employee enters the process ready to battle any constructive criticism received, performance management of the people can hinder the performance of the organization.

Just as job descriptions are unique, so should be #PerformanceManagement assessments. Check out these pitfalls of performance management from @ClearCompany:

Here are some pitfalls to performance management that you should avoid:

1. Thinking too near-term.

Successful performance management requires the ability to see performance at a large scale. While real-time feedback is beneficial for the employee and a trait of quality managers, if looked at without a view of overall performance, it has the potential to severely narrow the focus on how decisions surrounding that employee are made. Rather than basing decisions on an extended period of time, and potentially the entire tenure of the employee, decisions are made based on recent memory. It is important for managers to document where an employee excels and where an employee can improve throughout the year so they can discuss their performance on a large scale.

2. Going overboard on monitoring.

Increased monitoring can make employees feel as if they have lost all independence in their roles. In an effort to protect themselves, they could become defensive and may even hide the challenges they are facing. When a manager sees this, they typically begin to monitor even more closely, continuing the cycle. A good manager will monitor performance while giving employees enough space to correct themselves. One survey of over 20,000 employees around the world reported that 92% of those who felt respected and trusted by their leader had greater focus and prioritization and 89% greater enjoyment and satisfaction in their jobs. Give your managers training and playbooks on how to strike the right balance between monitoring work and micromanaging. Focus, prioritization and job satisfaction contribute to the success of an organization and make for a more pleasant work environment.

3. Rating employees on factors outside of job performance.

Traditional performance reviews often evaluate an employee’s behavioral traits rather than measures directly related to their quality of work, financial value or work volume. While employee behavior and attitude is a component that should be evaluated, it can lead to an introduction of bias. A manager may try their best to be objective, but if personalities clash, these behavioral-type questions makes this hard. Goal setting is vital so managers can effectively measure true performance.

Tip: Don’t have the time to crunch numbers and plot data? Managers can quickly and effectively track potential and performance with ClearCompany’s 9-box reporting.

4. Using one standard assessment for every role.

Just as job descriptions are unique, so should be performance management assessments. Each assessment factor should also carry different weight based on its importance to the individual role. For instance, Customer service representatives can be evaluated heavily on their communication skills, ability to handle conflict with grace and timely response to customer needs. Valuations about their creative problem solving may be less important. If you are using a standard assessment, you are drastically reducing the value of assessments while also making it impossible to understand challenges and successes of individual roles and departments.

5. Providing feedback that lacks substance.

Performance evaluations are conducted for the purpose of providing valuable feedback in the form of both commendations and recommendations. If an employee doesn’t understand the rating scale or is met with generic comments rather than concrete ways in which they can improve their performance, the value of that appraisal is zero. Employees will leave feeling confused and unappreciated. Managers and employees should always provide goals that can be measured in the next review cycle.

82% of employees appreciate receiving #feedback, regardless if it’s positive or negative, but does your feedback approach work? Find out:

Performance evaluations offer opportunities for managers to take pause and let employees know what they do well and what they can improve on. High-performing employees get the recognition they deserve and those that are underperforming get a plan for improvement.

Unfortunately, when these performance reviews fail to accurately measure employee performance, then they become ceremonial rather than essential. Companies need to bring the value to these reviews by providing managers with proper training on their execution and continually refining and revamping their processes.

After all, isn’t that what performance reviews are all about?

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