Is there a new, more grown up attitude to performance management emerging?
Netflix abandoned formal reviews some time ago, reportedly seeing them as being “too ritualistic and too infrequent”. In place of this, managers were encouraged to have frequent and honest conversations and to make better use of the data available through improved business analytics to provide a more accurate picture of how people were doing.
It also scrapped Performance Improvement Plans (PIP) as they were seen to be misleading: most people who were put on a PIP were those whose skills and abilities no longer fitted with the emerging role requirements, largely driven by new technology and changes in the market and were ready to move on from the organisation.
But how does a company like this then deal with poor performance based on other reasons?
Netflix effectively replaced their formal performance review process with an informal 360 degree feedback process. They deliberately kept to a simple ‘stop, start, continue’ set of qualitative questions and over time moved away from doing this in an anonymous fashion, towards having people sign – and own – the feedback they gave to others and many teams have opted to give feedback face to face.
How refreshingly adult and open!
Of course, many organisations are not ready to take a step as large as this, but we think that there are things that can be done to move performance reviews on to a more mature, open and forward-looking footing.
So what can be done?
Here are 5 actions you can take now to move your performance review into the future.
#1 Train and equip managers to have on-going and continuous performance conversations with their direct reports. This is about upskilling managers in the how to have the conversations - and supporting them and their team members with a performance appraisal system that enables them to have more regular check-ins and catch-ups. Not cumbersome performance management software, but an app-like tool that you can access easily and quickly.
#2 Make sure they can access analytics and data that tracks the goals and objectives set - and the progress towards them.
#3 Enable and encourage individuals to ask for feedback from others on their performance. A culture of requesting, receiving and accepting feedback encourages personal development and ownership. Make sure your appraisal process allows for this.
#4 Place more trust in your managers. If performance appraisal has been linked to some form of reward process, accept that most managers are capable of making fair and consistent judgements and make good decisions regarding recognition. They don't need to rely on end of year ratings.
#5 Bring 360 degree feedback into the fold. Most organisations use some kind of multi-rater or 360 review process and this can provide invaluable performance information, which transcends the manager-subordinate relationship and the potentially limited view and biases that brings. Take a critical look at your 360 questionnaire and ask:
- Does it help create a culture of feedback - will the 360 software/process allow us to take a journey towards a culture of greater openness and honesty with regards to feedback?
- Is it flexible? Can the system/process you have to adapt to your needs? Can you tailor it to different roles, parts of the business, individual teams? Can people add and ask their own questions, if there are particular behaviours or areas of performance on which they would like feedback?
If you would like to read the complete article - Why the move to Continuous Performance Management - you can access it below.
Read on if you would like to explore how to take your Performance Management activity to the next level, and encourage more continuous performance conversations.