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What do Performance Reviews and Santa Claus have in Common- 4 Years On.

For four years I have suggested that while Santa is fictitious, he adds real value to our lives and inversely, performance reviews are real and add very little or no value to our lives.


The anecdotal evidence during 2021 has only reinforced this conclusion with one survey suggesting up to 87% of HR leaders are considering changes to their performance review processes in the coming 12 months.


This reinforces my message that yesterday’s approach to performance management needs a permanent shake-up.


One comment I have read indicates a view that most organisations are equipping managers for conversations based on validating the contributions employees have made over whether they are meeting traditional and rigid KPIs.


Another suggests performance management should focus on short-term prioritisation of workflows rather than long-term goals that change. This supports business models based on project-work where performance evaluation should occur after each project.


A third theme seems to be a focus on the whole employee experience. One suggestion is that creating a sense of belonging is critical as apparently 82% of employees want their organisation to view them as people, not just employees. Feeling their employer cares about their overall happiness and understands that everyone has a unique background and is coping with unique circumstances, apparently leads to

· 56% increase in job performance

· 75% decrease in employee sick days

· 50% reduction in turnover risk

· A 25% decline in an individual’s performance on a team project can result if a single incidence of “micro-exclusion” occurs.


Measuring individual and team performance is a critical business activity. My challenge is what will the new process 87% of HR leaders look like?

· What system will balance the needs of individuals and the organisation?

· What system makes it easy and minimises the administrative burden on managers, employees, and HR practitioners?

· How can we enhance the employee experience and meet the big data requirements of the business?

· While real time is important, so is summary data. How can both be achieved?


If or when you are looking towards a change, remember that for over 20 years the following model has successfully addresses the above concerns and is a proven solution for our contemporary workplaces.


1. Where a drop in performance is due to counterproductive behaviour or ‘micro- exclusion’ rather than a lack of skills, apply a proactive re-engagement process. This focuses on the business problem caused by the counterproductive behaviour or ‘micro-exclusion’. Then solve that problem.

2. For all other staff, focus on Engagement and Continuous Improvement rather than reviewing performance. If you are using project based teams, adopt a BARS (Behavioural Anchored Rating statements) approach. This allows assessment of individual contribution against project requirements, provides meaningful feedback to individuals, and generates big data for corporate analysis. It also guarantees a transparent and defendable process.



With 87% of HR Leaders looking for a better model, yesterday’s way of doing business is not the answer.


For over 20 years and in the following industries, focusing on re-engagement and continuous improvement using BARS has improved the employee experience, kept it simple for managers and provided HR with all the big data they require.

· Mining

· Education

· Public Sector

· Not-for-Profit

Contact me if you would like further insights into how my experience can help you successfully address today’s contemporary performance management issues.


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