The Big 4 blow up performance management reviews

Deloitte and Accenture will be shifting away from performance reviews as we know it and no doubt PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Ernst and Young will be following suit. Microsoft and SEEK are getting rid of rankings and major Banks are likely to be next.

If you haven’t come across the many articles on the subject, such alluring captions as ‘blowing up performance management’ to ‘ditching bi-annual reviews’ paints the picture of a radical shift away from performance management reviews and ranking systems. But is it really that radical?

The process involves ‘real-time’ performance conversations that empowers and drives performance without ranking systems or the half and end of year appraisal. Incorporating performance conversations as part of your daily interactions is a critical management practice you simply can’t afford not to do and frankly isn’t  that radical or new – it’s just that organisations have been struggling to get this implemented for various reasons; culture and leadership being key contributors.  

It is however refreshing that such announcements have helped bring to the surface the arduous and subjective nature of traditional performance review processes – nothing new right?

So what’s changing?  Well I don’t believe the ‘review’ of an individual’s performance is being removed.  Assessment of performance is still happening but in a different way.

The process is more meaningful – to employees and the employer and hopefully assessment is less subjective if extended to broader stakeholder feedback beyond the direct manager.  Secondly, performance expectations still need to be established for targeted performance coaching and development to occur effectively otherwise how would we know when and how well we’ve actually performed?  Thirdly, organisations still need to demonstrate that a robust ‘system’ is in place in the event of individual under performance and subsequent dismissal.

Performance management by its very nature has a negative connotation.  It assumes that people are not performing.  Shift the way we think and create environments where we are managing for performance!

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