• Sibel Dağdeviren Özüağ

Performance Management Gone Dead

It is that time of the year when most leaders and employees are having their performance conversations for the new year. I really wish that 2020 becomes an exemplary year in setting not just business goals but also human-centric goals focusing on employees' development.

It is true that as the readers of this blog we are working for corporations, not NGOs, and that financial side of a year’s performance review is a big and significant story. It is, however, not the single component of what “performance” is really about. I am pretty sure that most of you have been through periods where the targets were not met but you could not have been any more content and proud about your team’s dedication, hard work and how much they have experienced and learned. This is the “human” side of the story and often the part where real leaders care about: being a people developer rather than merely a performance manager.

There are numerous studies focusing on the young generation’s expectations from the working life. To share in a nutshell, the young generation desires to be respected as human beings and not just performance machines. Moreover, studies demonstrate that a very big majority of the young generation would like to work for companies where they can continuously learn, develop and grow. In the 2018 LinkedIn Learning Report, for example, 94% of the respondents have stated that they could stay longer at their current companies should they receive learning and development investment. And how come people development is still regarded in most companies as an HR-only performance goal?

Performance management in its traditional form has been dead for a while now! What the business world needs is a shift in the way we currently see and handle the performance management, and transform the performance conversation into a development conversation. Whether like it or not, this transformation will anyways take place very soon because the corporations need to keep the young talents in the corporate game despite the very recent GIG trends popular among the young generation (For more details on the GIG economy, please check my previous article "Implications of GIG Economy on HR").

As required by the new generation’s needs and desires, leaders should now take a more human-centric stand in setting their performance goals. Below are some examples that leaders may use for transforming the 2020 performance conversation into a development conversation:

  • How will I develop my team this year? (Remember: Learning is the #1 global HR trend and the most urgent need, globally! For further details, please check my previous article "Reinventing HR: 2019 Global HR Trends")

  • How can I grow each of my team members individually in line with their own career aspirations?

  • How many successors will I have developed by the end of the year?

  • Based on which criteria will I select and develop my successors?

  • How can I best support them in both their professional and personal lives?

  • Beyond success and performance, which values will I nurture within my team?

  • How can I sustain a positive team culture so that all my team members share their failures and successes with each other and create opportunities to further learn and grow?

  • In which areas and how will I lead my team by example?

Please do not hesitate to share your suggestions on the comments part below!