Thursday, May 5, 2011

It's All About Performance

I am sitting here at a Performance Conference hosted by ASMI and I can't help but to think about performance and the importance it plays in our organizations. After all, after the Great Recession isn't performance on top of everyone's list? CEO's want to outperform their competition. Managers want their departments to out perform other departments. And HR? Well...what is HR's relationship with performance?

Isn't performance the desired outcome of everything we do in HR? Compensation is designed to motivate higher performance. Our performance management systems are designed to measure, track and develop performance. Training programs are designed to increase skills thus increasing performance. So why in the world do I hear a statement like the following from several attendees at this conference: (I have not ran into 1 HR person yet, FYI)
"Our HR department won't share their performance metrics with the rest of the organization. I can't get performance data from HR, they guard it like it were gold."
Those comments make me cringe. How in the heck are we supposed to optimize our workforce and get the most we can out of our people if HR is not in the game? I don't get it.

By the way, the individuals I heard the comments above from were from large well known companies. Are you kidding me?

Yesterday, I picked up the latest edition (April 2011) of HR Magazine and found an interesting article on Integration and Talent Management. (membership required to view). I agree with Adrienne Fox it is critical to integrate compensation, recruiting, succession planning, performance management, compensation and learning. Here is why:
  1. All 5 components have to be linked to strategy for optimal outcomes (i.e. performance)
  2. All 5 have data that we NEED for analytics to understand where we are weak and strong.
  3. You can't impact performance with siloed programs, it just doesn't work. You can have a compensation strategy that you think is world class, but if it does not reflect the goals and objectives of your organization then it is useless.
I mention the article because the idea behind integration is that a good talent management infrastructure enables the end goal...increased performance. According to Sue Bond, of Halogen Software, a presenter at the Performance Conference, "Performance Management is the core of any effective Talent Management Strategy. I believe that performance is a great place for HR to start as I found this quote from the article very interesting:
Organizations with integrated talent management systems can shift to accommodate changing business strategies more seamlessly. These organizations experience a return on equity that is, on the average 38% higher per year during a five year period than those without an integrated system, according to the researchers.
What are your thoughts, is performance where HR should focus? Should HR systems be integrated? Please comment and keep the conversation going!


Zach said...

I think it depends on how the performance is evaluated. From what I have learned in my current college classes is can be hard to measure performance of individual because not all types of performance produce the results other parts of the company are looking for but do add a valuable contribution to the company. One book I read recently that I plan on using in my career in HR and Org. Behavior is "Great Work Great Career," by Stephen R. Covey. In on section it talks about creating contribution statements that can be developed individually and with bosses and I believe it can be done with interdepartmental relationships
to increase communication and what kind of performance is expected so a win/win situation can be produced. Its a great book. Check it out.

Unknown said...

Hi Zach:

Thanks so much for reading and your comments. You are right it is hard to measure individual contribution. But in my experience if goals and expectations are set correctly, then measures can be attained and performance tracked. But, that's the hard work!

I love Stephen Covey, I have read ALL of his books. I haven't read the one you have suggested, but will put it on my list...

Thanks again

Shane Castane said...

Simple performance management systems are easier to use, offer greater flexibility, and are easier for employees to understand, which fosters faster acceptance by the employees. Measurement of results. Many managers look to their organization's value statements for key behaviors or competencies. Clearly communicated business strategies drive the results measures. Senior management involvement. By participating themselves and making sure that direct reports participate, senior managers can help ensure that the system works.

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