While reading Howard Risher’s insightful article, Why We Need To Hold Managers Responsible For Employee Performance, I realized that many of us treat HR like the “single serving friends,” Tyler Durden calls people he meets on planes and uses only one time…
Everywhere I travel, tiny life. Single-serving sugar, single-serving cream, single pat of butter. The microwave Cordon Bleu hobby kit. Shampoo-conditioner combos, sample-packaged mouthwash, tiny bars of soap. The people I meet on each flight? They’re single-serving friends. (from Fight Club).
All too often, management seeks HR’s help after things go bad or the decision is made. HR may be in charge of performance management, but do we involve them throughout the year, or just when we have to complete that annual paperwork? Mr. Risher, who seems imbued with old-fashioned common sense sums up the situation in many businesses:
I think it’s time for HR to take off the hair shirt. We have no reason for penance. For decades HR has been admonished for the problems with performance management (PM) when in reality HR has virtually no direct involvement in the day-to-day management of performance. It’s a system or tool that is used by managers and supervisors. The problems are largely the ineffectiveness of managers in their role as supervisors. HR’s role in performance management is limited; it keeps the personnel records, provides training, keeps track of scheduled reviews, and when problems arise, looks at the pattern of ratings and the documentation. It’s similar to the role of budget director – but a difference is that when PM problems surface it’s the system and HR, far more than the managers, that are somehow responsible. CONTINUE READING AT TLNT.
Risher later points out the core problems:
We know what the core problems are – inadequate feedback and inflated ratings. My experience tells me it’s a vicious cycle; manager’s know there is a problem, are uncomfortable with what’s expected of them, and opt to spend their time on tasks/roles they find more satisfying. The pattern starts. But, this is part of a broader problem. Too many managers and supervisors were promoted to supervisory roles because of their technical skills or seniority. Their training is inadequate and they have not developed the people skills to be effective as supervisors. It’s exacerbated when managers at higher levels – presumably the role models – fail to demonstrate effective supervisory behaviors. Furthermore, reward systems rarely reinforce the behaviors known to be important.
As in safety programs, the key factor to improve performance management is for leadership to get serious about the importance of this process, and not devalue performance management to a “once a year annoyance.”..
The solution starts with leaders who make human capital management a priority. Research has confirmed focusing on human capital management is a competitive advantage. The stories of the ‘best places to work’ also highlight its importance. Training is of course important but the behaviors have to be reinforced, and that makes the reward system a core consideration. The best managers need to be recognized and rewarded. The least effective need to be moved to non-supervisory roles. That sends a powerful message.
Risher has posted many fine discussions on performance management at TLNT, which contain practical observations and suggestions. (Howard Risher)
So quit treating the HR folks like “single serving friends,” and elevate the role of performance management to a year round aspect of your management.
Thanks to Howard Risher for this timely reminder.