Does your performance management system really matter?

Does your performance management system really matter?

Harrison Kim
April 27, 2021

Many people have probably heard something along the lines of “Traditional performance reviews are broken.”. That is true – annual performance reviews are ineffective at developing and retaining people these days. If you are reading this and thinking “Duh, that’s why we just implemented continuous feedback – we’re all set!!”, that may not be the case. 

Many HR/people professionals have spent countless hours and resources to set up their new, sexy performance management systems, only to find out that employee adoption never takes off. Simply implementing a continuous performance management software won’t actually create a culture of feedback and accountability that organizations are looking for. If it did, most organizations would have moved away from traditional performance management long ago.

So how can a company create this elusive culture of feedback and accountability? More specifically, how can they acquire employee adoption?

It has become apparent that the software is a small part of the equation. There are an additional four drivers that need to be considered if organizations actually want to create impact: sponsorship, education, experience, and process.

  1. Sponsorship – there must be buy-in and role modelling behaviors from executives AND managers across the organization. 
  2. Education – “You’re really awesome!” or “Great job!” aren’t meaningful. That’s not feedback. Organizations need to educate their employees on how to share feedback in a meaningful and constructive way (e.g., focused on behaviors).
  3. Experience – managers need to make it as easy as possible for their team members to share and request feedback. 
  4. Process – organizations need to put the right processes in place, to reinforce behaviors, so that hopefully they become habits and part of your culture in the long-term. 

While software can make the process of sustaining this culture and managing performance easier (especially in a remote environment), these four drivers are really table stakes. Organizations need to see continuous performance management as people-led and technology supported, not the other way around.

About the author

Harrison Kim is the CEO of Pavestep, an intuitive performance management solution that enables the culture of feedback & accountability. He is a former McKinsey consultant and a former private equity investor specializing in the human capital management sector. He founded Pavestep to help leaders develop their biggest asset – talent. He is obsessed with employee performance and feedback. 

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