What is Performance Management?


Recent posts have focused on retaining and engaging people, so it seemed logical to continue the discussion about how we interact with one another in the workplace.

Certainly Performance Management embodies this activity.

When we asked our Partners In Improvement to define Performance Management, we heard a range of perspectives: the strategic orientation of the organization, process Performance Management, setting of goals and objectives, individual performance appraisals, daily direction and feedback which reinforces the behaviors we are looking for, providing tools and coaching to help people be successful, and rewards and recognition.

From the strategic perspective, Performance Management begins with the identification of what’s vital to the organization. If these priorities are not clear and it is not clear what role everyone plays in the priorities, the rest Performance Management is unlikely to mean much. One of the Partners measures customer loyalty, sliders/defectors, and Continuous Improvement (CI) impact at all levels.

Several of the Partners pointed out that Performance Management refers not just to people management, but to process management, and plant management (which one of the Partners called the “3 Ps – People, Plant, and Process”).

One of the Partners explained that she always starts by measuring the performance of the process. To improve the process, based on the root cause analysis she would work to improve the people performance, tools, materials, methods, the environment, or whatever factor was driving the performance of a process.

However one might define the practice, one issue on which everyone agreed was that Performance Management must be an every day job for managers, and it must be approached on a proactive basis.

Our next post will pick-up from this point, and will share perspectives on the specific activities that comprise an effective approach to Performance Management.