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Saturday, November 03, 2007

Why are You Afraid of Performance Management Systems?

I’m facilitating a short learning session on the subject of performance management on November 23, 2007, Friday, 2:00pm – 5:00pm at The Columbus, 3rd Floor Astoria Plaza, Escriva Drive (formerly Amber Ave.), Ortigas Business District, Pasig City. If you wish to join me or know more: Please contact RJ Jalijali at (632) 634.5643 or (0928) 505.8353. You can also email him at

Yes, you are right, this is a shameless scheme to advertise the event and draw more interest in what I will share on that day but I urge you to read on otherwise, my shameless scheme will come to naught… just kidding. I have something going on in my mind for the longest time now and that is the question I posted as a title for this blog post. Why are many HR Managers afraid to poke their noses into this concept of performance management system?

This is my bold guess. There are more companies with no performance management system than those who have it. Here is an even bolder guess, there is an even less number of organizations with performance management system working the way they ought to and that is to improve performance in the company. Many HR Managers continue to misunderstand it, many line managers don’t care about it, many employees dread it and many organizations see it as a major source of frustrations and politics. Some organizations have a semblance of it used as basis for salary adjustment but are they able to use it as an effective organization development tool? That’s a question that thirsts for an answer. Friends who wish to share their good experience are welcome to share their experience by posting it in the comments section below.

Let me go back to the subject matter. Despite its importance and its promise, why do many HR Managers continue to look away from fully implementing a performance management systems? (Please click here for what I mean with “fully implementing performance management”.) My suspicion is FEAR, and here are my reasons:
  • Trauma – Past attempts that didn’t work. Some Performance Management System concepts are so darn complicated that just thinking about the human energy required to make everything happen can so tiring already. Half-way through the process, many HR managers break with a strong feeling of frustrations due to lack of cooperation and physical exhaustion.
  • Fear of the objective – Some people actually appreciate the subjective-ness of some performance appraisal systems. It helps them manipulate their way to using perceive performance versus actual performance as a basis for appraisal and salary adjustment. It is of no wonder why a lot people get merit increases despite poor results. To have an objective system for setting, monitoring, developing, evaluating and rewarding performance can take away the goose that lay the golden egg for those who choose mediocrity over good performance.
  • It is just so darn difficult – setting performance goals? That’s fairly easy but monitoring it… I’ve seen performance goals gather dust with the 201 file in the shelf, never to be seen again. I suspect that this is the same reason why many managers are afraid to discuss performance appraisal results with their staffs. They are afraid to look at “ the ghost of performance evaluation past” which also paves the way to the fear of “the ghost of performance evaluation future”.
  • Fear of confrontation – A lot of managers are afraid of confronting people with their performance issues, hence they avoid it. This is because of lack of training on how to do it. Employees are afraid of this situation as well because they are also not trained on how to deal with it. A good performance management system provides the necessary equipment to build an environment where managers and employees can discuss performance issues productively and objectively.

There’s got to be a way to make the fear go away and finally make productive use of available performance management system concepts out there. (at least the ones that are not so darn complicated).

On November 23, I am sharing not only my highly opinionated views but experiences as well (and frustrations with existing systems) and suggestions on how to solve our performance management system implementation dilemmas. I’m hoping that it will give you some of the missing pieces that you are looking for. I’m also hoping that it will make you throw away old performance management assumptions that do not work and come up with a performance management system that actually performs in improving organizational performance.

I hope you are reading this far. I always appreciate it when Site meter reports that some people are downloading most if not all of my blog articles. I also heard from people who appreciate reading my articles and use what I share here as reference for their own pursuit of HR Management success. Please do not forget to write back and share how you applied the ideas in your workplace. Knowing people are benefiting from my ideas and experiences beats being paid in cash anytime! It also inspires me to think of new ideas and experiences to share with others. Just leave your comments below. They stick longer than the tag board above or allow me to use your emails as testimonials that I can share with other readers. It might inspire them as well to try out new ideas in their own workplace.

Have a nice day!

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