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[IWS] Towers Watson-UK: TICKING ALL BOXES? A STUDY OF PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT PRACTICES IN THE UK [11 March 2014]
IWS Documented News Service
Institute for Workplace Studies----------------- Professor Samuel B. Bacharach
School of Industrial & Labor Relations-------- Director, Institute for Workplace Studies
16 East 34th Street, 4th floor---------------------- Stuart Basefsky
New York, NY 10016 -------------------------------Director, IWS News Bureau
Ticking all the boxes? A study of Performance Management practices in the UK [11 March 2014]
[full-text, 12 pages]
Our December 2013 survey gathered data on a wide range of topics relating to Performance Management from over 100 UK based organisations representing a wide range of industries.
So what lies behind this headline? Our report reveals more about how Performance Management is actually used in organisations today. We see a striking degree of similarity in the features of Performance Management processes across organisations despite a reported wide range of drivers for having it in the ﬁrst place. Furthermore, we see very little tailoring of the process to meet the diverse needs of different employee populations. Although Performance Management is widely used to identify high potentials, for example, it is not used to manage their performance any differently than the rest of the employee population. Has 'best practice' meant a uniformity of practice which, despite the bullish rhetoric, has made Performance Management just another box to be ticked? Is there an opportunity to revisit the process and tailor it for different segments to better meet their individual needs?
When it comes to setting goals, only 11% of our respondents conduct any kind of calibration either before or after the goal setting process. It strikes us that this is a huge missed opportunity to ensure consistency from the very outset. Moreover, investing a little time at the start of the cycle could potentially reap huge beneﬁts later on in the year when those challenging discussions around parity of objectives come up.
When it comes to assessing performance, the vast majority take a balanced view in evaluating performance against speciﬁc objectives and competencies (the 'what' and the 'how'), however there is much less consistency when it comes to calibrating these evaluations – even less communicating them. In fact only 34% of respondents stated that they were open about the calibration process. Our employee research tells us that the clarity and perceived fairness of Performance Management has a signiﬁcant impact on employees' levels of engagement. This strikes us as a further opportunity for organisations to make a relatively small change that will have a big impact.
Despite the perceived importance of Performance Management to an organisation, very few are investing signiﬁcantly in ensuring their managers are well-equipped to deliver it. In fact, only 17% of our respondents said that their organisations provide comprehensive in-person training with the majority opting for a self-directed approach. For something this important, that impacts each and every employee and drives organisational performance – the key driver for doing it in the ﬁrst place according to our respondents – is it not worth investing a little more?
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