The very best thing you can say about Performance Management tools and systems is that they make a serious effort to have organizational progress come from the top. The focus is on organizational alignment rather than the perpetuation of internally focused initiatives. It is a solid step in the direction of building an HR function that is the heart of organizational alignment.
The typical concern expressed about performance management is that it seems extraordinarily difficult and often unreliable to measure phenomena as complex as performance. People point out that today’s organizations are rapidly changing, thus results and measures quickly become obsolete. They add that translating human desires and interactions to measurements is impersonal and even heavy handed.
An additional concern is that the process of breaking organizational goals down into sub components can become an exercise in self-flagellation.
The alternative view is that any function that can not be directly tied to the organization’s performance objectives is a function that should be jettisoned. Every person, supervisor and department head should be able to quickly and clearly describe the contribution her function makes to the end game.
- John Lennons and the Future of Talent
Jeff Hunter remains one of the brightest minds in the space even though actually working in HR has slowed his output. In this piece, he bemoans the tendency to bypass people who are great at one or two things for those who are mediocre at many things.
You can imagine, from this piece, that he might be concerned that a relentless focus on alignment with a few objectives will make the organization impotent in the face of real environmental friction.
- Wikipedia on Performance Management
Bare bones definition is a good place to start. Performance management is the alignment of goals behind the CEO’s objectives.
- Performance Management – Basic Concepts
“Performance management reminds us that being busy is not the same as producing results. It reminds us that training, strong commitment and lots of hard work alone are not results. The major contribution of performance management is its focus on achieving results — useful products and services for customers inside and outside the organization. Performance management redirects our efforts away from busyness toward effectiveness.” – On Performance in Organizations
- Performance Measurement Documents
The Department of Energy has an amazingly detailed approach to designing internal performance management systems. If you want a model of the hyper-analytical approach, review these documents. Great engineering organizations will emulate this approach. It might not work as well in other environments.
- Innovation in Human Capital Management
The other great mind in HR is Wes Wu. Here, he begins to wrestle with the fact that Talent Management only addresses a small part of the people needs of the organization. In particular, Benchmarks in Performance Measurement is worth a gander.