The Top 5 Reasons Managers Don’t do Performance Management

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min read
July 1, 2024
July 1, 2024
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Do you feel like you’re the only person trying to get managers to do performance management? Getting to the bottom of why managers don’t have the conversation was the topic for discussion at Appraisd’s webinar.

For this session, our founder, Roly Walter, asked performance management experts Tom Blake of Blake Connolly; Amira Kohler of People Stuff, and Marc Earnshaw of People Dev to bust some myths!

Here are the highlights.

You can watch the whole session here.

1. The myth | I don’t have time for performance management

Our advice | Ask managers how much time they think they need? And what they’re trying to get out of the conversation? As it might be that they’re overthinking it. Yes, there are times when you might need to do more preparation (such as an objectives review)  but suggest they start with a small step that takes five to 10 minutes, asking: ‘How are you getting on today?’ or ‘How did you get on with that piece of work?’ Reinforce to managers that they don’t need to pull everything about performance into one conversation and it doesn’t have to be corrective. Plus, let them know that they don’t need to know all the answers or be able to solve all the problems; just to be the sounding board.

2. The myth | I don’t feel comfortable doing a performance review

Our advice | Find out which managers are not comfortable and what they are uncomfortable about doing. Do they just need help with prompts? Do they need some coaching? Acknowledge to these managers that it might be awkward but that the best way to make it more comfortable is little and often: don’t store up months of feedback for one discussion and don’t make it a long meeting that has to cover every aspect of performance. Remind managers that although it’s great to be friendly with their teams, they need to set boundaries in the relationship as there is a power dynamic that needs to be considered.

3. The myth | I only need to do a review when it’s bonus salary review time

Our advice | There are a few issues with this approach, and as Tom shared from his own experience, this can make it feel as though you’re re-interviewing for your own job every year! which is awkward and de-motivating. Another issue with waiting until it’s time to discuss remuneration, is that there could be a nasty surprise in store for employees if they haven’t had their expectations managed throughout the year. The stakes are high when it comes to salaries and bonus so ensure your managers don’t make a performance discussion more awkward by always combining it with reward.

4. The myth | My team members are all doing fine, so I don’t need to check in with them

Our advice | My people are fine, why can’t they just get in with their jobs? Well, how do you know they’re fine if you’re not talking to them? People’s aspirations and motivations change over time so it’s still important to have the conversation. Set a cadence that works for each person; for example, new joiners will need more regular conversations. Even if someone is doing fine, remind managers that a performance conversation is also an opportunity to give recognition or show gratitude. Although the manager might not instantly feel this is valuable for them, it means a lot to the team member to know how they’re doing and to get some kind of validation that they’re on track.

5. The myth | I don’t see the point

Our advice | Rather than not seeing the point, this sounds like a manager who isn’t seeing the value for them. In this situation, can you find out what relevant hook there are for this manager’s specific context? As it’s unlikely that extolling the general benefits of performance management will make a difference! For example, is there a retention issue that better onboarding could help with? Is there an engagement problem? Or, in a regulated industry, could better performance management mitigate risk? This myth is also one that can be dispelled by HR leading by example, so make sure HR is acting as a role model for performance management.

Busting the performance management myths

Thank you to our guests, and to everyone who attended and asked some great questions! If we didn’t get to your question during the session, we’ve put together a Q&A summary here.

Do you have any more questions about performance management? Let’s talk.

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