Why there is no employee performance management middle ground

Once seen as a key driver of employee productivity, business leaders are now starting to consider conventional performance management systems as ineffective, too expensive, and time-consuming and often demotivating.

In recent times we’ve seen companies such as Telkom, ICASA, SAP, Adobe, Sears, Microsoft and others either drastically revamping their traditional processes and systems or moving towards cutting-edge and integrated performance management systems.

There is a lot of talk around alternatives to key elements of the traditional approach to performance management and one of them is around reviewing the ratings-based system.

If you get rid of ratings, then the business becomes a rating-less environment. Of course, the line managers may be delighted by the notion of not having to rate their people, but HR is often baffled by the impact of this. There is therefore one very important question that needs answering before everyone jumps onto this ship – how do you create a solution which assesses performance without a ratings-based system and still enables a business to comply with legislation such as South Africa’s Employment Equity Act?

It is thus critical that Total Reward professionals – those individuals responsible for creating effective Total Reward value propositions for employees – remain on top of industry trends and get advice and support on how to successfully navigate the minefield of challenges faced due to the changing landscape of business. One such way is by attending the annual conference of the South African Reward Association, taking place on 3 and 4 November 2016.

There still needs to be a way of managing the relationship between the employer and the employee, to direct their efforts towards what the organisation and the individual want to achieve.

Whilst various studies have proven that traditional approaches do not work for many businesses and employee profiles, Total Reward professionals need to ensure they adopt appropriate approaches from the best practice trends and clearly define the objectives of their performance management practices. Instead of a “one size fits all” approach, is it possible to consider hybrid models that enable flexibility and empower both managers and employees in different types of businesses to optimally contribute towards business success?

Dr Mark Bussin is the Executive Committee Member of SARA and Chairperson of 21st Century and Lindiwe Sebesho is the President of SARA.

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