Business has long persevered with a process that doesn't work, creates anxiety, fuels disengagement, encourages internal conflict, and ultimately leads to resignations.
If there was any other process in a business that had no measured 'benefit' for the effort and time it takes, then it probably wouldn't last long. Yet, many have persevered with the dreaded formal performance review even though both employers and employees have, generally speaking, hated the whole process.
Let's be honest. There's something inherently uncomfortable about sitting across a table from someone (often with tissues at the ready), and talking to them, about them.
Even if we are giving great feedback, or receiving it, we know we are still judging, or being judged. Yuk. The process is confrontational.
Worst of all though, especially for us H Agents, is that we have never seen this process actually positively change behaviour. Ever.
The performance review is usually used as a tool against someone, rather than a tool to guide someone. The intention is usually to "performance manage" - which is, in many workplaces, the not-so-secret codeword for being "managed" 'out', not managed 'up'.
For the rest of the team, they are not involved in the conversation, but they see it, and they wonder when this might happen to them. Everyone keeps their heads down.
Perhaps businesses have persisted because people feel like they have to do something.
LONG LIVE THE OUTCOME CONVERSATION
We agree - businesses should have a formal process for talking about performance, so that clarity of what it is can be established, and people can be guided to achieving it - but let's do something that works.
At The H Factor, we believe that the key to having an effective process to guide performance, is to shift the focus. Instead of talking about the person, we shift the focus on to the outcome that the person is accountable for achieving.
We ask, "If this is the outcome that you are responsible for, how would you like to deliver it ... and what do you need from the business?"
This questioning process removes the personal judgement, and enables an effective conversation - and negotiation - about the delivery of the desired work outcome. Everyone can focus on what is to be achieved, rather than the personality traits of the person tasked with achieving it. People are more likely to open up about their difficulties and challenges, rather than hide them. This questioning process sparks innovation, flexibility, and productivity.
The H Factor performance management process is based around the Outcome Conversation.
During the implementation of the system, we train our clients and their teams on how to change the process of performance management from one that is ineffective at changing behaviour, to one that works. It's not always easy, but once learned, our clients see the benefits of an engaging, enjoyable, and inspiring conversation about their business outcomes, with the people they employed to deliver them.
H Agents write about the joys and challenges of entrepreneurship and managing people.