New study highlights power of performance management systems

Performance review

A recent study out of the UK has great takeaways for HR pros across the globe on the use and effectiveness of performance management (PM) systems.
London-based Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) shared research showing that, where PM systems are absent or poorly designed, organizations are losing valuable insight that can help workers contribute more to long-term growth.
As one of the respondents said, “Development should be linked to ongoing performance management, because, otherwise, there’ll be a disconnect between how well people are performing and the skills they need to improve […] If somebody needs development in certain areas, how do you know that, if you haven’t got the performance management to back it up?”

Watch for discrimination when designing and implementing PM systems

The research also highlighted many organizations’ ongoing challenge in recognizing the various ways that unequal treatment can show up in performance management processes and procedures, even where there is no intent to discriminate.
While half of UK organizations surveyed adjust employee performance monitoring practices for employees permitted to have flexible working arrangements, only about a quarter of those surveyed make similar adjustments for staff with special needs, disabilities and conditions such as dyslexia and autism.
Not only could that expose organizations to lawsuits but it leaves those workers at a disadvantage and can erode their motivation and productivity.
Other findings point to many employees seeing the use of PM systems as unfair and demotivating, which Acas connects to the design and implementation of the systems, along with insufficient manager training in how to use them effectively.
HR pros should have the strategic vision to challenge exclusionary practices and push for a culture of fairness within organizations. Performance management systems can help to encourage—and measure progress towards—that critical goal.

Tim McElgunn
Tim, a member of the HRMorning staff, is a veteran writer and editor. His background includes producing and managing publications for Bloomberg, Frost & Sullivan, Gartner Group and McGraw-Hill. Email: