Kevin Lyons, Senior HR Manager at Pearson

Performance Management Interview with Kevin Lyons, Senior HR Manager, Pearson - GroSum TopTalkKevin Lyons is Senior HR at Pearson in London, the FTSE100 organization and the world’s learning company.
Kevin’s passion is Talent, and what he sees as the twin pillars of Talent Management, Diversity & Inclusion combined with Learning & Development. He is also fascinated by the impact of technology on HR and wider society.

Kevin has a career spanning Human Resources in leading companies and is a regular voice and commentator in media with his views regarding Human Resources.


What is currently missing in the way overall employee performance is being managed?

I believe that performance management gets lost in organizations around complex and bureaucratic processes which lose sight of the value of performance management, which when performed at its best is capable of business transformation. The modern nature of organizations around flexible, project-based and matrix structures requires performance management approaches which are different to traditional models and a new commentary.

Given that a company’s workforce now has a significant proportion of virtual and freelance workers, how should performance management include them?

This reinforces my point about modern structures of organizations and the need to change the performance management approach, and if the organization bases its performance management around non-bureaucratic continual and agile feedback and conversation, and decouples other elements such as pay, and concentrates on a balanced conversation including performance and development, then there is a business transformational reason to include all employees and workers in this business related performance management approach.

What are employees, managers and decision makers looking to do to make performance management more effective?

The pioneering organisations are looking at performance management and moving away from the traditional, administrative once a year of performance only assessment. Those trailblazing companies see the value in the richness of the conversation and adopting agile continual methods.

What are some of the new things being introduced in Performance Management that are working / not working?

What seems to be working is an approach based on three principles, that I believe are fundamental to successful performance management. These are;
That the performance management conversation is continuous
That the conversation is balanced and about development as much as it is about performance
That the conversation is honest

What is not working is sticking to tired, outdated top down once a year performance assessments, with no consideration of development and business aims, and concentrating on the bureaucratic necessity of the system.

If not periodic appraisals, then what & how?

Performance management is an all year round process and needs to be flexible to the needs of matrix and project based work of organisations now and in the future.

So performance management needs to be built on the foundation of a continual, agile conversation which is rich and developmental.

The performance management conversation is then based on what is expected and how it is going, but also on how it should be done and what development is needed for exceptional performance;
Organisations that adopt this approach to performance management will see a substantial positive impact to the culture and achievement of their business.

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