Paul Falcone (www.PaulFalconeHR.com) is a human resources executive in Los Angeles who has held senior leadership positions with Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon, and City of Hope Cancer Research Hospital. Paul is a top-rated presenter and an adjunct faculty member in UCLA Extension’s School of Business & Management. He is a bestselling Harper Collins / AMACOM Books author of titles including 96 Great Interview Questions to Ask Before You Hire, 101 Tough Conversations to Have with Employees, 101 Sample Write-Ups for Documenting Employee Performance Problems, 2600 Phrases for Effective Performance Reviews, 75 Ways for Managers to Hire, Develop, and Keep Great Employees, and The Performance Appraisal Tool Kit.
What is currently missing in the way overall employee performance is being managed?
Leaders at many companies in corporate America fail to provide employee feedback regularly, and on a larger scale, hold employees accountable for results. Raising awareness about performance expectations and helping workers set appropriate goals, provide quarterly feedback to their managers, and develop an “achievement mentality” is still a missing link in many organizations’ performance management programs.
Given that a company’s workforce now has a significant proportion of virtual and freelance workers, how should performance management include them?
Since many freelancers and remote workers are typically “invisible” to the organization, it becomes all the more critical that expectations and measurable outcomes be established upfront, managed throughout the engagement period, and confirmed upon completion. Project-based work is highly manageable and measurable, but it’s critical that managers keep their eye on the deliverables to minimize drama or last-minute surprises. Setting interim milestones that measure performance and accomplishments are critical to success.
What are employees, managers and decision makers looking to make performance management more effective?
Theories abound. . . Annual reviews are dead, apps now permit real-time feedback, artificial intelligence can point out employees who are burned out, otherwise disengaged, or likely to leave . . . If it were only that simple! In reality, annual reviews are alive and well, but they shouldn’t be used in lieu of periodic real-time feedback rather than as a culmination scorecard or balance sheet of sorts. Apps that make real-time feedback are great, but only if management is willing to share feedback. And artificial intelligence is in its infancy stages in terms of its predictability and usefulness. Don’t limit yourself to only the new-fangled inventions: Insist that your managers hold employees accountable and communicate adequately by setting goals, holding 1-on-1 in quarterly feedback meetings that also discuss employees’ professional and career development interests, and capturing feedback accurately during the annual review to teach, reward, and when necessary, minimize liability that could stem from wrongful termination litigation.
What are some of the new things being introduced in Performance Management that are working/not working?
To the points above—when it comes to apps, artificial intelligence, and whatnot—nothing replaces one-on-one feedback. “Best bosses” are those who have their employees’ backs, encourage them to challenge themselves, and create an environment where employees can motivate themselves. That’s what leadership, recognition, and accountability look like. It can’t be outsourced, robotized, or otherwise relegated to newer technologies. The strongest leaders will always be people developers, good listeners, and role models who demonstrate ethics, transparency, and trust.
If not periodic appraisals, then what & how?
Annual appraisals are still being used in the majority of companies because those that have switched exclusively to organic, real-time feedback tools have found that little information gets passed along. The path of least resistance is avoidance, and no software or app will make that responsibility any easier. Quarterly feedback relating to goal attainment, career and professional development, and how to reinvent the workflow in light of the organization’s changing needs leads to respect, trust, and innovation, which are the hallmarks of the highest performing organizations.