People performance management

Perspectives on how to design your organisational approach to people performance management

2 March 2023

Performance management needs to transform to cater for a complex and changing workforce

Performance management has existed ever since people learnt to organise themselves. We do not have the exact historical reference for that, but glancing through history we can reference Frederick Winslow Taylor’s book The Principles of Scientific Management from 1911, referring to a concept of continuous development as a consequence of returning challenges. That was his description of engaging people in executing an organisational strategy.

So what is people performance management?
It is a strategy to enable business performance, and we believe that there are several approaches to take to enable business strategy through people.

How often do you hear organisations say: “Our people are our most important asset.” Most organisations want to stand behind this promise, not only for employer branding purposes, but because most executives today realise that the increasing pace and complexity of change require a workforce that can continuously adapt and innovate. In that environment, using an archaic approach to performance management is counterproductive.

Executive leaders today need to reflect on the following questions in order to be efficient and innovative:

  • What is it we really want to achieve through people performance management initiatives?
  • How do we challenge ourselves to successfully navigate between control, direction and goal setting on the one hand, and autonomy, development and empowerment on the other?

In this viewpoint, we will introduce a framework – the “compass” of people performance management –which can provide you with guardrails and facilitate conversations on how to define people performance management initiatives that match your organisational context and aspirations.

There is no one-size-fits-all, but rather an iterative process to changing needs.

We hope that this viewpoint will inspire you.

Determining the right approach to people performance management strategies is key in enabling the right conditions for people to thrive and perform

In order to define the right approach to people performance management strategies, we propose to start by having your organisation define the key achievements which the performance management initiatives should drive.

It all starts with having the right conversations and collectively considering the core beliefs which exist in the organisation on how people are motivated and strive to be the best in an organisational setting.

The performance management compass will guide the conversations and provide examples on what your approach to performance could look like enabled by what motivates your people.

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