Home' HR Monthly : November 2014 Contents 26
something particularly bold for a huge international
firm that has relied heavily on its traditional system.
"We are going to 'blow up' performance
management," he says.
The existing process won't be reduced to dust. It will
be mothballed as a fallback for the small percentage of
staff who aren't performing. But a new, positive system
will be soon piloted at Deloitte's Australian offices.
There will be four components:
1. Regular weekly or fortnightly check-ins.
2. Short eight-question pulse surveys conducted via an
app to give team managers quick views of how their
teams are functioning and which individuals are
3. A quarterly performance snapshot designed to be a
real-time evaluation by managers of each employee's
4. Quarterly talent reviews where, says Bashinsky,
leaders "sit down and have a look at what the talent
looks like [in a specific business stream] rather than
trying to evaluate the whole workforce".
In a huge cultural change for Deloitte, it will be a
system without ratings. Instead of calibrating staff
against each other, the spotlight will be shone on each
"We are really trying to build the leader as a coach,"
says Bashinsky. It's a model he believes will appeal to
younger workers who prefer regular feedback. Ongoing
conversations should also deliver fewer surprises.
"In the old system, twice a year you weren't sure if
you were going to have a good conversation or a bad
conversation because nothing happened in between."
Big data will play its role, as all feedback will be
collated to build managers a picture of how each staff
member is travelling.
The biggest challenge for Deloitte will be the cultural
change. "We have some fairly entrenched management
styles within our leaders," says Bashinsky.
Getting rid of ratings gets a big tick from David
Rock, director of the NeuroLeadership Institute, who
says assigning people a number is the biggest failing
of current systems. "Quality by number puts people
in a box," he says. "It encourages people to try to
look good rather than to get better, and it activates
a fixed mindset, not a growth mindset, which is not
what you need.
"It isn't a silver bullet, but the companies that have
got rid of the numbers have reported that they're not
going back. They are very happy with the change."
Starting from scratch
PricewaterhouseCoopers partner Emma Grogan is a
remuneration and performance management specialist.
She's advising clients to scrap their current performance
management system where they can and start again
"Traditionally these systems have been HR-led or
HR-owned and we are seeing that transition to a system
being more business unit-led, or just unit-owned, to get
that type of alignment to strategy," says Grogan.
"We are also seeing the system move from being
very focused on historical performance to more of a
developmental contribution-type focus. It isn't just about
'You documented a KPI 12 months ago and I am going
to give you performance for that.' It is actually about
'Let's look at your contribution over the last 12 months
and things may have changed' -- because 12 months is a
nonsensical timeframe in the new worlds of work.
"If you think about coaching a sporting team, there is
no way in the world you would wait right until the end
of the season to sit down and say, 'Let me give you all
Grogan says some companies have huge systems
they feel they can't scrap and are instead making
incremental changes. And, for many, there is a "big area
of nervousness" around management's willingness and
capability to take ownership of managing performance
and actually having the difficult conversations.
"It is certainly a valid concern, so companies need to
put more support in place for coaching," she says.
Winners at Work managing
director Tim Baker has
talked to 1200 HR people
in the last 24 months. They
all told him the same thing:
systems aren't working.
The research prompted
Baker to come up with a
new system: a series of
five 10-minute guided
conversations that take
place at least monthly.
It's early days, but Baker
is studying the companies
adopting the approach. "I
don't have any cold, hard
evidence that it's actually
working yet, but people
are saying they are getting
much more out of it."
Baker admits the system
isn't rocket science. "The
irony is, show me a good
manager and I'll show you
someone who is doing this
anyway," he says. "That's
what a leader is supposed
to be doing."
"QUALITY BY NUMBER PUTS PEOPLE IN A
BOX. IT ENCOURAGES PEOPLE TO
TRY TO LOOK GOOD RATHER
THAN TO GET BETTER."
NEUROLEADERSHIP INSTITUTE DIRECTOR,
For more information, visit
AHRI runs a short
course on managing
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