I have noticed a trend in recent years of articles being published which declare the death of the performance review or which deride them as a waste of time. In this latest post, I offer the counter view that the performance review is not the problem, but that it has had its reputation sullied by the following common contributors to ineffective performance reviews:

1. Performance appraisals rather than performance management cycles. A performance appraisal is a one-off event with little link to business strategy.  A genuine performance review should be the final phase of a performance management cycle (annual or six monthly) which commences with setting performance objectives linked to business goals. This distinction is the critical factor which determines whether performance reviews are perceived as just another bureaucratic HR process or a valuable business tool.

2. A dearth of SMART objectives. Despite all the talk about and training in setting SMART objectives they are still all too rarely seen. This renders the performance evaluation too subjective and people lose trust in the fairness of the process. Setting SMART objectives requires a commitment of time and energy and a ruthless approach to making them SMARTer.

Thinking about your organisation for a moment, which of these phenomena are prevalent? ‘Personality clashes’. Employees being micromanaged by their bosses. Slow and bureaucratic decision-making processes. Poor communication.

If these issues are part of the daily fabric of your organisation it simply highlights how hard it is to find ‘good’ employees, right? Well, probably not. There is every chance that the culprit is a low profile and oft neglected aspect of the company – the organisational structure.

It’s not a popular thing to say out loud but the majority of organisations out there have too many reporting layers. Way too many, in fact.

Why does this occur? It is partly simply because of the lack of thought and planning that goes into organisational structures. Organisational structure is a critical enabler or blocker with respect to achievement of a company’s strategic objectives. Therefore it is perplexing to see how often structure is overlooked by senior leadership teams as an area requiring their focus, and then evolves haphazardly, and ultimately hinders organisational performance.

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AuthorMichael Sleap