To meaningfully honor dignity and inspire continuous improvement (and to avoid year-end surprises), performance management should be part of a culture of ongoing feedback.
Effective performance management advances fairness, inclusion, recognition, acknowledgment, and growth.
Performance reviews should be part of an ongoing process of giving transparent feedback consistently to all team members to encourage employee growth. Year-end or other scheduled reviews give managers structured opportunities to advance dignity elements like recognition, fairness, and accountability. And they give organizations important performance trend data, by functions and demographic groups, which can point to systemic development opportunities or needs.
However, more often than not, one-shot annual performance reviews have mixed results: They can use up valuable time and resources, discourage those who don’t react well to constructive feedback, and inject bias (and resulting unfairness!) into the process. To be done well, and to honor dignity in the workplace, performance management should be part of a culture of ongoing feedback for continuous improvement (and avoidance of end-of-year surprises) that is managed for bias, encourages growth, and supports managers.
The key organizational functions that play a role:
Human resources generalist/business partner
Inclusion and diversity teams
What the organization can do: Actions
1. Educate managers about effective performance management.
2. Educate employees and managers about effective self-evaluations.
3. Have a process!
4. Ensure that the process allows for recognition of contributions to organizational culture and values.
5. Encourage ongoing management of performance.
6. Factor the relevance of external crises and other stressors into individual assessments and the overall structured process.
7. Use data to analyze diversity and inclusion trends in performance reviews, then act on the results.
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