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As a matter of course we try to do this type of mining, usually via interviews, with every company. The results are always eye-opening and drive new directions for both short-term and long-term conversations about proper metrics, goals, responsibility and accountability. The conversations also result in much better buy-in for performance management from everyone involved in the process.


A smart practice. We do the same, but are often limited in our interviewing to leaders and Board members. Sometimes these groups have their finger on the pulse of employee sentiment and concerns, and sometimes not so much. (Sometimes later opportunities to interview or do focus groups with employees reveal information that the leadership group completely misses!) So, I appreciate any opportunity to get insights directly from employees - which is what really appealed to me about this particular approach.

Thanks for sharing your experience!

Hi Ann and Dan:

The CEOs in our study have a 'love/hate' relationship with the performance management process. On one hand they believe it should be the process by which the workforce and organizational leaders dialog on how people actually do work to add to however the organization measures ROI. And they believe a dialog is needed. On the other hand they believe the performance management process too often drifts from meaningful two-way communication to attempts to 'design the ideal performance management form'. And they blame this focus on forms design on folks in the total rewards profession.

A number of the leaders we studied told us that the performance management process in their organization 'has been delegated to either a computer or the web' and the only discussions are about whether the performance form 'should have 3, 5 or 7 levels of performance'.

Our profession needs to 'take hold' of the performance management/reward linkage process. Did you know that WorldatWork no longer offers a Certification Course on performance management? When last asked they said 'membership did not want a course in performance management'. I for one must be 'sitting in the wrong pew' if our profession has decided that performance management is not important.

Any thoughts????


I think the criticism offered by the CEOs in your study is on the money. It is the process by which we ought to be helping people see how their efforts and outcomes contribute to the execution of business strategy. And no question that two-way dialogue should be a critical piece of the performance management process. But so must measurement be. If we intend to connect pay to individual performance, this is the process through which we determine who has achieved in a manner that deserves to be rewarded.

Part of the problem, I think, is that performance management is an orphan of sorts. Learning/OD professionals focus on development and the dialogue, and advocate moving away from ratings (or performance appraisal entirely). Compensation professionals focus too singularly on the form and the ratings, and fail to recognize and address the importance of dialogue.

It would appear that WorldatWork walked away from an opportunity to fill a critical gap here, which is hugely unfortunate. The only ones stepping in to address the lapse are software vendors. Even more unfortunate.

How can we, as a profession, hope to "pay for performance" if we completely abdicate responsibility for measuring performance?

Thanks for the comments - and for raising this important question.

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