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Dear Workforce How Do We Implement a New Performance-Management System Using New Managers

We have a problem centered on two issues: a new performance-management system and a lot of new managers. These new managers are uncomfortable doing employee evaluations because they have only recently started working here themselves. Likewise, employees don’t want to be evaluated by the new managers because they don’t know how they work (although they want some form of evaluation because it’s tied to salary considerations). We contemplated allowing these employees, who often served as "deputies" of our former managers, to do the evaluations themselves. But I’m concerned about how this might influence the evaluations. What should we do?
October 1, 2004
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Related Topics: Performance Appraisals, Dear Workforce
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Dear Befuddled:

Your challenge is not uncommon, especially given the economic chaos of the past three years. That has led to more new managers in the workforce. Don't let that be a reason to uproot performance-management processes or change programs.
Your company's leadership needs to demonstrate how serious performance management is, including being accountable. It doesn't matter whether your organization uses one-way, multi-rater, 360-degree or other performance measures: upper management should understand the process and advocate it. Too many CEOs preach performance management to their employees yet show a woeful lack of knowledge about the process at year's end.
View this as a great opportunity rather than a problem. It gives new managers a chance to demonstrate the importance they attach to good performance management, as well as approach the situation with honesty and care. At the least, new managers should do self-assessments and set goals with their own managers, be it the CEO or another executive. Draw organizational attention to this important step, and even share managers' goals, ranging from economic to developmental, with the broader organization.
Although it may be unfair to ask new managers to comment on an employee's past performance, they certainly ought to be involved in setting future goals. Being new to the company is not an excuse to abdicate that responsibility. New and existing managers should collaborate on a fair rating system. Leaving the responsibility only to existing managers sends the wrong message to both new managers and employees.
Collaboration is important for another reason: performance assessments are often tied to employee compensation. Have new managers poll several existing company managers for whom an employee has worked. Have them consult other data, such as customer feedback (internal and/or external), about the employee. Human resources should play an integral role, ensuring consistency in approach and fairness.
Change brings opportunity. This is a chance to elevate the importance and integrity of performance management within your organization. Don't let the opportunity pass you by.
SOURCE: Matthew C. Levin,Hudson Highland Group, Chicago, November 10, 2003.
LEARN MORE:How Do I Change the Perception of Appraisals?
The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.
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