Performance Management

Brad Taylor, FCIPD, is the CIPD’s Director of People. Brad joined the CIPD in June 2016. He started his career with Barclays Plc, working across both HR and non-HR roles, before moving into the not-for-profit sector, where he was Director of HR & Workplace with CIMA. One of the areas thatthe CIPD HR team reviewed in 2017 was that of performance management. Having listened to managers and people in the organization, the existing approach to objective setting and the annual appraisal was not delivering the added value and outcomes we knew it potentially could. Itis a busy environment with an array of activities involved and therefore being joined up is important. People wanted timely feedback and reassurance that managers in different departments approached both the objective setting and review in a consistent way, whilst allowing for individual flexing of approach that worked for the differenttypes of roles within the organization. Recent research from the CIPD had found that development-focused conversations resultin more reliable performance conversations. The CIPD wanted to apply this in our own organization, encouraging more use of development conversations, in particular focusing on what skills/capabilities will be learned during the life of the objective. The legacy process of assigning performance grades was removed and the annual appraisal conversation replaced with monthly one-toones, where the focus is on progress against objectives, well-being and learning. To assist managers keeping a record of progress, a performance grid was introduced as a tool to track outcomes as well as attitude and behaviour. Rather than being a one-off rating tool, itis designed for managers to refer to as often as needed. Furthermore, the conversation was separated from pay review conversations to encourage more open and honest reflection. Updating the process is one thing, but, in order to help people begin to make the transition, a series of workshops with line managers facilitated by members of the HR team were putin place. The focus was notjust on explaining the process, but enabling discussion and exploration of ideas to take place. To help provide focus and line-of-sight, individual performance plans were updated to include the organization’s key (strategic) goals for the year. Heads of departmentthen record their own area’s objectives that will contribute to overall success so thattheir people can, in turn, draft their objectives thatfeed into the department’s success. This alignment is really helpful in enabling individuals to understand how their performance impacts on the wider organization. Understanding the result of these changes becomes apparent over time. Achievement of organizational goals is one important measure. Another is through monitoring regular pulse survey responses in associated areas such as satisfaction with line management and feeling able to contribute to the organization’s success. Moving forward, the CIPD is looking to automate the recording and tracking of these objectives in the future. The aim of this is for our leadership to better understand how resource is deployed:

Which activities are over-resourced/under-resourced?

Is resource spread too thinly across objectives?

We intend to use the information gathered to enable more predictive people metrics and reporting, ie is the organization at risk of not achieving a goal or ahead of the curve?

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