Staffing Management

Here’s Why Performance Management Feels Like a Cop is Running It …

By HR Blog

Jun. 29, 2012

You have great ideas. You’re going to decentralize the whole performance management process at your company. Power to the managers. Real conversations. Let them run their business. The way it ought to be. The annual review, if it exists, is an afterthought.

Then, a funny thing happens on the way to the forum. A manager with 10 reports turns in their annual reviews with no ratings separation. No narratives written to reinforce the behavior. Or, they have separation related to the ratings they provided, but everyone got a 3 percent raise. Or both.

You know why that happens? Because the manager can’t deal with conflict. Instead of having a tough conversation with the bottom 30 percent of their team related to their performance and the raise that follows, they make the whole thing generic and lacking “separation”.

The goal is to avoid conflict. The problem with Performance Management isn’t HR, it’s the manager.

So the cops come in. They’re from HR. They’re here to help.

Good luck with that, HR comrades. You’re not the problem. Command and control is just the wrong solution.

You know the right solution. It’s just hard as hell to execute.

Kris Dunn is a frequent Workforce Management contributor. He is chief human resources officer at Kinetix and writes the blog The HR Capitalist. He is also the head blogger at Fistful of Talent. To comment, email

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