Advice on Rebooting Performance Management: M. Tamra Chandler Q+A (Part 2)

December 28, 2021 Sarah Payne

 How Performance Management is Killing Performance—and What To Do About It Book CoverIn part one of our Q&A with author and consultant M. Tamra Chandler, we discussed the 8 fatal flaws of performance management, the changing manager-employee relationship, and the need for crowdsourced recognition.

So perhaps you’re convinced that performance management needs to change. Where do you start? How have other companies found success? And what exactly is replacing the annual review?

Tamra shares a real-world example and explains how social recognition, “can play a significant role in the performance management reboot.”

Read part 2 of her Q&A below.


1. Do you have advice for HR and/or business leaders who want to reboot performance management in their organization?

Ha! I sure do.  In fact, I have so much advice that I felt compelled to write a book full of it!  Seriously, if you’re considering going down this path, I highly recommend getting yourself ready for the journey. That means taking the time to educate yourself and be sure you know your stuff. Knowledge is key to building your confidence and courage – and trust me, you’ll need that courage. Then turn your attention to your leaders. Don’t move ahead until you’ve educated them as well. They need to understand what isn’t working and the value of trying something new. At the very least, they need to understand it enough to trust you to lead the way.


2. Can you share an example of a company that successfully re-designed its performance management?

One story I like to share highlights a large government-type entity that worked with us to take a fresh look at their process. In the end, their redesign had a few really interesting elements that were welcome and significant changes for them. They recognized that their workforce was too diverse (from truck drivers to skilled contract negotiators for global agreements) for one approach or one set of tools to work for everyone. In other words, they embraced Fundamental Shift #4: Abandon Uniformity, so they took a good look at the different needs that existed within their organization.

They recognized the need to create a simple set of core expectations that would apply to all employees. This common core was defined by three goals chosen by each employee. One goal was aligned to the organization’s mission, another to an individual’s department or team priority, and the third was development oriented.

Beyond that common core, they decided to create tools and approaches designed to meet the needs of their diverse workforce segments – a menu of development and coaching tools, if you will. For example, the menu included project-based tools, team-based content, and more. This flexibility allowed employees to customize their experience to better meet their career and development needs. It was a huge win that was well-received by leaders and employees alike.


3. Even very traditional companies are ditching the annual review. In your opinion, what should replace it?

Before we can replace it, we need to understand the intended purpose of the annual review. In my book I define the three common goals of performance management as:  1) develop people; 2) reward equitably; and 3) drive organizational performance. Today, we find that most traditional approaches to performance management try to accomplish all three of these goals while relying only on that archaic review, and they largely fail on all counts. To achieve all three goals in the best manner for your organization might mean replacing it with several new methods, tools and approaches, not just one.

If we assume that the intent of your annual review is to give feedback, then I’d suggest that nothing is better than providing insights in the moment, or as close to the moment as possible, as opposed to creating a window or two during the year to share your perspective. Also, we’d all be better humans if we received insights from more people than just our bosses.

“We’d all be better humans if we received insights from more ppl than just our bosses.” @mtchandler
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So, the real nirvana that most people are seeking is to build healthy cultures where feedback and coaching are part of the everyday routine. Unfortunately, most of our organizations are miles away from realizing that aspiration. To get there, we need to build some people-management muscle, and we may need to do some culture work to create an environment where being open and honest feels safe.


4. What role does social recognition play in rebooting performance management?

Social recognition can play a significant role in your performance management reboot. Why? Because it supports so many of the key shifts we are seeking. It allows us to recognize contributions, small and large. It enables peer recognition, which is hugely valuable as an engagement driver for the individuals involved as well as the organization as a whole. It can also reinforce our organizational goals, thereby strengthening our connections to one another and to the purpose of the organization. So much power!

“Social recognition can play a significant role in your performance management reboot.” @mtchandler
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5. What does a more human workplace mean to you?

It means being able to accept the reality that we are human, which means we’re messy, complicated, unique, biased, emotional, fallible—but also creative, thoughtful, and insightful. In other words, all those things that make us both wonderful yet difficult to manage. Once we can truly accept these things about ourselves and one another, we can begin to have more real conversations, more authentic experiences, and frankly, a lot more fun.

Advice on Rebooting Performance Management: @mtchandler Q+A #workhuman
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If you missed the first half our our interview with Tamra, head over to our resource center to read more.


8 Fatal Flaws of Performance Management: M. Tamra Chandler Q+A (Part 1)

Top 6 Takeaways from Total Rewards 2016

The Art and Science of Coaching

R.I.P. Annual Performance Review. Now what?

Infographic: The Startling Truth About Performance Reviews

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