10 Things HR Can Do Instead of Performance Management

My former employer announced recently that they are doing away with forced rankings and the annual performance management process. Hallelujah! I congratulate them for taking a bold step for developing people and recognizing business contributions in a new way.

Planning LeaderMy PeopleResults colleagues and I have talked before about the need for a change in performance management and the role HR should play in driving that change. When Accenture announced last week they plan to get rid of annual performance reviews, it didn’t take long for my Facebook feed to fill with questions about, “What will HR do now?”

Plenty! HR has been asking for years for time and resources to do more. There is more than enough work for the most productive HR professional to focus on. The ideas below are just a starting point.

  1. Coach executives on ways to develop teams and individuals. Developing people is a skill to be improved upon with lots of practice and time. It doesn’t come naturally to most people, and HR’s skill set positions it well to support executives with improving in this area.
  2. Get out in the business. Spend time with leaders and employees understanding the work they are doing and the issues they are facing. Learn how the company makes money generates revenue and profit.
  3. Get to know your people. Ask them about their career aspirations, their skills and what they need to be successful. Help them find the resources they need, whether it be training, a new project or a mentor.
  4. Educate employees on the full range of benefits the company provides. Somewhere in HR a team of people is working hard to maximize the company’s benefits spend while developing a robust package of benefits that employees find attractive and useful. Not everyone needs pet insurance, but if the person who wants it doesn’t know it is available or how to access it then it really isn’t a benefit.
  5. Learn what drives employee engagement for your people and work with business leadership to address these factors. Yes, leaders, managers and supervisors should be responsible for employee engagement, but you can become an expert in what motivates and inspires people and help translate that into actions. A global program or initiative is not going to increase employee engagement; it starts and ends locally with you and your local leadership.
  6. Take PTO. Stop forfeiting accrued vacation hours – this is like throwing away your paycheck. The company will continue to run while you sit on a beach for a week or two with an umbrella drink (or two).
  7. After you return from PTO, start the practice of going home or shutting down each night at a reasonable hour. Stop the practice of checking email after hours. Working late and checking email constantly sets a ridiculously high bar that leads to burnout while making your colleagues who don’t do these things look like slackers.
  8. Learn something. Subscribe to one of the great bloggers at sites like TLNT or participate in a webcast from the Human Capital Institute. Share what you are learning with your colleagues via Twitter and LinkedIn. If you aren’t learning, you aren’t growing.
  9. Invest in your professional network by getting to know your HR colleagues. Even if you are spread across offices, cities or countries, find a way to spend in person or virtual time together. Share a lunch or coffee, spend time around the water cooler, learn what they do and find ways to help them with their work and professional development.
  10. Have fun! Trust me when I say that these things are all a lot more fun than pulling together spreadsheets, troubleshooting the performance management system or sending reminder emails about that upcoming annual review deadline.

HR professionals, if your company has done away with a time-consuming, energy-sapping process like performance appraisals or forces ranking, you have a great opportunity to fill the void with actions that better focus on the business, the people and your own development. Lucky you!

Heather Nelson is a partner with PeopleResults. Her first assignment in HR was to create an annual review tracking process and report, to which she now says “Good riddance!” You can reach her at hnelson@people-results.com or on Twitter at @HeatherGNelson1. Sign up to receive the PeopleResults blog at Current.