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Mike Morrison

RapidBI - Diagnostic OD tools for change


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Performance Management – why bother? – interesting CIPD research


Performance Management - why bother?

The phrase performance management has been used for some time. Origionally developed out of "appraisals", Performance Management remains one of the consistently used 'methods' in the HR, OD and management field.

Recently the CIPD has conducted some research into performance management recently and the responses from 507 people are curious and leave the reader asking more questions than the research answered.

This short article looks at three of the outputs from that research and explores the potential meaning for HR, OD and managers involved in Performance Management.


From the graph it can be seen that different organisations appear to have a different meaning.  For some it is about appraisal for others it is about 360s and competence.

Why do Performance Management?

This was one of the questions asked in the survey, and to me there is one main reason - to ensure people have the skills required and deliver the required performance - so you can guess I was very surprised to see the survey results:


As most seem to be saying that it is intended as a benefit for the individual - why do so many individuals dislike the process?  have you ever spoke to a "typical employee" and they said you you in a happy tone "I have my appraisal today" - it does happen, but it is the exception rather then the norm. Indeed a few minutes on the web and you can find page after page of results listing why staff dislike the process, and that performance management is a good thing for the organisation.

So why the mis-match with this research? 

Maybe it is down to understanding. In the survey, professionals were asked what they considered Performance Management to be:


With such diverse answers as "regular review meetings", appraisal, 360 feedback, I can only hope that managers and HR professionals in a given organisation all agreed as to what the process is, and who it is for.

Judging by this research we should stop the process. If it is not adding value to the organisations bottom line through ensuring a sensible level of performance through clear objectives and appropriate skills and knowledge, why do it?

Performance management however you describe it is costly from both a line management point of view and a time perspective. In difficult trading and economic conditions we need to ensure that we all focus on what is important. As this seems to be an area where there is confusion and lack of clarity, then maybe it is time to drop this long standing approach, it was after-all only introduced to cover the non performance of managers managing their people in the first place - so if the managers aren't managing and the process is not covering the 'gap' why bother?

What does Performance Management mean to you, your managers and importantly your people?  Who is it for, and how do you measure the results?

This research can be downloaded from the CIPD site Performance management in Action

This piece will be discussed in the Organisational Development discussion group.

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Mike Morrison


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