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Driving performance is not about the annual Performance Review. In fact, companies like Microsoft, Adobe and Accenture are choosing to abandon traditional performance management methods.

Adobe calculated that the annual performance reviews required 80,000 hours of time from their 2,000 managers each year – the equivalent of 40 full-time employees. After all that effort, internal surveys revealed that employees felt less inspired and motivated afterwards!

According to a recent Bersin survey of 2,500 companies, 58% of organisations believe the annual performance review is a waste of time yet, up until recently, 100% of the companies surveyed insisted on doing it!

So, how do you improve performance and staff engagement?

There are 3 key drivers that stimulate high levels of engagement and performance:

  1. Clear Expectations
  2. Consultation
  3. Feeling Valued

All three must be addressed in order for conversations about performance to actually drive performance (rather than just ticking a box!).

1. Clear Expectations
It is not important, nor desirable, to measure everything a person does and how they do it. Instead, start by identifying the critical aspects of their role and then determine valid ways to measure these.
Often this is best done in consultation with the person.

2. Consultation
As the manager, you can choose to set the expectations with your team member, or you can set the expectations and then ask your team member for ideas about how they propose to meet these expectations.
Ensure you are genuinely listening to their ideas and to their questions.

3. Feeling Valued
People feel valued when they can see how their work fits into the ‘big picture’. The cathedral story highlights this very vividly. Three stonemasons were chipping away at a large piece of sandstone. ‘What are you doing?’ they were each asked.

The first stone mason said ‘I’m chipping away at sandstone. Pretty obvious, isn’t it.’

The second said ‘I’m making blocks from the sandstone.

The third said ‘I’m building a cathedral.’

It’s obvious which person feels most proud of his role. He knows he is part of building something magnificent and is, therefore, more motivated in his work, leading to better output and better quality.

A complex, lengthy and time-consuming Performance Review system does not drive performance – as we have discovered through trial and error. Performance is driven by addressing these 3 key drivers and by ensuring that your managers have the skills and the commitment to have short, targeted, frequent conversations with their team members. It’s important to get it right because a business cannot thrive if its people are not performing at their peak.


If you are serious about driving the performance of your people, get in touch to learn more about our ENGAGE FOR SUCCESS program – a dynamic half-day workshop that teaches your leaders how to get the best out of their people, achieve high levels of performance with their team and high levels of job satisfaction for each team member. Click here to LEARN MORE or call us on 1300 085 248.