In our most recent article on the Perfect Performance Management Process, a few eyebrows were raised in our first paragraph around who should own performance management. In addition, HR Bartender recently penned a great piece on HR’s Role in Helping Organizations Accept Feedback where there is lively discussion in the comments.

We’ve had the good fortune over the years to work with hundreds of companies. As we continue to bring on more customers, we’re constantly keeping our ears to the ground, understanding trends, and listening to the needs of our customers. Through boardroom meetings, late night phone calls with CEO’s, and seamless customer onboardings, we’ve gained the confidence to challenge the status quo about some of the more traditional thinking around performance management.

The biggest question challenging the state of performance management: “Who should own it?”

Who Should Own Performance Management?

A simple, yet provocative question that may lead to findings not aligned with tradition. Before we dive into who should own HR, let’s understand 2 simple facts:

1) “performance management’s” reputation is at an all time low throughout companies world wide, yet the need for feedback and performance management in the workplace has never been greater.

2) HR has at least 20 competing priorities for their time yet HR get defaulted into managing traditional performance management.  

These findings began to uncover the truth around who should own performance management.

Performance Management’s Reputation and Effectiveness

It’s very clear traditional performance management is not working (Read how to execute a perfect performance management process). Regardless of who owns it today, performance management ownership needs to change. Any General Manager of any sports team with these numbers would have seen the exit door years ago.

Successful companies like Google, Accenture, and GE are making the changes, but not everyone has the resources to build their own customized app.

Too Much on HR’s Plate:

Here is just the tip of the iceberg of what HR must manage:

  • Recruitment
  • Selection
  • Benefits
  • Payroll
  • Compensation
  • Training
  • Compliance
  • Incentives
  • Terminations

How on earth could any smart, logical CEO put another item on HR’s plate? The current functions of HR are already overwhelming and how they need to do performance management? When these priorities are all stacked against each other, performance management gets put off time and time again.

Quality Performance Management Produces Results and Retention

Results and retention are the top two priorities of every manager — all the way up to the CEO. These goals are achieved through performance management, continuous, effective feedback, and quarterly performance reviews. If the top two goals of every manager are achieved through performance management, then why would HR be involved with anything outside the selection and monitoring of performance management?

Distribute the productivity and execution of your organization across the chosen leaders in your company: the managers.

When laying out the facts, the question around who should own performance is clear: the CEO and the managers with HR. Human Resources should not have a very influential opinion into what it looks like and how it should be monitored, but if companies are ever going to get performance management right, they need to seriously raise the question of who owns performance management.

After all, why should HR have to own performance management too?

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