Guest post from Shawn Cloete:


Before we dive into the 2018 HR Trends in Employee Performance Management. We should look back on where Employee Performance Management originated from for the sake of the readers not familiar with its origins. Firstly, what is performance management?


Performance Management is an opportunity for a manager and an employee to meet and discuss the employee’s job performance, their performance goals, and organisational priorities.



Performance Management is no new concept. however holistically, the way companies conduct Performance Management has changed greatly over the last 100 years, so we thought you the reader might like to see a brief overview of Performance Management over the years.


Early 1900s: The Performance Management humble beginnings

We researched several sources and most sources suggest that performance management reviews etc were invented by WD Scott as early as World War I. In the early 1900s employers started making the correlation between worker satisfaction and greater work productivity and by the 1920s Elton Mayo, the Father of HR, measured the relationship between productivity and the work environment and as a result of the Great Depression, pensions, labour standards and minimum wages were instituted. 1900s employers started making the correlation between worker satisfaction and greater work productivity and Mayo’s work helped change the treatment of employees in the 1940s, where managers started acting more like leaders instead of taskmasters and by the 1950’s well the Government gets involved to introduce new acts and policy frameworks.


1950s: Developing a Formal System

By the mid-1950s, formal performance management were much more commonly known, with companies using personality-based systems for measuring performance. Towards the end of the 1950s however, an unease at these systems began to develop, as not only was there no element of self-appraisal, but the personality-based approach did very little in terms of monitoring performance.


1960s: Measuring Objectives & Goals

Fastward 10 years and in the 1960’s Pay for Performance is introduced, geared more towards looking at what an individual might be able to achieve in the future (as opposed to how competent their personalities appeared to be at the time of being assessed). As the 1960s progressed, performance appraisals began to do a better job of actually assessing performance, by focusing more on goals and objectives, and including much more by way of self-appraisal.


1970s: Fault Finding and Legal battles

The term “performance management” was coined by Aubrey Daniels. Daniels published a book called “Bringing out the best in People” and started focusing on Organisational Behavior Management which was an analysis of behavior to organizations to improve individual and group performance and worker safety. At a time where there was a lot of criticism about how appraisals and reviews were being conducted, and several cases were even taken to court. A lot of this was down to how subjective and opinion-based most performance management systems were, and so as the 1970s progressed, companies started including a lot more psychometrics and rating scales.


1980s – Early 2000s: Holistic Measures

The 1980s brought about MBO or management by objectives. Which some say brought about management by walkabout, looking over your shoulder with a micromanagement magnifying glass killing all forms of engagement. The next 20 years saw an increase in companies focusing on employee motivation and engagement, which led to a more holistic approach to performance management and appraisals. Companies began measuring brand new metrics as part of their appraisal processes, such as self-awareness, communication, teamwork, conflict reduction and the ability to handle emotions. A lot of which is still in practice today, 38 years later!!!


Fast track this to today’s time and what has changed or busy changing? Well, we don’t need historical research to tell us that employees hate being ranked by numbers i.e rating scales, but its a reality for us still in Africa and to a large extent globally. We thiink it’s time as Africans to do something about those outdated, backward-looking, 1-5 employee performance management systems in 2018 and if you still don’t want to ditch the old school ratings, don’t worry, the guys at Teamphoria have your back so you can gradually transition at your own pace while still keeping your rating scorecard. So what are our options? Well we have been very fortunate to work with people in America that specialise in performance management software and I’m happy to report that many companies are pulling down the traditional hierarchy in favour of more equal working environments and with mobile technology giving us more flexibility and with more companies recognising the value of a great company culture, we believe that the definition of what good performance is will continue to shift and that the largest growing trends include quality conversations or regular checkins, square peg in a round hole ratings (you either in or you out – coaching people up or out the door), peer evaluations, reducing the need for endless paperwork and red tape come review time will only get better and better.

Below are five trends in employee performance management for you to reflect on and bring about change in your organisation according to Author: Tyler Beekley.


Trend #1: The power of Quality Conversations

Most of us know by now annual performance evaluations don’t work. Employees need constant feedback, According to researchers at the NeuroLeadership Institute, most companies choose one of two options.

  • The first option is a highly structured conversation regarding employee performance. The HR department can identify a few topics to be discussed and provide guidance on how to discuss them.
  • The second option is a guided conversation, where managers provide a general framework, and the conversation focuses on goals and progress within an employee’s role. Both options work to prime people (both employees and managers) to induce a growth mindset, improving reception of feedback and collaboration.


Trend #2: Renounce Salary Ties

Generally, performance evaluations are tied to salaries or hourly wages. This makes the performance review process very delicate. Managers will want to discuss performance needs and improvements, while employees are focused on small issues like career advancement and compensation. This puts the parties at odds with one another and the discussion suffers. To prevent these issues, many companies are separating their compensation discussions and performance evaluations. By keeping the conversations separate and ongoing, managers can alleviate employee anxiety and promptly respond to any complaints or concerns.


Trend #3: Utilize Peer and Self Evaluations

One of the most effective ways to get subjective feedback on an employee’s performance is through self and peer evaluation. In the case of Google, a company that has no managerial evaluation of employees, self-assessment and peer reviews are the frameworks for its performance management strategy. Also joining in is Microsoft, which has completely abandoned traditional performance tactics and instead focuses on leveraging peers and emphasizing continual learning and growth. This system helps managers assess strengths and weaknesses to make decisions regarding promotions and raises. It also provides an opportunity for employees to think introspectively about their roles in the workplace.


Trend #4: Implement The In or Out Rating

As organizations continue to rid themselves of numerical ranking systems, one rating has remained in some companies’ performance management philosophies. The “In or Out” rating is a determination of an employee’s cultural fit with the company. Rather than assessing someone’s problem areas or worth, it answers the question of “Should you stay here?” At Juniper, employees are rated as a “J-Player” or a “Non-J Player.” In Juniper Network’s experience with the “In or Out” rating, more than 80 percent of the people rated as “Non-J Players” opted to leave the company on their own. These employees understood that they would never succeed in their current role.


Trend #5: Onward, to the Digital Future

To minimize the amount of time wasted on paperwork and niceties, a lot of companies are looking toward the digital future for answers. Performance management tools alleviate a large amount of the work involved with performance evaluations. They allow for constant feedback, conversations, and performance tied to goals and recognition—all in real-time.


If you would like to discuss these topics for your business you can reach out to us here:


Shawn Cloete Founder at THIINK | Entrepreneur : Streamlining business complexity by delivering world class digital solutions.

Sign up for Teamphoria’s employee performance review software today!

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