Intuit was recently featured in Workspan magazine (“Performance Management Rewired for the Recovery,” requires subscription log-in) speaking to their performance management approach. One factor deserving of special focus is their blending of evaluation, compensation, recognition and opportunity to reward performance.

Blending – that’s the operative word. Too often, companies implement these performance management tools or practices (or just some of these) as stand-alone efforts. What’s the result? As recent research I’ve referenced twice before points out:

“Employees were particularly dissatisfied with the performance of their companies in three broad areas:

• Performance management, which includes the processes and systems that set targets, collect feedback, and link actions to results
• Recognition, which includes formalised ways of acknowledging and rewarding strong performance
• People manager capabilities, which include people skills and leadership behaviors throughout the organisation”

Much of the dissatisfaction stems from the use of the wrong tool for the job. Too many still assume that an annual performance review – the key tool of a performance management system – is all the feedback and recognition an employee needs. On the flip side, companies that implement an employee recognition solution don’t do so strategically, missing out on the hard employee data that can strongly complement performance management systems. Both scenarios are strongly influenced by the capabilities of the people involved – managers who don’t know how to use either programme effectively (or don’t care to) will sabotage even the best efforts.

Let’s make this clear. A performance review, regardless of how frequent, is not recognition. And recognising an employee – showing them your appreciation – is not the time to give them negative feedback (ignore the silly advice for a “compliment sandwich”). BUT — and this is very important – the information gleaned from recognition practices should feed performance management initiatives, and vice versa.

This is easy – if your recognition programme is strategic. Now you can easily track who is recognised, how frequently, for demonstrating what values or contributions to which objectives. And you can also see the correlation between the amount of recognition received by individuals and their ranking based on your performance management system. You may even find hidden power players. You can also prove the value of your programmes by showing how increased recognition results in reduced turnover, for example.

Blending. Get the most from your data.

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