Centre for International Human Resource Management

Changing the Way We Think about Performance

Invitation-only workshop with Dr Philip Stiles, University Senior Lecturer in Corporate Governance and Co-Director of the Centre for International Human Resource Management

24 November 2016

All organisations want to increase the performance of their employees but the conventional ways of managing performance are no longer working. Recent surveys on the effectiveness of performance management systems the appraisal process, the ranking, the link to rewards show dramatic dissatisfaction with current systems and a general belief that they do not provide real positive impact in the workplace. A particular focus of disenchantment is the forced distribution ranking system. As Laszlo Bock, SVP of People Operations at Google puts it, "employees hate it, managers hate it. Even HR departments hate it." (2015). But most companies have some version of this approach, probably only because other companies have it too. But what is the alternative? How can performance management really be made to work well?

In this invitation-only workshop we explore the new developments in research and in practice that are completely changing the face of how employee performance is managed. First, new research shows that performance is not normally distributed through the organisation but is subject to a Pareto distribution, which means broadly that 20 per cent of the employees are responsible for 80 per cent of the performance.

This has the implication that more than half the workforce is below standard in terms of performance. As a consequence, many companies such as Accenture, Ernst and Young, Medtronic, and Eli Lilly are ditching ratings altogether and putting in place new arrangements to improve the performance of their organisations.

In addition to the particular aspects of performance, this issue has wider implications for the organisation regarding culture and overall effectiveness.

The way an organisation handles performance management has profound effects on its culture. Traditional performance approaches can exacerbate internal competition and politicking and also generate large amounts of bureaucracy which can demotivate managers and staff. This can have large negative outcomes for culture. Add in the fact that few firms provide clear consequences for performance, either in terms of pay or development, and the difficulties for culture start to stack up. So the promise of a new way of performance management is exciting and potentially revolutionary.

This too will have large consequences for the role of the manager and the leader. If there is a move away from standard performance approaches, the onus will be on managers and leaders to have a much more "hands-on" role in managing the performance of their staff, and a number of key questions arise, for example: are managers and leaders ready for this responsibility? What training would they need to ensure they do this well? What kind of mind-set shift is needed for this to be effective?

In this workshop we will explore what those new arrangements are, show the research behind the changes in performance management and ask how such changes may be appropriate for your organisation.


Email Matthew Walkley to confirm your attendance »

Find Out More

Attendance at this event is by invitation only. If you have any queries please contact us at:

Matthew Walkley
Corporate Relations Manager, Executive Education
Cambridge Judge Business School

E: execedcomms@jbs.cam.ac.uk
T: +44 (0)1223 765371

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Dr Philip Stiles

Dr Philip Stiles

© Cambridge Judge Business School, Trumpington Street, Cambridge, CB2 1AG, UK. Tel +44 (0)1223 339700