Three Ways To Ensure That Your Performance Management Process Isn’t One-Size-Fits-All

Posted by Ed Hutner on February 21, 2019

Performance Management Process for Multigenerational Workforce

By Ed Hutner, Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Deltek

Today’s workforce encompasses an unprecedented range of generational diversity. As Baby Boomers retire, Millennials (born between 1982 and 2004), now make up the majority of the workforce and are growing their careers, while Generation Z (born between 1995 and 2015) is entering the workforce for the first time.

Each generation brings unique characteristics to the workplace—from how they integrate technology into their lives, to how they give and receive feedback, to the career challenges they currently face—and organizations must find new and creative ways to support their professional journeys. 

So how can your HR or leadership team build a performance management program that ultimately meets employees where they are on their career journeys?

One of the most significant ways your HR organization can support a multigenerational workforce is by making sure that performance management isn’t a one-size-fits-all process. Instead, effective performance management should allow for change and growth. This type of process supports an employee at every phase of his or her career, and provides managers with the ability to coach employees along the way.

Build In Flexibility

An effective performance management process isn’t rigid. Instead, it is made up of a mixture of formal and informal components, ranging from check-in conversations to more structured reviews, and ultimately gives employees and managers the ability to work on a timeline that is appropriate for the cadence of their work. Such flexible timelines are critical, as they allow employees and managers to decide on the frequency of conversations and check-ins. Rather than focusing on past performance, working on a more flexible timeline allows employees to share ongoing projects and updates, and address issues as they arise.  

Keep Talking

Organizations like Zappos, Google, and LinkedIn have implemented continuous feedback models for performance management.  What is the benefit? Having a continuous dialogue between employees and their managers allows for more genuine feedback and the opportunity to adjust goals and expectations when it matters the most. Managers have more opportunities to coach employees and provide support. This agile approach to feedback makes employees active participants in the process, and gives managers perspective on skill development and needs within the workforce.

Here at Deltek, employees and managers share the responsibility for regular check-ins throughout the year. Conversations focus on setting and clarifying expectations, encouraging development, and providing feedback.

Make It Easy

A company’s performance management process is only enhanced by being easy to understand, easy to access and easy to use for both employees and their managers. This translates to being readily able to document conversations, engage with learning and development opportunities, and create a plan to accomplish their goals and growth areas. Technology doesn’t need to complicate the process, but should serve as a conduit for information sharing and documenting action items and next steps. Tools can vary from editable templates for Individual Development Plans to systems for recording one-to-one conversations. Providing options for your employees allows for more personalization within the process.  Additionally, your HR team should provide easy-to-follow learning resources that explain the responsibilities of both the manager and employee throughout the performance management process.  Having clear understanding of expectations will drive greater engagement and produce improved productivity results. 

At the end of the day, regardless of which generation of employee you are working with, it is important to keep your team engaged by their work and ensure their managers support their development to help them achieve their professional goals. By building in flexibility, keeping the conversation open, and simplifying your process, your HR organization will be able to support employees at every stage of their work life. 


About the Author

Ed Hutner is Senior Vice President, Human Resources for Herndon-based Deltek, the leading global provider of solutions for project-based businesses. A 20+ year veteran of talent management with a solid foundation built on analytics, technology and education, Ed has a successful record of aligning HR goals with broader strategic plans. Connect with Ed Hutner on LinkedIn.