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According to Gartner, 82% of HR leaders feel that their organisation’s performance management process is ineffective. Why? Because the research behind performance and productivity consistently shows us that performance isn’t something we can manage.

We can’t simply tell employees to perform better. What we can do is provide the right conditions and culture to allow our colleagues to flourish.

The ‘forced distribution’ approach to performance management creates an environment where colleagues compete with each other for a piece of the pie. If one person has a larger piece, this means someone else has a smaller piece. Without context around how or why these decisions were made, colleagues may start to resent each other.

If we want to establish trust in the performance management process, we have to rethink our approach. Instead of trying to manage performance, we need to create an environment where people can excel. We start by getting rid of the term ‘performance management’.

Enabling Excellence is not an HR process but the role of a leader. For it to be successful, leaders must build trust within their teams. This is a critical objective. Managers are responsible for creating an environment which will enable their team to perform at their best. This means having real, human conversations and not ‘performance’ conversations that take place once or twice a year.

You can measure the health of a relationship, team or organisation by the average lag time between identifying and discussing a problem. This means the health of our teams and organisations is impacted when important conversations don’t take place or are unsuccessful.

One aspect of Enabling Excellence is looking at the factors that impact our performance and productivity, as covered in our comprehensive Employee Excellence SHAPE survey. These insights show employees, managers and executives how they’re doing in each area – and how they can improve.

The collective wellbeing of our employees leads to the wellbeing and success of our organisations. This is what Enabling Excellence helps us construct. We need to move away from the assumption that we can control employees and manage their performance and instead look to build a culture of collaboration, trust and psychological safety where our colleagues are able to be their best.