Working for a business that's obsessed with "Performance management".

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  • Working for a business that's obsessed with "Performance management".
  • supertacky
    Member

    Its started out as motivational. It addressed efficiencies and increased productivity, but now its turned into a mechanism to bully staff and force people toward the exit.

    Anyone else experienced this?

    kevin1911
    Member

    Yep, although ours was bullying and managed exits from day 1. It’s only had a negative impact on morale and motivation

    Edit: got a feeling we might work for the same company

    lucien
    Member

    I did some work for an Israel based Co, that operates worldwide and had decided to rename their Perf Management Programme “Executing Excellence” – I kid you not. Worse thing is, they didn’t see the irony!

    supertacky
    Member

    Ha ha Lucien that’s exactly what it feels like!

    Its like a George Orwell novel. What is the end game? It started as a requirement to increase productivity and reduce costs but has spiralled downwards into constant reorganisation followed by immediate appraisements of staff.
    The bar rises and another load of people get put in the mincer. IMO not always the worst of staff either.

    Head reduction seems to be the name of the game.

    Truly awful environment to try and succeed in.

    nicko74
    Member

    Yup, I think many American-based multinationals do this kind of thing. Unfortunately I’ve worked for a few of them.

    It kind of makes me think of bits of Portal 2. Y’know, where you’re in the lost underground complex, and you gradually build the story, about how they first brought in astronauts and athletes to do the tests. Then they got random unemployed people to do it. Then they got the employees to do it. And then there was nobody left but the insane computer…

    allthepies
    Member

    There’s a lot of it about.

    andypaul99
    Member

    Most PLC,s are like this, family businesses less so..its true to say that most of us employed folk are well and truly worked to within an inch of our lives at the moment and while there are 50 applicants ready to take your place it ain’t getting any better

    Greybeard
    Member

    Been there too. Fortunately, my current boss takes the view that it’s unnecessary, so provided it’s all filled in and looks to his boss as if it’s working, he’ll minimize the effects on us.

    Previously we’ve had it used a corporate bullying scheme, lots of good people left us, others permanently damaged. I think it’s designed for ‘pure managers’ who have no understanding of what their teams do so can’t manage them any other way.

    So far as I’m concerned the only person who knows whether I’m doing my job properly is me, but since I care about doing it properly that’s OK. It’s called professionalism but it’s dying out. Any scheme that requires people to prove to other people that they’re doing it right immediately makes proving it more important than actually doing it, for a proportion of staff. So they get to the top by creating the image of perfection while actually failing; performance management then enables them to blame their team and continue with their own lies.

    Don’t often get to write this rant down, but had better stop as it’s depressing me…

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash
    Subscriber

    It’s just hitting the civil service.

    Not doubting that there are areas of the CS that need it, but you can imagine how badly implemented it is. My boss tends to regard hitting normal work and budget targets as more important than PM box ticking, but I suspect he won’t have that luxury for long….

    Sounds a bit like the NHS.

    Premier Icon scaredypants
    Subscriber

    Sounds a bit like the NHS.

    I think in the NHS it’s more to do with continual redisorganisation so that nobody can compare current vs past performance, rather than performance maanagement as such (unless just cutting budgets counts as PM ?)

    Ooof. Lot of this hitting the mark. Think Greybeard and I must work for the same people.

    Got a big meeting next month about re-organisation. Again. 🙄

    Currently looking for the exit. Just pray I don’t land in the same boat next time.

    Worked for small and medium sized businesses before, and there was just none of this BS. Just got on and did my job.

    Large corporations seem to thrive on all this. Absolute twaddle.

    I had my annual review today.

    As usual it was all good apart from when it got to the management bullshine tasks I’m supposed to do. I got told it wasn’t really my fault as there is way too much work and something has to give, but I’d be marked down slightly for it and that would have a minor impact on my bonus.

    The way I see it, it’s money well spent not to have to swallow the management speak dictionary and have endless 1-2-1s with people!

    It’s just hitting the civil service.

    .

    We’ve had it at our lab for at least 6 years. Just as I’ve got my head round it someone in central govt. has decided it all needs to standardised. So now we have to get our heads round a new set of forms 🙄

    I find it can be effective for the career minded people. Helps them structure a career path. For the people you are happy doing 9-5 and aren’t bothered about promotion etc. (and there are lots of people like that) then it’s a waste of time in my view.
    Unless they are useless, in which case it can be about the only way in the civil service of kicking them out!

    Premier Icon coolhandluke
    Subscriber

    A mate of mine worked for a company like that. He used to spend a stupid proportion of his time fending off and disproving issues for his team. Mainly this was aimed at one individual from one individual in another department. his boss always took everything said as gospel from anyone who had anything bad to say, even this guy, who was disproved time after time for over 2 years.

    Mainly, these accusations came right after he had been on holiday to the point where he dreaded going on holiday. The last time it happened he told his boss he could poke his job up his arse if this was going to happen after every holiday.

    He was asked to alter reports to make thus guy look worse so his boss could make the obvious problem go away rather than tackle the actual issue at hand. Of course he asked him to make the request in writing, which he never did. Unbelievable, a blue chip FTSE100 company.

    He handed his notice in about 4 months later. Best thing he ever did. Now he runs his own business and his ex employer is quite a good customer, and its very satisfying getting orders from the people he used to manage.

    On here years ago we all described our jobs. His was voted the worst of all the posts.

    brooess
    Member

    I’ve had it used against me ‘performance managed out’ as it were.
    The process was a sham. There was nowhere in the process which allowed me to make the point my manager was a) taking credit for my work b) basically saying his boss didn’t like me (as opposed to me not doing my job as per the job description) and c)point out the fact the company was failing fast had not been mentioned to me throughout the 3-interview recruitment process.

    Over the years I’ve had 8 direct reports, most of them promoted whilst working with me. IMO you don’t need a process to get the best performance out of people, you manage people every single day with every interaction you have with them.

    The basic principles are easy, you just need to give a shit about other people’s needs, help them when they need it, provide some leadership and forgive them their mistakes (whilst helping them learn lessons from it). Targets and whatnot send people in the wrong direction…

    It’s why I never want to go perm in a corporate ever again. Either contracting as I am now (and get to avoid all that stuff) or work for a small owner-managed business where this stuff is done informally

    bokonon
    Member

    Foucault pretty much nails this in Discipline and Punish – Panopticism is fast becoming part and parcel of the way in which all business are run (over a certain size – there is no need to the pretence of observation if one can actually observe what’s going on) – I particularly like this quote:

    “He who is subjected to a field of visibility, and who knows it, assumes responsibility for the constraints of power; he makes them play spontaneously upon himself; he inscribes in himself the power relation in which he simultaneously plays both roles; he becomes the principle of his own subjection” – Foucault, Discipline and Punish. 1977

    CaptJon
    Member

    Greybeard – Member
    So far as I’m concerned the only person who knows whether I’m doing my job properly is me, but since I care about doing it properly that’s OK. It’s called professionalism but it’s dying out. Any scheme that requires people to prove to other people that they’re doing it right immediately makes proving it more important than actually doing it, for a proportion of staff. So they get to the top by creating the image of perfection while actually failing; performance management then enables them to blame their team and continue with their own lies.

    You just described how i feel about some of my colleagues. Plenty of bluster about how hard they are working, but very little to show for it once you scratch the surface.

    grantway
    Member

    Worked for a company once and on my first day I was told
    Times money and a minute is 100%

    Stayed two weeks until I found another job
    After I had to put a time down for taking a splinter out of my finger

    Spongebob
    Member

    It’s the psychological pressure firms put on staff to get higher productivity. At first you throw yourself into it and achieve much more, then you get a mediocre appraisal, so try a bit harder. After a few years of it, you just humour them. They don’t care about you, it’s just a game of exploitation. The realisation that you are of little value to them makes you feel hurt, then angry. It’s the same in most companies these days. Work used to be much easier many years ago. You felt so much more valued and not under so much pressure. Computers have got in the way, making simple quick tasks painful and protracted. The red tape and systems of dubious value one has to use makes life much more difficult.

    walleater
    Member

    It’s about time you lot were made to do some bloody work!

    Premier Icon coolhandluke
    Subscriber

    The thing that always bothered me was who the hell thinks this corporate bullshine is good for business?

    The directors, the shareholders or the pricks who carry the tasks out under the pretence that its management?

    jota180
    Member

    The thing that always bothered me was who the hell thinks this corporate bullshine is good for business?

    You know when you go on some sort of training course and there’s always one person that’s overly enthusiastic about it? – it’s them

    Premier Icon bigjim
    Subscriber

    I’m reading this as I fill out my Performance Management Review on the corporate intranet. Where did it all go wrong?

    Yes, Taylorism gone mad. It’s becoming more and more widespread.

    Computers have got in the way, making simple quick tasks painful and protracted.

    I think this is a big part of it – management by spreadsheet, by bosses who never leave their office.

    or in our case, perhaps as common now, never come into the office!

    Premier Icon mrelectric
    Subscriber

    We had this as a paper system in a growing global electronic company. It was good at first as it made the serious conversations more likely to happen. You even got to know objectives other than “design stuff; ship stuff; hope it doesn’t come back”. Only a bit of form filling & you had a record, with training needs too.
    After 5 years or so had a seminar from a nice bubbly person from HR on the how the new process was going to be so much better now it would based in the std Oracle module. Almost in tears after when team leaders & managers reacted to the demo of shite user interface, process etc. Cost an army of Oracle contractors to customise Oracle so we could all tick the boxes.

    joao3v16
    Member

    The main problem I’ve seen with ‘Performance Management’ is when managers are too busy filling in the paperwork and ‘following the process’ that they fail to take a step back and actually properly examine what their staff have been doing.

    This usually happend due to pressure from senior management to put a certain % of staff at the lower end of the performance scale to fit a pre-determined distribution, or that the manager is a crap manager. Or both of the above reasons.

    A lot of perf management these days seems to be about justifying your position/pay and proving you’re contributing value to the business. This is generally because your manager’s so far removed from you that he’s no idea what you actually do.

    In the end, it comes down to who’s best at writing their performance review document rather than who’s best at their job.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    My I’d boss hated performance management as it meant he had to actually manage people so his preferred method was to avoid development of staff leave everyone to stew away and deal with the loudest whinger….

    neilm
    Member

    It addressed efficiencies and increased productivity, but now its turned into a mechanism to bully staff and force people toward the exit.

    You must be a secondary school teacher working in an Academy.

    supertacky
    Member

    “You must be a secondary school teacher working in an Academy.”

    Miles off neilm.

    Although reading the thread has opened my eyes to the very similar way in which were all being manipulated.

    Today I was told that there was no fiscal correlation to our “targets”. There was just an expectation that the business needed to improve!!!

    What a crock of BS.

    So no matter what our output is there’s always going to be someone at the bottom of the bandwidth getting bullied and harassed until they either are sacked, accept a compromise deal or go sick with stress.

    I’m so disillusioned its not real

    this cant be good for a business or organisation in the long term??

    bokonon
    Member

    “You must be a secondary school teacher working in an Academy.”

    Miles off neilm.

    This is really interesting – that the same problem can be so easily identified across such a raft of different areas is evidence enough (for me) of a proletarianisation of lots of jobs – turning people from autonomous professionals to factory workers on piece work -pretty much the death of creativity and interesting solutions to problems.

    mrmoofo
    Member

    TBH, efficiency management can be a great tool in under performing companies, or where fundamental changes in culture are needed

    But when it becomes a tool for humiliation and bullying, then leave. Been there, done that. Initially it was a really positive tool – but more management consultants, more professional managers on big money, meant wringing every ounce from the people who knew the business.

    Without trying to piss on anyone chips , from the outside the Education system and NHS sorely need reforming. Way too much money pissed up the wall on stupid things, lack of any real pay for performance etc.

    It is about time that we got the best that those employed in these two public sectors, not 1980s practices to protect the lazy …

    Premier Icon Blackhound
    Subscriber

    Brought this sort of thing in where I used to work. Idea was 5% of your staff were the worst performing and would be managed out or no payrise, maybe leave. Following year another 5% and the year after another 5%.
    Around about that time stopped annual payrise for everyone and then I got made redundant. Was not a happy place. Expect for the senior management perhaps.

    andyrm
    Member

    We’ve got it starting to come in, implemented by our parent company (a big multinational) – and as a sales driven organisation, it’s a good thing.

    Deep analysis of what is working, what isn’t working, what categories, price points etc are most and least profitable, what sales teams in different sections of the business are performing best and worst.

    For me it is a hugely powerful tool. Right now I am working on February targets for my teams so can task them based on historic data:

    “If you do this much of activity x, this much of activity y, this much of activity z, you are statistically and historically likely to achieve target” – this then becomes an arbitrary set of KPIs they have to achieve, and these are achievable by the way!

    The net result is that the guys have very clear objectives, very clear requirements and a set of activities they know they need to do. And given this is effectively a tool to help them hit target, it also helps them earn their commission.

    All were hugely receptive and positive to it as it presents a clear set of guidelines to help them achieve their goals and earn as much commission as possible.

    So I guess the key driver for how PM is received is the benefit to the employee. Although there are no doubt companies and public sector organisations that need PM plans putting in place to cut waste and deep set cultural rot & laziness.

    Premier Icon mrelectric
    Subscriber

    Andyn, In a sales environment & with a good manager, I can see it could really help in giving clarity within a team. In our engineering/technical company, some issues were more complicated/wider/long-term and management did not tened to have either the insight, time or continuity to deal with it, so PM began to obscure these. Still better to have a PM system in place than not though!

    bazza17
    Member

    Performance management in the real sense should be about coaching and working towards AGREED goals. It is absolutely brilliant way of getting rid of dead wood who think drifting about on reputation or bullsh1tting people somehow justifies their wage. Anyway.

    Welcome to January.

    bokonon
    Member

    “If you do this much of activity x, this much of activity y, this much of activity z, you are statistically and historically likely to achieve target” – this then becomes an arbitrary set of KPIs they have to achieve, and these are achievable by the way!

    However, in education you are tasked with hitting KPI’s which can be woefully beyond your sphere of influence – e.g. retention, one of the big KPI’s in further education – students leave courses because they have other things to do, they get jobs, they get pregnant, they have to look after their family, life gets in the way – I’d guess that in excess of 50% of students that leave courses do so for reasons which have nothing to do with the course, the teaching, the college or whatever, and there is no way that any kind of changes by staff would help – yet it’s your fault they leave…

    Without trying to piss on anyone chips , from the outside the Education system and NHS sorely need reforming. Way too much money pissed up the wall on stupid things, lack of any real pay for performance etc.

    It is about time that we got the best that those employed in these two public sectors, not 1980s practices to protect the lazy …

    The type of performance management, and indeed PRP is very prevalent within Further Education colleges, most of them are run by accountants and professional managers, and tend to have a very ‘business’ approach to running an education establishment – and yet they are ‘failing’ all the time (we know this, because Michael Gove and Mt Wilshire have said so, and to ensure they are correct, they’ve change the way in which they measure success to make it so…

    “If you do this much of activity x, this much of activity y, this much of activity z, you are statistically and historically likely to achieve target” – this then becomes an arbitrary set of KPIs they have to achieve, and these are achievable by the way!

    Surely all this means is that they will ensure that it appears that they are hitting the targets – what is the level of surrogacy between the arbitrary KPI’s and the actual target – in a sales driven environment I can see them being slightly tighter knit than in education, but still, the KPI is not the thing that needs to be achieved, and focusing on the KPI, not the actual target surely detracts from acheiving the target any way any how, and just focuses on doing it the way in which you are expected (e.g. killing creativity)

    In education, this can be seen quite acutely in two ways – teaching to the test being the first, students are failed in their education, to ensure that their KPI’s are hit, it doesn’t matter if the students are completely devoid of any knowledge of the subject as long as they can get them to write the correct things for the test, then they hit their KPI’s and are safe for another year, and we have falling standards of education…the other is where staff self assess their work, rather than it going to external marking, in order to ensure that their KPI’s are not affected by failures, they ensure that all the students pass – lying is incentivised – even encouraged by middle management, failure is rewarded, but the KPI’s are hit, and the management (who aren’t aware of the difference between education and selling insurance or whatever) are placated till next year.

    Often, even if you do improve the end result – that is, the people which came in are better educated than they were when they started, by an amount greater than if they had done nothing and/or read some stuff on the internet, then you don’t get rewarded, because success is measured by surrogates, which will certainly drop when the quality of teaching drops, but don’t necessarily increase when the quality of teaching increases.

    mrmoofo
    Member

    Performance management in the real sense should be about coaching and working towards AGREED goals. It is absolutely brilliant way of getting rid of dead wood who think drifting about on reputation or bullsh1tting people somehow justifies their wage. Anyway.

    Welcome to January.

    About spot on – the problem is that so many managers have very poor soft skills. As a result their ability to coach is minimal – combined with American style “now” strategies , mean that discipling and blaming the current employees in in vogue.

    Many companies want to buy in “quality” – but fail to realise that a lot of job hoppers do so for a reason – fierce ambition – the killing grannies type, or they fail to deliver. And they do so at an inflated rate – hence the pressure goes up.

    If people looked at their current staff and trained the good ones, the would be surprised what an effective and motivated workforce you end up with.

    I was hoping that american gung ho management would die with the credit crunch – but we are not there yet. It will happen – when talent tells hyper aggressive companies to go and stuff their terms and conditions

    JImmAwelon
    Member

    It started in the private sector then it hit the public sector and businesses that shouldn’t be run as businesses started using it. Add a few managers with no people skills and a bit of bullying and you have a right old mess. It is rife in the Environment Agency particularly in North Wales.

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