SHRM Poll Shows Mixed Opinions on Effectiveness of Performance

By Bill Leonard Oct 22, 2014
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A Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) poll, conducted in collaboration with the National Center for the Middle Market, has revealed that HR professionals have mixed opinions regarding the effectiveness of performance management at their organizations.

Although nearly one-half (46 percent) of the 391 HR professionals responding to the poll said they agreed with the statement that managers at their organizations “did an effective job of differentiating between poor, average and strong performers,” about one-third (32 percent) had some level of disagreement with this statement.

Slightly more than two-fifths (42 percent) agreed that managers at their organization were “willing to make the tough calls,” but almost an equal amount (38 percent) disagreed with that statement. When asked to grade their organization’s performance management efforts, a slight majority of respondents (53 percent) gave their organizations a C+ to a B, while one-fifth (21 percent) chose a C. Only 2 percent of the HR professionals gave their organizations an A for performance management.

The SHRM poll was released Oct. 21, 2014, and featured responses from HR professionals selected randomly from a sample of the Society’s members. Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of respondents reported that their organizations appraise the job performance of their employees once a year, while 16 percent said their organizations conducted performance appraisals semiannually. Two percent schedule appraisals as needed, 3 percent reported that their businesses did not have formal performance appraisals. The remaining respondents reported that their employers had formal job performance assessments but scheduled them over other time periods, such as every 18 months or two years.

Slightly less than one-third (30 percent) of the polled HR professionals said that performance management issues would be a top priority for their organizations in the coming year. Approximately two-thirds (65 percent) of poll participants indicated that their companies would dedicate some attention and resources to performance management over the next 12 months, though they ranked other business issues as higher priorities.

“Although there has been increased scrutiny lately on the benefit of conducting annual performance appraisals for employees, identifying strengths and weaknesses among workers has become particularly important for compensation strategies,” the SHRM poll concluded. “Research has shown that many employers are placing less emphasis on blanket merit salary increases for their staff and are now channeling more resources toward incentive programs and variable pay structures in order to reward top performers who consistently meet goals.”

Bill Leonard is a senior writer for SHRM.

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