More than four out of ten employees hear about the same areas for improvement year after year, according to a survey by the HR training
and consulting firm Vital Smarts. The firm asked employees if their latest performance review gave them the same negative feedback as in previous years, and 43 percent said yes. For these employees, being evaluated in prior years was not associated with any improvement in
performance. One explanation may come from another survey fi nding. Asked whether the review process included planning how to improve
their performance, 87 percent said no. They were learning they needed to improve, and then managers were leaving it up to the employees
to solve performance problems on their own. These results suggest that managers can be doing much more to develop employees.
In that context, the employees who progress will be those who take responsibility for their own development—for example, asking for specific feedback, looking for a mentor, and establishing personal goals to improve. A manager who takes a very different approach is Dharam Singh,
managing director of VCare Project Management in Sydney, Australia. When one of Singh’s employees is failing to meet job requirements,
Singh has the employee set specific goals for improvement in the problem areas. Singh and the employee collaborate on establishing a plan
for how the employee will achieve those goals. Singh also helps the employee understand how falling short of performance targets affects
the fi rm as a whole.
1. If employees’ poor performance is unchanged year after year, what does this say about how effectively performance management is serving its
strategic and developmental purposes? How would the administrative purpose of performance management apply in this situation?
2. Which purpose(s) of performance management is Singh fulfi lling, according to the description given? Explain your choice(s).