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Workshop 5

Performance Management Myth Busters: Best Practices That Don’t Work and How to Make Them Better  

Presenters:      Elaine Pulakos, PDRI
Rose Mueller-Hanson, PDRI
Coordinator:    Wanda Campbell, Edison Electric Institute
For over 30 years, research and practice have focused extensively on improving performance management systems in organizations. While a variety of promising performance management methods, tools, and processes have resulted, implementation has proven disappointing, and the formula for effective performance management still remains elusive. This drive to improve the process has left performance management vulnerable to fads (such as SMART objectives, cascading goals, etc.), more so than seems to be the case with other human capital systems. While these new performance management fads are enthusiastically and readily adopted, there is not sufficient consideration for what it takes to implement them effectively or for how they will fit within an organization’s culture.  This has led to vicious cycles of organizations reinventing their performance management system only to suffer implementation failures that necessitate reinventing the system again; and the cycle continues. 
The challenges inherent in performance management are well known. It has rightly earned its distinction as the “Achilles Heel” of human capital management, rarely working well. We believe a significant part of the problem is that performance management has been reduced to the formal administrative system, which is seen as owned by HR. Largely disconnected from administrative performance management systems seem to be the day-to-day activities of communicating clear task or project expectations, setting short term objectives and deadlines, and giving continual guidance as work is planned and executed – the essence of what performance management means. We will argue that more attention be devoted to improving manager-employee communication and aspects of the manager-employee relationship that are foundational for effective performance management. We discuss an approach for enhancing manager-employee communication and relationships that holds promise for yielding sustainable performance management improvement.
This workshop is designed to help participants:

1. Explain the purpose of effective performance management
2. List challenges with current popular performance management practices and trends
3. Create effective approaches to mitigate the negative impact of performance management fads
4. Explain the business case for improving performance management by focusing on manager-employee communication and relationships
5. Describe effective practices to improve performance management through improved manager-employee communication and enhanced relationships
Target Audience: This workshop will be of particular interest to practitioners who design and implement PM processes and researchers interested in practice areas. There is no experience requirement for this workshop.
Elaine Pulakos, PhD is chief operating officer of Personnel Decisions Research Institute’s Washington DC office and past president of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. A Fellow of APA and SIOP, she is a recognized contributor to the field of industrial and organizational psychology in the areas of hiring and performance management.  In addition to several published articles, she has edited two books: The Changing Nature of Performance: Implications for Staffing, Motivation, and Development, and Implementing Organizational Interventions: Steps, Processes, and Best Practices, and has written a recent book on performance management, Performance Management: A New Approach for Driving Business Results, published in 2009.   In 2005 and 2006, she wrote best practice guidelines on performance management and selection practices, respectively, for the Society for Human Resources (SHRM) Foundation.  She has also served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Applied Psychology, Personnel Psychology, and SIOP’s Organizational Frontiers series.  Dr. Pulakos recently earned SIOP’s 2009 Distinguished Professional Contributions Award and has spent her career conducting applied work in organizations where she has designed, developed, and successfully implemented all types of HR systems including selection systems, performance management systems, and career development and training systems, among other organizational interventions. She received her doctorate degree in industrial-organizational psychology from Michigan State University.
Rose Mueller-Hanson, PhD has been with PDRI since 2002 where she currently holds the title of managing research scientist. Dr. Mueller-Hanson has over 14 years of experience leading and contributing to the design, development, and evaluation of a variety of customized leadership and employee development solutions in numerous private- and public-sector organizations. Her areas of expertise include leadership development; performance management system design, development, and implementation; training needs analysis, design, development, and delivery; competency modeling; individual and organizational assessment; and organizational development. She is a co-recipient of the M. Scott Myers Award for Applied Research in the Workplace (with colleagues from PDRI), awarded by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. She has presented her work at numerous national conferences and in technical reports, test manuals, and other publications. Prior to joining PDRI, Dr. Mueller-Hanson served in the U.S. Air Force and worked as a human resources manager for a nonprofit organization. She received her doctorate degree in industrial-organizationalpsychology from Colorado State University.