Tools used in performance management remain relatively unchanged


Tools used in performance management remain relatively unchanged

New research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development demonstrates that although the actual tools of performance management have remained relatively stable, it has evolved over the years to a central process closely linked with other processes to manage talent, skills and communicate key messages.

The research draws its conclusions from a survey of 507 employers and a number of in-depth practitioner interviews.


Key survey results

While survey respondents indicated that they are aware of what constitutes best practice performance management, a different picture is painted in reality:

  • Despite over 90% of respondents including regular review meetings as the main activity, in practice only six out of ten (63%) actually carry this out.

  • The same with objective setting - while 85% recognise its importance, only 75% actually carry it out in practice.

On top of this, while 44% of respondents think that individuals are the primary beneficiaries of performance management, only 20% think it has a positive impact on individual performance, with a similar proportion (21%) actually disagreeing that it has a positive impact.

Angela Baron, Engagement Adviser, CIPD, said: “Not surprisingly, respondents’ individual performance and organisational performance are cited as the key criteria on how performance management should be evaluated, with 89% and 88% branding it the chief measure of success. However, a broad range of measures are also suggested, with job satisfaction advocated as a measure by 76% and management behaviour by 58%.”

Role of line managers

Yet more divisions are exposed when looking at the role of line managers. Only one in five (19%) think that line managers benefit most from performance management, but one in four (23%) agree that performance management would help line managers to manage people better. More worryingly, almost four in ten (37%) disagree that performance management helps line managers to develop the capability to manage people better.

A final word

“It seems that although the practice of performance management has not changed significantly over the years, there are still some issues with its implementation and in many instances it is not being used to its full potential. The practitioners we interviewed demonstrated that performance management is still a very important tool and done well is a powerful driver of engagement and can ensure alignment between individual objectives and effort and business priorities.

“Performance management is about helping people to understand how they contribute to the strategic goals of organisations and ensuring that the right skills and effort are focused on the things that really matter, making an impact on organisational performance. What it is not is a tick-box exercise to fulfil the needs of a training budget or a performance pay policy. At its best it is a tool to ensure that line managers effectively manage the people they are responsible for and in line with organisational objectives and goals.” - Angela Baron, Engagement Adviser, CIPD.

Want to know more?

Title: Performance Management in Action, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, November 2009.

Availability: The 23-page research report is available to download at

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) is “Europe’s largest HR and development professional body with over 135,000 members, supporting and developing those responsible for the management and development of people within organisations”. For more information visit