As always, attendees were treated to some truly thought-provoking presentations including a lively panel discussion moderated by David Gergen about how data and analytics will shape the workplace. And, as always, I met some extremely dedicated HR professionals who were interested in discussing my favorite topic, the state of performance management.
Being that we’re here in Sin City, however, I also happened to see some pretty crazy behavior when the nightlife got underway, the kind of behavior that made me look the other way. Thankfully, none of these shenanigans took place at the event itself! But now I fully understand why they created the slogan, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.”
It struck me that I’m not usually in the business of looking the other way, and neither are the people I spoke with at the conference. We’re performance management and HR professionals. It’s our job to pay attention to behavior—to recognize and reward good behaviors in our employees … to offer counsel and feedback when we see the wrong behaviors … and to develop and instill the right behaviors throughout our workforces by modeling desired behavior ourselves.
Of course, I’m using the term “behavior” in a pretty large sense here and I’m mostly referring to performance-related behaviors, the kind that make individuals either effective or ineffective in their roles. Still, the whole behavior issue got me to thinking that this is one more reason performance reviews are more necessary and valuable than ever—provided they’re conducted well.
At one point during the conference, I was asked whether performance reviews are here to stay or whether they’re dying out. I said that performance reviews, in one form or another, will always be around for a whole host of good reasons. But I’ll add a caveat here. I certainly don’t want those traditional, once-a-year, paint-by-numbers reviews to stick around. As we’ve said in the past, they’re not much good to anybody.
The good news is … the performance review revolution has begun! I’ve seen firsthand how more and more employers are updating and improving their review process. (Read a few of our recent case studies to see for yourself.) When I think of the progress they’re making, I want to do backflips and jump for joy.
But that kind of behavior tends to draw attention—unless you’re in Vegas.