You Hold the Secret to Significant Business Improvement!

Performance management is in the news again. This time it is Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall in the April Harvard Business Review, writing about how Deloitte is using its employee performance data to drive higher employee engagement and improve business results[i].  Are you using your company’s employee performance data to harness significant business improvement?

If so, congratulations! If not, you might want to consider redesigning your performance management system, not by following the latest fads, but by examining relevant research and taking advantage of YOUR company’s employee performance data. You have troves of data! You can use it to not only measure and drive performance, but also improve your ability to select, train, inspire and reward great employees. That is the secret you hold!

What is Deloitte doing?

The company is creating performance snapshots that allow it to better see, reward and fuel performance. Based on their review of employee ratings research and their own employee performance data, Deloitte tossed out annual 360-degree feedback tools (due to high rater variance based on a perception of employee performance rather than actual performance), once-a-year reviews and cascading goals. Instead, Deloitte encourages team leaders to meet with every team member once per week to provide feedback. These brief conversations allow team leaders to set expectations for the upcoming week, review priorities, comment on recent work, and provide course correction, coaching or important new information.

Like other companies, Deloitte still collects input from team leaders to determine performance results and make decisions on variable pay.  What’s new is how they do it. Deloitte learned to ask managers questions that provide more reliable information. Questions that focus on what the manager would do with their team members, their future actions with respect to the person, rather than what they think about each team member’s performance: Would I award this person the highest possible compensation increase and bonus? Would I always want him or her on my team? Is this person ready for promotion today? Is this person at risk for low performance?

Deloitte found that this type of information helps managers see each person’s performance more clearly, without bias.

Consider another example of using actual employee performance data to successfully launch a new product, based on my first-hand experience.

A large company’s R&D department worked for five years to bring a new product to market. The product held the promise of propelling the company from last place to first in the U.S. market.  In order to ensure success, the company had to rely on its sales force’s “relationship building” skills and ability to sell the product’s new technical capabilities and superior clinical results to medical doctors.  It also had to nearly double the size of its sales force.

In hiring the new sales force, the company mined its own data regarding its best performing sales employees.  It used the profiles of  “top performers” and identified their job histories, achievements and competencies. The company’s research debunked several long-held beliefs that were based on intuition rather than facts. Based on this actual employee performance data, the company instituted a sales force selection test, updated its interviewing techniques, and revamped its sales training. It worked! The company became number one in global sales for the new product and significantly improved the diversity of its sales force!

You too can learn how to harness actual employee performance data to improve business performance. Your company’s employee performance data may hold the secret to improving your company’s bottom line.

Victor Assad is a strategic human resources consultant and coach who works with key decision makers and human resources leaders on talent management, accelerating change, leadership development, and other strategic initiatives such as mergers and acquisitions, strategy implementation, and flexible workplace. Please e-mail Victor at or visit Victor’s website at and download free white papers to learn more about the latest research on performance management or global talent management.

[i]Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall. (April 2015) “Reinventing Performance Management”. Harvard Business Review.

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