The most talented HRDs I’ve met have largely focused their efforts on the key practices that drive business results. While we can argue the merits of differing HR processes, it’s hard to identify ones that hit the bottom line more directly than performance management, leadership development, talent management and compensation practices. Of course, HR do a myriad of other activities that drive real value but rarely do you get so much Board room attention for practices that everyone around the Board table cares about.
If they are the key processes, it is worth asking how HR has fared in delivering these practices? Performance management continues to be under pressure to evolve to suit todays business world more effectively. Talent management, while now a more mature practice, often ends up in a disappointing argument drawn from subjective bias, finding it hard to shift beyond favoritism and focusing on those who have mastered the art of managing upwards. As for compensation practices, they have become increasingly elaborate, moving beyond traditional base pay, bonus and LTI’s into perks that promise a world of goodies. However, finding anyone to tell you that they are well compensated for what they do is still akin to finding needles in a haystack.
So why have we evaded success in many of our core practices? One of the key elements that forms the baseline of these practices is feedback. Performance management often drives resentment and disappointment as people walk into reviews unaware of how they are doing; a feedback famine throughout the year makes it a stressful experience. Talent management often loses its effectiveness to subjective bias because of the lack of feedback on individuals being considered. A silo view of an individual, without some greater data from peers and stakeholders can mean a leader can have a narrow lens on their people, restricting the rounded view of where their strengths and gaps are. Finally, reward will always feel unfair if you don’t understand the baseline for why you are paid more or less than others. Feedback is a key factor in making all of these practices work, yet it is often the most neglected practice of all.
Perhaps it’s time to consider how these processes and traditional practices can gather new momentum, new objectivity and new respect by focusing our efforts on greater levels of feedback in our organizations. Feedback can become the new process that glues all of our existing ones together.
So when considering an update to our core processes, it is worth considering combining our processes with one common thread, effective feedback practices. Only then will we see a whole new level of maturity and respect for the key practices that can make a real difference to a business.
If you're interested in learning how feedback can take your organization's performance management up a notch schedule a demo by clicking here