The Challenge of Performance Management


Most managers fails to understand the procedure and form used in performance management. The majority of organizations require managers to employ specific software’s, specific methods and schedules and set of forms in performance management and yet these methods do not fit in every situation (Bacal 27). The human resource personnel is often the one who prescribe how these approaches are used. However, management and employees are not consulted or given the opportunity to give their views. Therefore, managers consider the system as imposed on them. They feel that since they do not own the process, they cannot understand it.  However, they should know that no performance management is ever perfect. But if used well it can act as a way to communicate and build a relationship with employees (Bacal 27). They should learnt to develop interest on the appraisal method and use it to clarify job expectation with each worker, build trust and see the employees as partners.

Moreover, managers claim they have no time for performance management. This majorly because they do not know the benefits that come with such process (Bacal 28). The majority of them view the process as after the fact discussion aimed at identifying mistakes after they have already happened. However, this view is distorted because performance management is not about the inspection or assigning blame but rather preventing problems and identifying barriers that can limit success before they become very costly.  Thus the process save management time and prevent pitfalls.

Besides, managers fear that performance management would lead to confrontation (Bacal 29). Even though confrontation may arise in the process of appraisal, it should not be viewed as a norm. Confrontation can only exist when employees are involved in the process. They would reject the assessment process from failure to understand it intended goal. Managers can avoid such pitfall by explaining to workers that the process is designed to help them and not for blame. Managers should also not view appraisal as a mechanism of passing judgment but rather a process of building partnership and allowing employees to evaluate themselves.

Lastly, managers avoid performance management because of feedback and observation problems. Some of them claim that it is practically impossible to stand and watch employees as they work and they give them feedback every day (Bacal 30). However, the appraisal process does not call for daily watchdog. Managers should realize that employees can become an expert at their work without having to be watched. Even if a manager has to observe employees as they perfume their duties, they should be judging but help them assess their work.


The biggest problem that managers faces in performance management are the communication and conversation with employees about their performance. The managers have a responsibility to discuss with staff the present, the past and future performance. However, they find it the most challenging task. Managers should engage in open, fair, transparent and objective conversation with staffs on the performance management process. Most of them find such conversation challenging as it looks like a judgmental and a way to put the blame on employees. However, failure to have a vivid discussion with staff about their work would call into question management performance.

Even though performance management substantially involves planning and review, the most important factor is informal feedback that managers give to their employees. They are bound to be transparent, fair and objective to the staff on the performance appraisal. Managers must be willing to tell the employees the purpose of evaluation content and reasons for the entire process. They must also ensure that the output of such process is accurate and fair. The workers should also be given an opportunity to explain their actions. The management must also maintain day to day interventions aimed at helping employees succeed in their task. Thus the entire process of performance management involves communication and close building partnership with staff. However, constant conversation with workers remains the greatest challenge to most managers in the appraisal process.


Managers conduct a performance evaluation on an annual basis, yet employees require goal planning and feedback more often. They may need feedback on their work on daily, weekly or monthly basis (Heathfield par. 2). They need the feedback to remain focused on the goals and improve their performance. The feedback also has a recognition of the contribution they have placed in the organization. The annual appraisal does not work well in the current changing working environment. The goals of working environment are rapidly changing and thus routine evaluation for relevance, contribution and importance are necessary.

Managers also wrongly convert performance management from conversation to lecture. Most of them only focus on what employees are doing and how they can improve. The approach of only mentioning good or bad side staff work is not adequate (Heathfield par. 3). It makes them feel that they are not part of organization activities but mere students who need constant coaching and instruction. The best approach, however, is to allow a tow way conversation in which employees receive feedback and respond to them as appropriate.

Furthermore, most managers view performance appraisal as a means of developing employee’s skills and abilities. However, they do not provide resource and time commitment required to help the workers developed the necessary expertise and knowledge (Heathfield par. 4). The primary function of performance evaluation is to provide employees with developmental feedback that they need to grow and improve their capacities and skills in their areas of specialization.

Other managers also link performance evaluation with staff pay rise. The appraisal process leads to distortion and inhibits growth and development (Heathfield par. 5). Linking pay to assessment results in a cover-up of problems and pertinent issues in the work environment. The worker would hide critical issues from their managers to get a rise in pay. There will be no honest and open discussion if the workers believe that the objective of performance management is to raise their salaries.


A manager would require several skills such as communicating, setting goals skills, measuring employee’s performance and coaching to manage performance evaluation. However, the most important competency is that of communication (OPM par.4). Managers need to establish and maintain effective communication with all the staffs. Through such communication, the manager can set good working relations with employees. It is also vital in explaining the objective of the appraisal to workers and in giving and receiving feedback. However, it goes beyond having excellent written or oral communications skills to establishing good working relationship with employees. The supervisors require to create an atmosphere that is open, include all employees and where every can share their ideas and thoughts freely. The management must be committed to being open to each and every individual staff. Such openness leads to a free conversation where employees do not only act as the receivers but also as custodian of inputs in the management process.


Work Cited

“Competencies That Support Effective Performance Management.” U.S. Office of Personnel Management. OPM, n.d. Web. 06 Feb. 2017.

Bacal, Robert. Performance Management. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1999. Print.

Heathfield, Susan M. “4 Problems with Performance Appraisals: Where Do Managers Go Wrong?” The Balance. The Balance, 03 Aug. 2016. Web. 06 Feb. 2017.