How Performance Management is Killing Performance

Performance management forms the foundation of any thriving organization, working to maximize the potential of its employees, teams, and the overall company. By leveraging this cutting-edge approach, organizations can drive success and exceed expectations. However, research has revealed that when performance management is implemented or managed ineffectively, it can have a negative impact on performance instead of increasing it. Yes, performance management can kill performance, productivity, employee engagement and innovations. It can kill the company.

Let’s uncover the most common reasons why performance management can often kill performance and what businesses can do to ensure that their performance management process is effective and beneficial.

Performance management is a complex process that requires a holistic approach. It involves setting goals and objectives, monitoring performance, providing feedback, and rewarding performance. When it is done effectively, performance management can be a powerful tool to motivate employees and increase performance.

However, when done incorrectly, it can lead to decreased performance, decreased motivation, and even high turnover rates. As organizations strive to increase performance, it is important to understand the potential risks of ineffective performance management and how to ensure it is done correctly.

Why can a bad performance management process be the death of employee engagement? Poor performance management systems can often lead to decreased morale, a lack of motivation, and a lack of incentives for employees to continue to perform well. Without a comprehensive system in place to measure and reward employee performance, employees often feel undervalued and unappreciated.

This lack of appreciation can lead to lower engagement levels and a decreased desire to excel in their current position. Furthermore, an ineffective performance management system can cause a lack of clarity in roles and responsibilities, leading to confusion and frustration among employees. This lack of clarity can lead to a feeling of being undervalued and can ultimately lead to a decrease in employee engagement and satisfaction."

A few performance management killers in a detail

Unclear Performance Expectations

One of the most common problems in performance management is unclear performance expectations. When employees don’t know exactly what is expected of them, or how their performance will be measured, it can lead to frustration, confusion, and inefficiency.

When performance expectations are unclear, employees are left guessing at what they should be doing and how they should be doing it. This can result in decreased motivation and engagement, as well as decreased productivity.

It also eliminates the opportunity for employees to set objectives and goals that are meaningful to them. Unclear performance expectations can also lead to a lack of trust between managers and employees.

Human Resources can ensure that leaders set clear performance expectations by providing them with the necessary tools and resources to do so, such as detailed job descriptions, performance management systems, and training materials.

They should also ensure that leaders have an understanding of the organization’s overall mission and objectives so that they can create specific and measurable expectations for their employees. Additionally, Human Resources should provide resources and guidance on how to effectively communicate these expectations to employees, and should regularly review and monitor the performance of employees to ensure that expectations are being met.

Human Resources should provide feedback and coaching to ensure that leaders have the skills and knowledge they need to effectively manage performance.

An HR Manager can encourage setting performance standards by creating an environment of open communication and trust between management and employees. They can also help create a culture of accountability by setting realistic yet challenging expectations and providing feedback on employees’ progress toward those goals.

Additionally, they can institute training and development initiatives that help employees understand the importance of meeting performance standards, as well as providing rewards for reaching those goals.

Finally, an HR Manager can encourage setting performance standards by developing a system of recognition that rewards those who meet or exceed expectations.

Lack of Autonomy

Performance management is killing performance because it often strips employees of the autonomy they need to succeed. This lack of autonomy means that employees are unable to make decisions on their own and are instead expected to follow rigid processes and systems.

This can lead to a lack of engagement and motivation, which can in turn lead to lower performance. Without the freedom to make their own decisions, employees can feel like their job is not meaningful or rewarding.

Autonomy is an essential element for workplace success, as it allows employees to have a greater sense of ownership and control over their job. Autonomy helps to increase motivation, satisfaction, and performance, as employees have the opportunity to take ownership of their own work, develop their skills, and have a greater sense of empowerment.

When employees have autonomy, it helps to create a more collaborative, innovative, and productive work environment, as employees are encouraged to think creatively and find new solutions to problems. Autonomy also helps to reduce stress, as employees are able to prioritize their own tasks and work at their own pace.

Autonomy is also important for workplace diversity, as it allows employees to use their own perspectives and ideas to contribute to the overall success.

Over-Reliance on Processes

When managers rely too heavily on processes, they miss out on opportunities to recognize and reward excellent performance. Processes are good for ensuring consistent and fair treatment of employees, but they also stifle creativity.

When every decision is based on a predetermined process, managers miss out on being able to reward employees on a case-by-case basis. This can lead to a lack of motivation among employees, as they may feel their efforts are not being properly recognized or rewarded.

Managers should focus on creating a culture of high performance, where individual efforts are recognized and rewarded, instead of relying on processes to manage performance.

Performance appraisals are an essential part of any organization, providing a method for evaluating employee performance and identifying areas for improvement. Feedback from performance appraisals is even more important than just using the right form.

Feedback from performance appraisals helps to create an open dialogue between managers and employees, allowing for the exchange of ideas and the development of a plan to improve performance. Through the feedback from performance appraisals, managers and employees can gain a better understanding of each other’s expectations and objectives, and create an environment of mutual respect and trust.

Furthermore, performance appraisal feedback can help to motivate employees and create a positive work environment. When employees receive honest and regular feedback, they are more likely to be productive and engaged in their work.

Poorly Aligned Goals

Poorly aligned goals can be a major issue in performance management. When goals are not properly aligned, it can create a disconnect between the manager and employee and can make it difficult for the employee to focus and deliver on the goals.

Poorly aligned goals can also lead to miscommunication, as employees may not understand the context and purpose of each goal. Without a clear understanding of the goal, employees will struggle to prioritize and deliver the desired performance.

As such, it is vital that managers and employees take the time to review and align goals regularly to ensure they are set up for success.

HR professionals can ensure that goals are aligned in the organization and in line with the business strategy by regularly consulting with company leadership to ensure that the goals being set are compatible with the overall business plan.

Additionally, HR can conduct surveys with employees to gauge whether the objectives that have been set are reasonable and achievable. Furthermore, HR should review the company’s performance against the set goals on a regular basis to ensure that progress is being made and that goals are being met.

Regular communication between HR, management and the employees is key to helping ensure that goals are aligned and in line with the business strategy. Finally, HR should be prepared to revise goals, as needed, to ensure that they are still in sync with the organization’s strategy.

Unfair Reviews

One of the most damaging aspects of performance management is the potential for unfair reviews. If performance management systems are not properly managed, they can lead to a situation where some employees are not getting the feedback they need to improve, while others are receiving harsh feedback that does not accurately reflect their performance.

This can be damaging to employee morale and motivation, and can lead to a lack of trust in the performance management system. To combat this, companies should ensure that reviews are valid, fair, and consistent across all employees, and that employees are given the opportunity to speak up if they believe their review was unfair.

Human Resources is an integral part of any large organization, and it is their job to ensure that all employees are treated fairly. Performance appraisal reviews are an important part of any organization’s process for evaluating the performance of its employees.

Unfortunately, many organizations do not always carry out these reviews in a fair and equitable manner, which can lead to employee dissatisfaction, poor morale, and even legal action. It is, therefore, essential for Human Resources to take steps to avoid unfair performance appraisal reviews in order to protect the organization and its employees.

This means creating a system that is fair and transparent, encouraging employees to voice their concerns, and creating an environment of trust and respect. Human Resources should also ensure that the review process is fair and accurate by providing a fair review.


One of the most damaging aspects of performance management is micromanagement. This is when managers take a hands-on approach to managing employees, and they focus too much on the details of their work.

It can create an atmosphere of distrust and resentment as employees feel like they are not trusted to do their job and that their manager is constantly watching over their shoulder. This lack of trust creates an environment that is not conducive to high performance.

Micromanagement can also lead to decreased creativity and innovation as employees feel like they have to constantly adhere to strict guidelines and rules.

Delegation and empowerment are two key elements of performance management that can bring many benefits to an organization. By delegating tasks and giving employees more autonomy over their work, managers can create an environment where employees are more likely to take ownership of their roles, feel more engaged in their job and feel valued by the company.

With delegation and empowerment, managers can also provide feedback and guidance more effectively, allowing employees to have a better understanding of their responsibilities and objectives.

Furthermore, delegation and empowerment can lead to improved performance, as employees become more accountable and are better able to use their skills and capabilities to achieve organizational goals. Overall, delegating tasks and empowering employees through performance management is a great way to increase productivity and performance, while also creating a positive employee engagement.

Fear of Failure

The fear of failure can be a powerful motivator, but it can also be debilitating if it’s allowed to take hold. In the context of performance management, this fear can lead to a lack of initiative and creativity, as well as an unwillingness to take risks or try new approaches for fear of being judged negatively.

This can be particularly damaging in an environment where innovation and productivity are key—and ultimately, it can lead to a decrease in performance. To combat this, managers should ensure that their performance management system does not focus solely on outcomes, but also values and rewards effort, risk-taking, and creative problem-solving.

Human Resources needs to support the right of its employees to make mistakes, as mistakes are an important part of the learning process. Allowing employees to make mistakes without fear of repercussion can foster a culture of open communication and creative problem solving, which can lead to a more successful and productive workplace.

Furthermore, it can help to create an atmosphere of trust between employees and management, allowing employees to develop better relationships with their supervisors and colleagues.

While mistakes should be avoided as much as possible, Human Resources should recognize that they are an essential part of progress and growth, and support employees in their efforts to learn and grow.

Inflexible Systems

Performance management systems are often overly rigid and inflexible. They are designed to measure productivity in a very specific, measurable way. This can be detrimental to overall performance, as it fails to account for areas where workers may be underperforming but still producing results, or areas where workers are producing results above expectations.

Such rigid systems can lead to a decrease in morale, a lack of creativity, and ultimately a decrease in performance. By creating flexible performance management systems, companies can better measure worker progress and performance, allowing employees to be as creative and successful as possible.

Human Resources plays a key role in the performance management of any organization. As the number of workers and their needs are constantly changing, HR must remain flexible when it comes to performance management systems in the company.

This means that HR needs to be able to adapt to the changing needs of the organization and its personnel. By remaining flexible, HR can ensure that the performance management system is applicable to the current situation, enabling the company to maximize productivity, efficiency, and employee satisfaction.

Furthermore, a flexible HR performance management system allows for the timely introduction of new strategies that are best suited for the current situation, enabling the company to stay ahead of the competition.


In conclusion, it’s clear that traditional performance management is not working and has created a toxic work environment where employees feel exhausted and unappreciated. It is time for organizations to re-examine their performance management systems and adopt a more holistic approach to performance measurement and feedback.

By taking the time to create a culture of trust, respect, and recognition, organizations can foster an environment where employees are empowered to perform to their fullest potential.