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Getting managers to use the performance process

2 min read: A HR manager wanted to use what they had learnt about behavioural science to address issues around performance management within their company. Of a sample of 50 HR cases, 28 were clearly performance cases and yet only 6 had been through the performance management process, with managers, being guilty of fundamental attribution error, wanting instant gratification and choosing to follow the disciplinary process instead.

The objective of this behaviour change project was to make it more likely that managers opted to do a performance improvement plan, using the performance equation as a tool to help understand and evaluate employee performance.

In order to create the environment to make this behaviour more likely they made the following changes:

  • Triggers - HR Advisors changed the advice that they provided when discussing performance related cases with managers.

  • Ease – The old policy & plan was removed from public access and a new policy & plan that was more ‘user friendly’ to complete was made available. The content was revised, making each stage of the process easy for managers and employees to follow.

  • Knowledge and skill training – Workshops were held to engage HR advisors in the new process. HR line manager upskill workshops included the new PIP process.

The new process is now several months in to its implementation and the data shows an increase from 36% of cases raised using the performance improvement plan before the changes were made to 63%

of cases afterwards.

The HR team also found that using behavioural science methods to examine the way they applied their policies and procedures helped them to identify that simple formatting and rebranding, varying the ways they communicate change and encouraging managers to review situations in a more pinpointed way (removing the risk of Fundamental Attribution Error), can have a great influence on social norms within their organisation.

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