Your performance goals need a goal post

Sameer Patel Profile picture for user sameer.patel September 30, 2013
Companies need to distinguish between managing performance and actual performing (getting the work done). In other words, performance management isn’t a ‘popularity contest.’ Here's what need to happen.

katherine jones
Dr Katherine Jones

Dr. Katherine Jones of Bersin by Deloitte has some interesting survey findings that shatter strongly held beliefs held about buyer perception of Social Talent Management technology. In summary:

  1. Application of 'social media' to Goals and Performance Management seemed least interesting to responders.
  2. Learning and Onboarding ranked higher when it comes to the applicability of social media.

The second one doesn't surprise me. Both Informal Learning and Social On-Boarding are a core part of the SAP Jam’s product strategy of re-thinking how collaboration can help work get done. These SAP Jam capabilities work cohesively with SAPs or Successfactors' unified HCM Talent Management and CRM solutions to accelerate your ability to provision, onboard and enable employees by blending formal and informal processes.

But it’s the first finding about Social Goals and Performance that’s worth a longer discussion. The first crop of social goals and performance management technology really didn't do the concept justice.

Companies need to distinguish between managing performance and actual performing (getting the work done). In other words, performance management isn’t a ‘popularity contest’ and a good chunk of what’s been characterized as Social Performance Management has been just that. In fact, (lower caps) performance management is about striking the right balance between assigning goals and collecting accurate data for assessments and providing venues and ways to execute business strategy.

First at a strategic level, companies have to shed this notion that managing goals and improving performance comes from just a monolithic application. Performance management must be part of the larger tapestry of Talent Management before companies even start to define what Social Goal and Performance Management should entail. SuccessFactors’ President, Shawn Price, lays out some important considerations such as Performance-pay Differential, Return on Investment Ratio, and Quota to Non-Quota carrying rations in this post that illustrates how we think about Talent Management.

Then comes execution. Companies set goals but the pathways to achievement and the final goal posts need to be made clear as well. To do this effectively, Goals and Performance Management capabilities and core HRIS need to be connected to the systems where work gets done.

The actual work -- each discrete task – is not enabled by a formal Goals and Performance Management system. It’s buried in functional lines and rooted in business context - how to acively support a customer, how to mentor employees, how to close out a support ticket and institutionalize that knowledge, how to improve sales cycle times on the retail floor, how to train a channel to sell, and on and on.

I separate task management and social collaboration because the first versions of Social Goal and Performance management presumed that companies want to socialize and collaborate on all goals. This presumption is wrong. Companies need to work through tasks – some of these might be collaborative but some are just predicated on driving a truck through your to-do list.

Social collaboration meets execution

Well-designed social collaboration platforms come with task management and purpose built social features and can have a significant impact on Goal and Performance Management. Here are three reasons why:

  1. It let’s you work on tasks both individually and collaboratively—increasing dialogue and communication to help improve performance.
  2. Its purpose built - integrated into talent processes (i.e., Learning, OnBoarding and Core HRIS systems so that you always have the knowledge and access to both social and HR expert profiles to get the work done
  3. It serves as one collaborative and task management layer that shows up where you actually work: in email, in your CRM or your Supply Chain Systems or your documents—so you are not only increasing dialogue, but performance.

This is how you make the connection between formal goals, performance reviews and where the work actually gets done. This is very different from just integrating social feeds all over your applications that aren't purpose-built to solve talent problems. The idea of connecting business goals to execution is core to how we think about the value of social collaboration technologies at SAP.

Your goals need a goal post. Social collaboration systems, when designed to help you execute your goals, are just that.

Featured image credit: © lcruise -

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