Archive for March, 2010

Top, excellent, solid and fired?

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

‘10% as ‘top’ performers, 20% as ‘excellent’ and 50% as ‘solid’’.  Our eyes were caught by press reports that AIG-N (the holding company for AIG group) is having difficulty persuading staff to accept a new performance management system (and bonus scheme).

The issue is newsworthy because AIG is effectively owned by the American state following a massive bailout.  The press reports underline the perennial difficulty of defining performance for staff divorced from the front line and dealing with complex products with long time lines.  The proposed system will rate 10% as ‘top’ performers, 20% as ‘excellent’ and 50% as ‘solid’.  The reports do not say what will happen to the remaining 20% – but US employment legislation makes systems designed to churn/replace ‘underperforming’ staff relatively attractive.  

That any business could have 20% of staff not performing is an anathema in today’s markets.  Is this type of performance management system an indicator of leadership and soft skills failure?  Whatever happened to the mutual interest between senior management and staff in organisational success?  Perhaps after many years when everyone received excellent markings, and the bonus to match, it is too hard to address other than with this ‘one size fits all’ approach to change?  Or is it simply a sop to (justifiably) angry politicians?

Next Steps? :

Talk to us, in confidence and without obligation about building management competence and influencing skills especially in high IQ staff and technical experts 

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