A Better Way to Turn Your Good People Into Top Talent: Dump Performance Appraisals


In her latest Huffington Post blog post*, Accenture Chief Human Resources Officer Ellyn Shook talks about how Accenture is on a journey to revolutionize how to help their people be their best. The new approach focuses on real-time, frequent, forward-looking coaching discussions. This means performance “management” moves back stage and brings performance “achievement” center stage.

Shook believes achievement is highly personal and future-focused with a process that includes three important components:

  1. Aligned Priorities
    A clear understanding of how an individual’s role aligns to the business priorities is essential for maximum performance. Throughout the year, there are frequent discussions between employees and supervisors about priorities and expectations to make sure they are progressing in the right direction.
  2. Ongoing Feedback and Forward-looking Discussions
    Employees are engaged in frequent highly individualized, future-focused coaching conversations about their aspirations, which lead to actions to help them grow and progress their careers.
  3. No Ranking
    In response to the question of how to pay people without an annual performance appraisal, Shook says, “It will be about each person’s progress instead of forced rankings and comparison with peers around the globe. Sometimes, it will involve a courageous conversation if the right skills are not in place and a transition is required. The aim is straight talk and no surprises. And, if an individual doesn’t have the right skills, there is time to course-correct and realign to strengths, offering suggestions to learn and grow through training or a new role.”

Shook reminds us that with Millennials and Gen Z approaching two-thirds of our workforce, we need to be extremely relevant to our people. When we look at our return on investment, we not only focus on our return to shareholders or return to reinvest back into our business — but also on the return to our people. Putting our people at the center and helping them to achieve their best is part of our talent-led DNA.

She then commented that Accenture CEO, Pierre Nanterme said it best in a recent interview with The Washington Post, “Performance is an ongoing activity. It’s every day… It’s much more fluid. People want to know on an ongoing basis … Am I moving in the right direction? Do you think I’m progressing? Nobody’s going to wait for an annual cycle to get that feedback.”

What approach are you taking to develop your people into highly engaged top talent?  Are you managing “performance” or “achievement”?

At the Talent Management Institute, we call it Optimizing Talent Performance, which is one of the ten components of the Total Talent Management System™ (TTMS).  TTMS is an integrated talent eco-system that can solve the engagement and retention problem.

Click on the following link to learn more about TTMS and get a free copy of the special executive report, “Fully Engaged Top Talent:  Key to Excellence for Knowledge-based Enterprises.”

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Bob Moore, CMC
Managing Principal


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