Few NFPs Use Performance Assessments - Report
3 March 2011 at 9:45 am
Few Not for Profits appear to make the most of the performance assessment process, according to a new US study.
A recent Bridgespan Group survey of more than 90 Not for Profit organisations found that many leaders rated their organisations as weak when it came to engaging in a meaningful performance assessment process.
Two-thirds of organisations ranked performance assessment as a weakness, and nearly half ranked it among the top five, alongside perceived weaknesses in the communication of priorities, coordination across organisation boundaries, and leadership succession.
Furthermore, over 80 percent of organisations rated their ability to provide development and growth opportunities to employees—the natural follow-on to performance assessment—as a weakness, with more than half of those organisations ranking it among the top five weaknesses, as well.
Survey authors say that one of the biggest challenges that make it difficult to implement an effective performance assessment process is the Not for Profit sector's defining characteristic: its caring culture.
They say engaging employees in a thoughtful performance assessment process can help boost an organisation’s employee engagement, motivation, and retention rates and for some NFPs, it can even be a tool that helps them identify and develop future leaders.
Kim Ruyle, vice president of research and development from research firm Korn/Ferry says Not for Profits tend to be benevolent organisations working from the heart and this is a challenge when trying to differentiate talent and raise the bar on performance.
How can Not for Profits meet those challenges?
The Bridsgespan Group says a big piece of the answer lies with making performance assessment a part of the organisation’s culture—and not just at the top with senior managers, but also, importantly, with line managers, who are fully engaged in the day-to-day work.
Kim Ruyle says that helping managers understand what employee performance assessment can accomplish and how it should be done is the only way an organisation can have an effective process.
Nicole Philips, director of human resources for the Bridgespan Group, agrees, adding that it is important to be sure that the managers who will be conducting performance reviews are comfortable doing so.
Ruyle and other experts said a good performance assessment process includes at least three elements: goal setting; continuous feedback and coaching; and an annual review. Some organisations, he notes, also include developing a professional development plan as part of their performance assessment processes.
Interestingly, Ruyle says research has shown that it makes little difference whether the goals are set by the manager or are created collaboratively with the employee. What matters is whether it is crystal clear to the employee why the goals are important and exactly what the manager expects from him or her.
He says for Not for Profits, it is especially important to articulate a clear connection between an employee’s goals and their effect on the organisation’s ability to accomplish its mission.
Founded in 2000 and incubated at Bain & Company, the Bridgespan Group (www.bridgespan.org) is a NFP organisation that helps Not for Profit and philanthropic leaders make strategic decisions and build organisations that inspire and accelerate social change.
Find out how more about carrying out performance reviews at: http://www.bridgestar.org/Library/PerformanceAssessment.aspx