The “How” Behind Performance Management Transformation [Webinar Recap]

Employee Experience 2 min read

Earlier this month we hosted a webinar, It’s About the How: Making Performance Management as Agile as Your Business, with industry visionary Josh Bersin and Hitachi Vantara’s Scott Kelly. We set out with two goals in mind. First, we wanted to help attendees understand what’s driving the performance management transformation we see today, on both the micro and macro level. And second, to share how one company was able to take modern processes and tools and implement them in a non-disruptive, culturally-aligned way.

We encourage you to view the webinar recording to listen in on their insightful discussion. During the first half of the webinar, Josh gave his take on why we’ve arrived at this state of transformation.

Performance Management Transformation


Here’s just four of the many key takeaways Josh Bersin shared.

  1. There are four forces of disruption necessitating performance management change. Demographic upheavals are systematically changing the way our workforce operates and interacts, now with a total of five generations working together. Companies are using digital tools to operate in a much more agile way. The rate of change is accelerating. And, lastly, relationships with employees are very different today, with a greater emphasis on individuals as stakeholders and business owners.
  2. The fourth industrial revolution has left a massive impact on the workforce. We are inundated by technology, effectively overwhelmed by data tools, communication channels and more. All of these things are having a negative impact on employee productivity and engagement, as these measures continue to plummet almost universally. To fix the problem, we must re-engineer the way companies operate.
  3. Companies need to take agile to the next level to meet their employees where they do best – on teams. While the term “agile” was first coined for a type of software development, today it’s become a buzzword for every part of the organization, and for good reason. The best experience and highest levels of productivity and engagement happen when employees are formed into teams. Companies that optimize their teams will in turn optimize their business.
  4. The re-invention of performance management is happening now. Ten years ago, the majority of companies were using performance management to weed out under-performers and create differentiation amongst its workers. Today, the goal for most organizations is to improve performance. The re-invention of performance management includes agile, bottom up goals, check-ins, real-time feedback, data, leadership training, regular compensation reviews and career and development assignments.

A real-world example of performance management transformation

Hitachi Vantara’s Scott Kelly shared how his team went about the performance management transformation process at their organization. Transitioning from a long, tedious process – 15-page reviews and 20,000 total hours of work – didn’t happen overnight. He shared his thought process, from designing a new solution to ensuring a success implementation.

Some lessons learned from Hitachi Vantara included:

  1. Set clear objectives. For Hitachi, this was to:
    1. Create a robust, connected, data-driven process to better understand their talent.
    2. Implement agile, transparent goal setting, frequent feedback and coaching.
    3. Maintain a strong focus on employee growth and development.
  2. Build a case for change with data. The Hitachi HR team examined internal talent data analysis, conducted employee surveys and stakeholder interviews, and held manager and employee focus groups.
  3. Customize the design of the new process. Hitachi used best practices as a starting point, but had to determine the likelihood of adoption within their own organization for each tactic.
  4. Take change management seriously. Hitachi took the time to build strong internal stakeholders and advocates first, and branded their program to create excitement during its initial rollout.
  5. Don’t think it’s over after implementation. As the company continues to go through its transformation, they continue to analyze, tweak and adapt the program to fit their needs and build on successes of the year before.

Performance Management Transformation

The results for Hitachi are impressive. The company’s sales employees who set goals using Kazoo perform 22% better on quota attainment than those without. They’ve seen a double digit increase in performance management scores on their engagement surveys. And, all of this is accomplished while saving 20,000+ employee hours per year – the time spent on the old process.