At technology firm ETS-Lindgren, the annual performance review is a thing of the past, and at Motorola Solutions, it soon will be. “With the annual review, you’re trying to recall conversations and events that happened up to a year earlier,” said Vicki Colaneri, senior director of global workforce technology at Motorola Solutions, which was split off from its larger sibling, handset-maker Motorola Mobility, when the latter was acquired by Google last year. “We want managers and employees to have regular, ongoing conversations about performance, instead.”
Colaneri spoke at the 15th Annual HR Technology® Conference’s Sixth Annual Talent Management Panel, at McCormick Place in Chicago. Also on the panel was David Adrian, senior director of global talent management at WalMart; Dan Guaglianone, global leader of HR operations at Merck; and Heathre Moler, global HR director at ETS-Lindgren. Serving as moderator was Jason Averbook, CEO of consultancy Knowledge Infusion (which was just acquired by global technology-services firm Appirio).
Averbook began the conversation by asking each panelist to describe their current challenges. WalMart’s Adrian said he’s focused on “simplifying and improving” the talent-management tools used by the 2.2 million-employee retailer and helping it build a “deeper bench of executive talent.” “My role right now is mostly about change management,” he said.
Colaneri said Motorola Solutions is “undergoing tremendous change,” transforming itself into a “fast-moving, innovative company.” It’s in the process of transferring over to Workday while standardizing its back-office functions on Six Sigma.
Guaglianone said Merck recently underwent a “big bang” implementation of SAP, having every one of its global locatons going live at once, and is currently focused on deploying succession-planning tools to the workforce at large.
Moler said her company has been using Rypple (now Work.com) for performance management, having done away with annual performance reviews.
“A lot of companies want to blow up their performance-management process,” said Averbook. “Does doing that start with HR?”
Absolutely not, said Moler. “It starts with a conversation between you and the business leaders–and you can’t use terms like ‘talent profiles’ and ‘talent management’–you have to talk in terms of how it’s going to improve business performance,” she said.
Motorola Solutions is completely redesigning its pay-and-performance processes, doing away with ratings as well as annual reviews, said Colaneri. “We’re making it overt that we disproportionately reward our high performers.”
When asked by an audience how HR can do away with performance ratings yet still capture information pertaining to high vs. low performers, Colaneri replied that Motorola Solutions “is still managing toward objectives. We still identify potential and, if you’re underperforming, we’ll create a performance improvement plan. But performance management is about the dialogue between manager and employee–that’s it. Managers can document these conversations if they want, but it’s not required.”
At ETS-Lindgren, however, managers are still asked to document the regular conversations they’re expected to have with employees about performance, said Moler, so they can “use that information to feed their coaching strategies.”