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Webinar Recap: Inclusive Performance Management

When done well, performance management is an incredible opportunity to fuel organizational and employee growth, advance inclusion, and cultivate a growth mindset culture. When done poorly, it’s ripe for bias and subjectivity, and can lead to attrition and a psychologically unsafe corporate culture.

Earlier this month, Jack Altman, co-founder and CEO of Lattice, joined Paradigm’s co-founder and CEO Joelle Emersonfor a webinar to discuss performance management best practices and how organizations can create inclusive processes. We’ve included some of the key points they discussed below — you can also watch the full webinar on demand here.

The evolution of performance management: Over the past few years, there’s been a shift from company-centric annual performance reviews to a more continuous feedback loop that puts employees at the center of the process. Whatever the model is, as Jack said, “the key to good performance management is an obsession with and deep care for the employee’s growth.”

Giving valuable feedback: Feedback is key to a performance management process that prioritizes employees’ growth, but feedback is also ripe for bias. Fortunately, research has shown that effective feedback models not only help mitigate bias, they transform how people from underrepresented backgrounds perform. Equipping your people managers with the skills they need to give effective feedback is critical for diversity, equity, and inclusion AND employees’ growth. 

  • If you’d like to upskill your workforce on inclusive feedback, Paradigm REACH can help. We’ve recently added a course on Inclusive Performance Management. Sign up here for your free two-week trial of the REACH online training platform. 
  • Want to get feedback culture right at your company? Download Lattice’s free ebook for guidance. 

The role of ratings: Some companies have moved away from ratings (and in some cases, formal performance reviews altogether), in part because they are concerned that ratings can perpetuate a fixed mindset. However, the absence of ratings can leave even more room for subjectivity and makes it difficult to use data to identify potential inequities. In the webinar, Joelle and Jack discuss how to use substantive written feedback to make reviews more inclusive and valuable to employees, while using numerical ratings to monitor for inequitable outcomes by demographic. 

Using data to identify inequities and set goals: Organizations can use the data they have access to — whether that’s performance ratings, promotions, attrition, etc. — to identify any disparities between demographics groups and then focus on addressing those gaps. At Lattice, the key to making progress on diversity equity, and inclusion programs has been using data to identify gaps, creating explicit goals on closing those gaps, and regularly reporting progress to the company.   

The biggest takeaway from the conversation? Inclusive performance management practices are good performance management practices. The more structure you have built into the process, the more clarity your employees have on expectations for their role, and the better-equipped your people managers are for providing useful feedback, the less opportunity there is for subjectively, bias, and other non-inclusive behaviors to permeate the performance management process. And, your employees will have the direction they need to thrive.

February 25, 2021

If you'd like help making your performance management process more inclusive, contact us today!