HR’s Quest: Enhancing Performance Management

Things are changing around here. Subscribe to our new YouTube channel and get a sneak peak at what's coming.

Long ago, in a land far away

You may have heard of Don Quixote, by Miguel Cervantes, the story of a man on a passionate quest to feed his late-in-life obsession with codes, deeds, and tales of  chivalry.  An avid reader, Quixote threw himself into the study of “knights” – he even sells vast amounts of farmland to feed his obsession, purchasing more books from which to learn even more. He eventually dons a bit of rusty armor and ventures off into faraway lands to further his quest, seeking true knighthood and to feed his need to find chivalry, any where. He knew it was not dead.  Along his journey he is scorned, beaten, forced into servitude, wins battles and loses battles, seeks love and loses love – but gains the bonds of great friendship. Sadly beaten by his unfulfilled quest, Don Quixote returns to La Mancha, his home, a broken man.  He releases his quest for knighthood and the intense passion for the return of chivalry: denouncing them both – only to die shortly thereafter, leaving his friends grieving the loss of both the man and his quest.

Human of La Mancha

HR’s quest is not far off from Don Quixote’s, though I believe our quest is attainable, it is a reachable dream. True leadership is not about sheep herding or corralling people and squashing their search for a happy and fulfilled workplace.  It is about providing that happy  and fulfilled workplace.  It is about understanding their needs and giving opportunity for growth and development. It is about managing change in a positive way.  It is about understanding the need of the employer and how it relates to the employee and vice versa. It is about building and maintaining company culture and developing a lineage of respect that supplies hope for the future of an organization and retaining quality employees. At is basest level, it is about protecting investments – the investment in recruiting, the investment in onboarding and training, the investment in learning and development, and the investment in the organizations future.

Can software and technology do this?

HR Tech assists in this very real process, the process of “maintaining the dash” – but it can only do what a company allows it to do – what an organization has trained HR to do and /or the go ahead given to invest in technology.  And then it is limited if there is a lack of humanity – the human component necessary to truly evaluate and place value in employees and what they contribute.

Are you Fully invested?

As an HR professional or Hiring Authority, have you fully invested the time and resources to get the most out of your chosen technology partners? Training and understanding the impact of each upgrade is vital. But most important is understanding that software and tech are merely assistants in this process – they do not replace HR – they assist in managing the performance of employees. But this assistance is very real and can ease the processes associated with tracking the life (the dash) of an employee.

Performance Management

This is exactly what “maintaining the dash” means. Employees expect to grow in their roles and this is the foundation for retention. Opportunity is discovered when the life and learning of employees is carefully traced and tracked. Are you really maintaining the life of employees?
Here are a few key things to remember when considering the goals of total performance management and what it should ultimately achieve:

  • Alignment of individual employee goals with organizational priorities and objectives.
  • Identification of skill gaps for learning and prioritize development activities.
  • Tracking of all interrelated processes across performance appraisals, 360⁰ assessments, cascading goals, and competency management.
  • Participation of the employee throughout the entire process.

The Quest?

The ultimate quest of performance management is to retain quality employees, thus protecting the investment and maintaining the dash.

“When you can’t offer comparable money, what can you offer? How do you compensate or make up for the fact that you are paying/offering less than the average for any one position or job? Value. Gratitude. Graciousness. Culture. Respect. Opportunity. The Future.” – Defining Commensurate: It’s not so easy… 

It isn’t an impossible dream or unreachable star, but it certainly will not be achieved if no attempt is made. You have to start the quest to reach it.

Don Quixote

by Rayanne Thorn


Maintaining the Dash series…
Hire to Retire: Maintain the Dash
Polish Your Kindness: Learning to Say Thank You
Defining Commensurate: It’s not so easy…
HR’s Quest: Enhancing Performance Management
Nurturing Talent: Providing Opportunities for Growth
Leadership Development is a Strategic Business Priority

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. Rayanne, I love your use of Cervantes’ story, I only hope that our quest for real performance management is not Quixotic. Your four points of total performance management are spot on – particularly the importance of employee participation. I would add one further point: a close fit between the character traits [eg persistence, attention to detail] required for a job and those of the strengths of the individual. Even more than skills and knowledge, these determine likely success.


Leave a Comment