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How can we convince leadership that we have a performance problem?

My organization does an “OK” job of gathering performance feedback on our employees and presenting it to them. However, we often hear from employees that they were not aware of what they were to be assessed on and what impact these things have on the company’s success. Is this a typical scenario for a SMB organization? What are the implications of this scenario on the company’s overall performance. We have 200 employees and will likely grow to 240 by the end of the year. What suggestions do you have for improving this situation and what would be the benefits of making those improvements?


Stephen Wolford
Title: Technology Solutions Partner
Company: Frank, Rimerman + Co. LLP
(Technology Solutions Partner, Frank, Rimerman + Co. LLP) |

Yes, this is quite typical for a SMB organization. The implications of not having employees aware of what they were to be assessed on is that 95% of your employee base may not understand how what they’re doing relates to the company’s success. You can imagine how this impacts results – lower engagement, motivation and satisfaction, all leading to lower overall performance and higher turnover.

We would suggest you consider implementing a business execution software package, such as SuccessFactors. This would allow you to easily and visibly align your organization’s objectives with your employee’s individual goals. The average company with aligned goals adds 1% of revenue to the bottom line, not many other software purchases will provide this kind of return. With aligned goals, employees could easily see the connection of their work to the company’s business objectives, improving their engagement and therefore your bottom line.

For companies with high growth, the ability to react quickly to the changing environment is critical. Business execution software allows you to refine and update your organizations goals and refocus employee efforts which enhances their engagement and motivates them to work towards success for the company. Employees also appreciate seeing how their work directly relates to the company’s overall plan for success.

Alexander Haislip
Title: Author
Company: Independent
(Author, Independent) |

There's no greater compliment a boss can give an employee than knowing what he or she does. If you know that Doug, down in accounting, caught a major mistake in the quarterly results report, you can stroll down to his cube and offer your sincere and heart-felt thanks.

This gets much tougher as a company grows. And additional management layers can also obfuscate the roles and responsibilities of their underlings. Others have overcome this using "management by walking around." Many Apple employees have harrowing tales of stepping into an elevator with Steve Jobs and getting quizzed on exactly what they do to help Apple.

Technology can help, but there's just no substitute for face-to-face engagement.

Dan Feely
Title: President
Company: TSI-Transforming Solutions, Inc.
LinkedIn Profile
(President, TSI-Transforming Solutions, Inc.) |

Your question is a good one. As a consultant we face this all of the time. My first question is, how does your leadership define performance (and good versus poor performance)? It's quite common for organizations of all sizes to have either no or relatively useless metrics.

Assuming you do have some useful metrics, what are they telling you and what trends do you see? How do they compare to your most feared competitor? Do you have any trustworthy outside experts that can objectively review your situation? We are often called in my senior leadership teams and/or boards to review. Best wishes; pls don't hesitate to call if needed.

Dan Feely, Managing Partner


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