Editor's Note

Editor's Note

Hilda Rosca Nartea

performance management software system empowers and motivates employees to do their best through employee-driven goals, check-ins real-time feedback Workforce Management, How To Motivate Employees, Good Employee, Employee Recognition, Talent Management, Employee Engagement, Business Goals, Human Resources, How To Plan

This issue reveals some bold concepts on performance management that just might pave the way to a more engaged workforce for your organization.

     The decades-old practice of performance reviews has been described as an annual rite of corporate kabuki. The traditional Japanese form of theater is known for the highly stylized movements, exaggerated acting, elaborate sets and costumes and a heavily formulaic script. Traditional annual reviews share the same traits. Participants are locked in the roles they are required to play, moving along to the predictable song-and-dance ritual, toward an ending that either everyone expects, or leave you completely feeling blindsided.

     But if you really think about it, the comparison doesn’t seem fair. Kabuki in form may look rigid, but its function can actually be revolutionary or subversive even. Early kabuki plays were heavily looked down upon by the ruling elite. But the artists and the audience found ways to use kabuki as an art form and a tool to cleverly discuss taboo subjects such as social ills and restrictive feudal conditions at that time. Those fantastic props and masks? Ironically, they’re tools to reveal deep realities and truths about the human condition (aside from increasing the entertainment value of the production, of course).

     Not so with your traditional performance appraisals (PAs); if you take a look at the experiences of companies across the globe, what happens is quite the opposite. PAs, instead of revealing helpful information, often end up confusing the entire narrative. Instead of paving the way to authentic conversations, most annual appraisals end up costly, time-consuming and even harmful to the health of the organization.

     No wonder many people today are not only half-hearted but adamantly against PAs. But for multi-awarded consultant M. Tamra Chandler, the task in not just exposing the flaws of traditional performance management but as importantly, offering realistic solutions. In her OpEd piece that we have the honor of publishing, Tamra takes a critical, bold yet non-dismissive, open-minded and insightful approach to the discussion – a position that we all want to take as we work on developing performance management programs that really drive results in today’s changing workplace.

     We also know that when it comes to the topic of the changing workplace, no other than the younger generation can best school us on new perspectives. TEDx speaker and Huffington Post blogger millennial Crystal Kadakia writes that merely eliminating performance reviews is not the goal, you have to do it right (and shares a case study we can all learn from).

     Don’t get us wrong, though; we are not easily dismissing old-school ways either. Executive coach and one of The HR Agenda’s favorite contributors Dana Gallagher reveals in her article how the time-honored art of gift giving and receiving can, in fact, be an inspiration and a powerful driver to establishing effective and timely developmental feedback practices for better performance management.

     Needless to say, eliminating performance reviews, an age-old tradition, is never easy, and may or may not be appropriate for your organization as every business is unique. As Jun Kabigting writes in his Publisher’s Message, it can be a shocking concept especially for the conventional corporate environment of Japan workplaces. That’s why aside from paving the way for the discussion, we’ve also made sure that this issue is packed with even more tips on best practices, toolkits and expert advice to arm you, our dear readers, with the information and insights you need to make the best decisions that will enable you to build a high-performing workforce, perhaps inspired by the creativity and engagement you might find in kabuki – minus the drama.  



    Hilda Rosca Nartea is editor in chief of The HR Agenda. She heads the content team of a Dubai-based digital agency and is also a content producer for non-profit organizations, having done projects for the United Nations Development Programme under the Philippine Department of Energy. 


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