Contemporary Thinking on Performance/Development Reviews

In this busy, fast-changing environment, how do organisations make Performance & Development Reviews (PDR’s) less time-consuming and more effective? Do they go online, off-line, down-the-line, virtual, web, skype, facetime etc.? And why, in spite of enormous investment in new PDR processes, are so many managers finding them time-consuming and ineffective?

Are PDRs really any better than they were 20 years ago? As in the case of comparing sporting stars with the heroes of previous generations, there are too many variables to provide a valid answer, but there is a lot of anecdotal evidence to show that we still have a long way to go.

The “Of-the-Moment” Challenge

Many organisations have developed a range of complex competencies and behaviours, which although well-intentioned, sometimes appear to be designed to create “tick-box” criteria, rather than engaging performance and development conversations. The process replaces the passion! Yet we know from our research and experience that most “performance” issues are rooted in real day-to-day issues like:

• Unclear job expectations
• Absence of standards
• Lack of feedback
• Lack of motivation to perform
• Task interference
• Skill & Knowledge requirements

To perform well, a person needs to understand the performance required of them and how this fits together to deliver the organisation’s overall performance. There is a need to focus on those behaviours that underpin organisational Values. Time should be set aside for a personal and career development discussion. All of this is part of an effective PDR meeting - so we are not advocating that they should be abandoned.

But there’s more!

To help managers to have regular, engaging conversations linked to PDR’s, we have developed a list of ten “prompts” for each of the four areas shown below:

Helping people to shape their own goals and believe that they can make a difference
Self Esteem
Being consciously clear about what we are looking for and spotting people doing things right
Giving people the courage to walk towards challenges and make decisions
Spending more time developing people and continuously exploring ways for them to utilise their full potential

We have developed a Developing People Resource Pack which will help in enabling your organisation to address these challenges:

For more information, please contact Ray on 01865 339558 or email the team at