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A leading mining company is adopting a slimmed-down approach to performance management with an appraisal form that it claims only takes seven seconds to complete.First Quantum Minerals, which employs 10,000 people across four continents, trialled the simplified process earlier this year and has now decided to roll it out to all its sites across the globe. The form only contains three boxes: ‘performance’, ‘behaviours’ and ‘readiness for promotion’ all of which are scored by the manager with a number between 1 and 4; there are no other sections to fill out.“I’ve worked in HR departments where we have produced some great stuff but the reality is that it never got used,” said Nick Warren, Head of Development at First Quantum. “Instead, we decided we’d rather do something that is 100 per cent used but only captures some of the information you’d like, than something that captures 100 per cent of the information but is not used enough. This way, the focus is not on filling out the form, but on the conversation you have. The shorter the form, the longer the conversation,” he said.The reduced paperwork does not stop the company managing talent effectively – managers have full-day ‘talent reviews’ where they identify top performers and discuss their future requirements – nor does it mean workers miss out on training, as this is handled separately, Warren said. He described First Quantum’s attitude to wider performance management as one of “trusting managers to have the right conversations” and said that HR is sometimes guilty of creating too much process.“Our feeling is that much of what HR does – creating a process and then measuring that process - is about governance, it’s about saying ‘we don’t trust you’,” said Warren. “Rules can sometimes stop people thinking. By paring back the checks and balances to a minimum, our desire is that people will use their heads.”The firm has continued the theme of keeping it simple by creating a competency framework that consists of only three words – bolder, smarter, driven – which can be interpreted in culturally different ways by management in the different countries it operates in. It also prides itself on its speedy recruitment process for graduates, which overwhelmingly uses active headhunting and sees the whole process from application to job offer conducted in just a few weeks.Unsurprisingly given the firm’s philosophy, the HR function at First Quantum is very streamlined: there are just six people in the central HR department and only a few dozen overall when local HR managers are added in.“We’re a fast growing company and the reason for that is that we cherish having a fresh approach to business,” concluded Warren. “The mining industry is very conservative, but we thrive on being different and innovative, in the HR space and elsewhere. That’s what gets us out of bed in the morning.”
Interesting approach. I think the value of an appraisal lies in the conversation and not the form - and perhaps the benefit is that managers stop using the form as a guide, and start to have a good meaningful conversation and engage with their teams.
I think the merit in an approach like this is that it potentially liberates managers from having to learn about a complex process before they even attempt to hold an appraisal discussion. Positioned skillfully, this could be quite a liberating and empowering statement of trust in the ability of line managers to conduct good appraisals. Backed up by some effective 'soft skills' training for those managers who need it, I think this could be a really powerful and engaging new approach to appraisal.
Where do they set goals and objectives for the coming period? Context is great but you need a little content to make a thing stand up...
Have your say...As someone who is presently trying to introduce a new appraisal system the idea of a 7-second form sounds idyllic as does the more indepth conversations afterwards but doesn't this just produce yet more paperwork at the meeting as surely the conversation should be documented for future use and supportive evidence for decisions made? It's a catch 22.
Maybe they have taken it slightly too far the other way! However, having managed appraisal sytems with 10 pages of information that led to a return rate of less than 50%, 7 seconds is better than none. Incidently the best paper work I have used was one A4 sheet from a process called 'The conversation' after all managers had been through 'Manager as coach' training. For the miners you could get rid of the 'ready for promotion' box as if they score high on behaviour and performance, my guess is that 'ready for promotion' is obvious.
Great idea. With the time saved let's do a 360 degree management appraisal. Any suggestions for the three categories?
I think it needs a fourth box "Training needed". If you don't have that, then what's the point of reporting poor performance or bad behaviours? Does the form just sit on a file, in which case you just wasted 7 seconds and a sheet of paper.<br/><br/>Of course that begs the question "what training", but you could have a system where line managers refer training needs to someone who has skills in assessing training needs, and understands what the training budget is.
The article will <br/> attract considerable interest, as it indicates that HR staff are largely otiose. The matter about interminable processes being a sign of lack of trust is potent. HR staff rarely know much about staff they are supposed to be helping. The FQM managers will have to be well trained on all internal policies, but may well feel empowered by this approach.
Have your say...<br/>A 7-second form sounds great, but such simplicity only works well when accompanied by a much more detailed conversation. I fear that reducing the paperwork to just a few numbers encourages managers (many of whom struggle to devote time to employee performance and development already) to have "7-second appraisal conversations".
Have your say...<br/>Oh dear. Another example of dumbing down a really vital line of communication to fit with the ineptitude of line management. Three boxes. I ask you....... I agree with Hamilton on the "longer discussion" aspect. This makes it even more likely that line managers, who are already under the cosh to achieve ever more demanding targets, will have even SHORTER discussions. Train the managers properly.
Have your say...<br/>Some interesting concepts here and I do feel that HR does need to become more creative; the above is certainly a different approach. I would have more concerns if it were not supported by other mechanisms but it is. I am not convinced by the argument that the "shorter the form, the longer the discussion" though. We have to be flexible and open to change. JH, HR Manager
Have your say... What a refreshing approach! when I started in business analysis and consultancy a number of years back one of the key things I learned was that process(and policy) is there to support performance; a philosophy that in my experience is often not observed by HR departments who seem to believe that business activities should meet the requirements of the HR process/policy rather than the other way round. More power to the miners I say! Now when did I hear that before....?!
Have your say...<br/>Great philosophy and practice. Could debate the categories...but I don't think they matter too greatly.