HR Models and Employee Performance Management

There are two widely adopted models of human resource management. These are the hard and soft HR models.


As we are aware these are predicated on different views of human nature and result in different managerial control strategies. The hard model is based on ideas of control and an economic model of man according to Theory X, while the soft model is based on control through commitment and Theory Y. These views are opposites and so divergent both cannot be encompassed within a single model of human resource management.


The reality is that most organisations don’t start with a HR model and rigorously seek to adhere to the model. Most organisations grow organically and generally reflect the world view of the founder/s. This view is informed by their experiences in the work place.


My personal experience across a number of organisation has encompassed organisations which would be at the extreme ends of the spectrum with the majority being somewhere in the middle.


The nature of the work carried out, the skills profile and the economic climate also have an influence. Most organisations take a pragmatic view and depending on the nature of the role.


A highly sought after professional with a wide range of job opportunities is not very likely to tolerate a closely controlled workplace unless they feel the need for such discipline. Similarly an employee with limited skills and opportunities would be more likely to “suffer” in such an environment. Similarly some roles are more suited to the soft approach.


The ultimate objective of all organisations is to get the best performance from the individuals and the organisation as a whole. To have everyone pulling in the one direction is ideally what you want.  A key requirement, regardless of the HR model is a clear communication of the role and its objectives. Absence of clear communications is a major hindrance to effectiveness in any organisation.


Performance Management is a key tool to ensure clear communications.


A strong statement of what the organisation is about, gives strategic direction. Cascading strategic vision down the organisation into departmental and finally individual goals enables employees to see what both the organisation needs to accomplish and most importantly where they and their role fit into this plan.


Employee Performance Management is at its core and at its best communicates clearly and unambiguously what we are about and what’s required. This answers two key questions that an employee has, what the organisation is trying to achieve and where they fit in.


A properly constructed Employee Performance Management system facilitates communication. Systems requiring significant paperwork do not facilitate good communications as the message is lost in the process. People get so caught up in form completing and deadlines that the meetings which should facilitate communication end up getting lost in a blizzard of paper and deadlines.


So what do we need to improve communication? We all know the answer, clearly simply stated objectives with the opportunity for the employee to seek clarification and help if needed. The process of recording the communication of objectives allows for further communication and clarification should it be required.


We all have had the experience of agreeing to something and later finding out it was not exactly what we had thought we had agreed. Requests of help and clarification are all part of an ongoing communication process. By assisting in this communication process Employee Performance Management should be a major source of communication within any organisation.

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