Performance management: Part 1 - Case studies

This report, written and researched by e-reward, is the first installment of a two-part research study designed for those new to, or seeking a wider perspective, on performance management. It comprises two case studies. Part 2, to be published in issue 98, reports on the findings of a survey examining performance management practices of 150 UK and overseas organisations.

Case study 1: Axpo

Employees: 2,500.

Business: Generation, utilisation, purchase, sale, exchange and trading of electrical and other energy and provision of services of all kinds in the fields of energy and the environment.

Main locations: Head office in Baden, Switzerland, and regional bases in 17 European countries, including the UK.

Operates a single, standardised performance management system for 2,500 staff in its Swiss home base and in subsidiaries across Europe. Its current priority is aligning the IT systems used to run performance management processes following major organisational change in 2011/12. Once this immediate task is completed, the company's HR function plans to review structural challenges within performance management, including the link with incentive pay and line manager capability to operate the system effectively.

Case study 2: IHS

Employees: 7,700 executive and non-executive colleagues in the Americas, Asia-Pacific and EMEA.

Business: Provider of critical information, analytics and expertise to a range of business sectors and governments in more than 31 countries. Parent company of Jane's defence publications and the Construction Information Service in the UK.

Main locations: Head office in Englewood, Colorado, USA, with centres of excellence around the world.

Rolled out a single, standard performance management system for all 7,700 of its executive and non-executive colleagues in the Americas, Asia-Pacific and EMEA in summer 2013. In the first year of its deployment, individuals' ratings were based on meeting or exceeding a mix of objectives and core competencies. IHS has since reviewed its performance management approach for 2014, shifting to a wholly objectives-based system. Competencies will continue to be evaluated but will not directly influence the performance rating. Competencies will also continue to be the focus for Individual Development Plans. IHS utilises a pay-for-performance philosophy, although the company is keen to ensure that the process of merit pay and discussions around performance are kept separate and distinct.

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