Commissioner eyes private sector HR, not bandwagons


John Lloyd two

The latest HR trend is to get rid of formal, detailed performance reviews altogether. APS commissioner John Lloyd sees a lot the public service could learn from the private sector, but thinks that’s going just a little too far.

In the US, major blue-chip companies are reportedly getting rid of standard annual or six-monthly performance reviews and asking their managers to give employees more regular feedback in a less formal way throughout the year.

Could a similar bold reform work for an Australian government agency? Australian Public Service commissioner John Lloyd thinks it might be going a little too far, but is still keen to see a cultural shift towards high performance, including more meaningful feedback and ongoing conversations between managers and their staff about individual performance.

Last month, global accounting firm Accenture announced its employees would no longer go through formal yearly reviews, and instead receive more regular feedback on their performance in specific tasks from multiple managers in a less formal way. Other big American companies are moving in the same direction.

“I have some reservations about that,” Lloyd told The Mandarin this week. “I think any organisation has to be aware of its performance, how it’s going, how its staff are going — it’s very important for succession planning — so you do need a system.”

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