Performance Management: Look at the Big Picture

By Kathy Miller on July 9th, 2013


I have been assisting a professional services firm with a project aimed at improving their recruitment process.  The project sprung from complaints by the senior partners that they didn’t have enough of the right people in place to grow their business according to plan.  Somehow this complaint led to the assumption that the recruiting procedures needed to be fixed.  The firm came to me requesting help in improving the recruiting process.


As a first step, we conducted interviews with several of the senior partners who seemed to be suffering from too few people qualified to do the firm’s work.  Surprisingly our interviewees reported very few problems with the actual recruiting process.  While they did describe some bottlenecks and lengthy time lags, overall they didn’t report major problems.  Were we interviewing the wrong people?  Were those we were interviewing reluctant to describe problems because they thought they might look bad? 


More likely we were focused on the wrong issue or the concern we were focused on was only part of the problem.  The real issue that led to the project was that the firm lacked qualified people to do the work.  The recruiting process is only one of several factors that could have an impact on this dilemma.   Perhaps the firm isn’t clear about the kinds of skills they really need to get the work done.  Possibly people aren’t given the proper orientation and training once hired.   Conceivably the incentives might not be motivating people to behave in ways that would allow the firm to grow.  Perhaps people aren’t deployed efficiently.  And of course, perhaps the recruiting process really isn’t adequate and our interviewing process is flawed. 


The point is that we should step back and look at the big picture pertaining to performance before we hone in on one process that affects it.