26 November, 2019 | Rebecca East

One size never fits all

Why people-centred performance management is vital in today’s workplace

With five different generations now active at work in the UK, the factors that motivate employees haven’t just changed, they’ve multiplied.

To say that one size doesn’t fit all is an understatement. Every individual has a different set of priorities, aspirations, challenges and demands, and the generation gap is just the beginning. Career goals, family time, promotion, exercise, recognition ... everyone, regardless of age, has a unique blend that is important to them: a mix of elements that they need in their life to feel fulfilled. 

Managers today are faced with the mammoth challenge of overseeing this diverse workforce – and many are struggling to strike the right balance.

But why does it matter?  

In 2017, the rate of resignations reached a six year high of 1 in 5 employees. It’s estimated that the average cost of losing an employee is 33% of their annual salary – not to mention the impact of lost time, talent and experience. 

Engagement, too, is suffering. A study by Gallup* found only 13% of people were fully engaged at work – signifying an eye-watering 87% disengagement in workplaces. 

And as for productivity, it’s no surprise that the UK lags behind in the statistics, when you read that Britain’s output per worker is 15.4% below the G7 average. 

The hard link between those three figures? Management.

Seventy-five percent of resigning employees cite bad management as their reason for leaving*. Seventy percent of engagement variance is accounted to individual managers*. Fifty eight percent of employees list bad management as their biggest obstacle to productivity*. 

That’s not to say that these are bad managers – in all likelihood, they simply don’t have the framework (or the coaching) in place to successfully manage and motivate a disparate team who all have different expectations from their careers. Some may be driven by promotion; some might prioritise creative fulfilment. Some might perform brilliantly if they have the space and time to exercise regularly, while others underperform without clearly defined family time. 

Understanding these driving forces is about more than employee wellbeing. It directly correlates to output and in a competitive job market, it’s the difference between your most talented employees keeping their valuable skills in your business or taking them elsewhere. 

So how does a shift towards a people-centred management structure eradicate these problems and improve productivity, engagement and retention, as well as creating a happier, more fulfilled workforce – and more successful managers?

Let’s look at the impact that this approach – or lack of it – can have on one individual. 

We’ll call her Karen.


Karen has been a product director at her company for three years. She’s an A player, driven by recognition: she needs to know that her hard work is adding value if she’s going to thrive.

Her manager doesn’t know this. They don’t take a people-centred approach to their team. During those three years at the business, they’ve never thought to ask Karen what motivates her, what’s important to her, what drives her to bring her best self to work.

Now, Karen is a talented team member, and this hasn’t gone unnoticed by competitors. She’s regularly headhunted by recruiters, and it’s only a matter of time until Karen becomes demotivated enough to take her skills elsewhere.

Her manager, meanwhile, is oblivious. They don’t know that she’s unhappy, and therefore they don’t know what to do to change that. A simple conversation would solve this – but this kind of conversation isn’t easy to have (and is even harder to raise).

A people-centred approach gives Karen’s manager a framework to ask those difficult questions and create actions to change them.

If Karen needs recognition to feel motivated, what does that practically look like? What blend does Karen need to succeed – and what can she bring to the business in return? 

Now imagine the impact that discussions like this one could have on talent engagement, productivity and retention across an entire business. Just imagine the impact of 300, motivated and engaged Karen’s...

With a people-centred management approach, these conversations can be replicated across every team member, under every manager, without becoming overwhelming. A people-centred management platform, like OpenBlend, gives a clear structure to follow, building open, honest dialogue into one to one meetings and coaching managers on how to lead and respond.

By providing a tool to track results, both managers and talent are given full accountability: these aren’t just conversations to be forgotten, but actionable plans to grow engagement, productivity and loyalty.

No, one size doesn’t fit all. But with people-centred performance management, it’s simple to find out what size does fit for everyone. The result? More engaged managers, more productive employees, and better results for the business. 

To find out how OpenBlend has helped businesses including Lacoste, Avios, Mediacom and more to benefit from a people-first approach to talent management, call us on 01628 613040 or email hello@openblend.com.


Gallup State of the Global Workplace

XpertHR Labour Turnover Rates Survey 2017

Office for National Statistics

Work Institute 2017 Employee Retention Report

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