What is Social Performance Management and how does it differ?

Can you talk comfortably about Social Performance Management?

What about Performance Management or Agile Performance Management?

No? – If you can’t you’re not alone.

In fact, even people who can talk about the three terms often refer to them incorrectly, mistakenly naming one when they mean another.

To help alleviate some of the confusion, we’ll touch on the overarching principles of all three management systems during the course of this article, as well as clearly define the five characteristics that make Social Performance Management distinct among all others.

Ready? – Let’s get to it!

Performance Management

Performance Management focuses on leadership, development and the performance of the people within a given organisation.

It arose from a need to make the workplace more efficient. By encouraging communication to promote organisational alignment in both production and mindset, it was theorised that monetarily measurable improvements in company performance would take place.

At the time of its conception in the 1950s, Performance Management was novel in theory but crude in practise, constrained by both technological and cultural limitations. However, its importance cannot be understated as it forever changed the philosophy of running a business.

No longer were managers and employees to remain isolated from each other. Their interaction was to be encouraged, albeit on a very limited basis, through new schemes like the yearly performance review or the annual company picnic.

By and large, this unsophisticated form of Performance Management remained unchanged for nearly 40 years. It wasn’t until the 1990s that Performance Management began to mature, blossoming into its modern counterpart…

Agile Performance Management

The advent of new technologies (email, video conferencing, the cloud, etc.) coupled with the liberalisation of traditional business culture, helped to facilitate the somewhat sudden arrival of Agile Performance Management (APM).

Like traditional Performance Management, Agile Performance Management still focuses on leadership, development and the measured performance of the people within a given organisation, but it does so in a more refined way.

APM is designed to help organisations provide feedback to, and encourage communication between, all of its actors on a much more frequent basis. This increased transparency creates an upsurge of energy, enthusiasm and engagement within the people that make up the organisation.

At its core, APM takes the original objective of Performance Management – improved organisational performance driven by alignment – and breaks it into two distinct features:

  • Development Focus
  • Frequency of Feedback

The two features are designed to hone in on the notion that a more skilled, educated and informed workforce can perform with greater effectiveness and efficiency so long as they have:

  1. A clear understanding of the organisation’s development strategy
  2. Consistent communication and coaching

To continue learning about Agile Performance Management, click here.

Social Performance Management

While Performance Management and APM are very closely related, Social Performance Management (SPM) is a practise unto itself.
Unlike the previous two management strategies which place their emphasis on the development of the people within the organisation, SPM literally builds its operational strategy entirely around two things: 

  1. The Customer
  2. The Stated Social Objective

In SPM all the persons within an organisation – from base-level employees to top-tier executives – work towards the fulfilment of the stated social or customer goals, rather than the financial objectives of the company. The focus of the leadership, the people and the development strategy are fully committed to the external rather than the internal.

Social Performance Management image

Social performance management places an emphasis on a social objective.

The Breakdown: 5 Keys to Distinguishing Social Performance Management

  1. Social Performance Management is a managerial style designed to facilitate the accomplishment of a social mission
  2. In Social Performance Management, the customer (or social goal) is the centre of the universe: all strategy and day-to-day operations put the customer first
  3. Companies or organisations that practice strong SPM provide products or services designed to help people stabilise and grow
  4. SPM encourages the astute monitoring of financial inputs and outputs in order to achieve sustained  fulfilment of social rather than private aims
  5. Any company encouraging Social Performance Management should adhere to the Social Performance Task Force Universal Standards Implementation Guide


Agile Performance Management Guide

What is Agile Performance Management?

Find out all about Agile Performance Management and what makes it different from traditional employee appraisals.

How does performance management work?

Learn the basics of how performance management works from planning to one-on-one check-ins.

Performance Management Dashboard

Performance Management System

With Cognology’s Performance Management System you’ll get a library of objectives to make goal setting easier.