Best Practices in Performance Management at Kimberly Clark

I just completed a detailed interview with Gary Short, Kimberly Clark’s director of Talent Management.  The company has had a legacy performance management process for 20 years which had limited adoption but a very long term history.  The old process grouped employees into only three levels:  meets expectations, exceeds, or does not meet expectations.  As one can imagine, most employees were rated in the “meet” category and since there were very few guidelines for establishing these categories (objectives and competency management were not required), employees also felt the ratings were somewhat arbitrary.

 In 2003 they decided to revamp the process and build an entirely new process which allowed greater granularity, clear guidelines for objectives, and a new competency model for every employee in the company.  After studying many competency models the company decided to create six major competencies:  Decisiveness, Innovative, Inspiration, Visionary, Collaborative, Building Talent. 

Each of these competencies is applied toward employees with different “behaviors” depending on whether they are an executive, first line manager, or individual contributor.  For example, “building talent” to an individual contributor means increasing your own skills in your job.  The company developed an innovative 9-box rating scale which rates competency assessment on the vertical axis and goal attainmnent on the horizontal axis.  This way Kimberly Clark can clearly see how people compare between behavioral development and business goal attainment.  We will write much more on this topic in the Performance Management: What Works report coming out in May.