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Human Resources



Learning Effective Performance Management with Kyle Lagunas

Kyle Lagunas

Kyle Lagunas

28 minutes

May 26, 2024

Learning Effective Performance Management with Kyle Lagunas
Interview Highlights

According to McKinsey, making performance management a part of the work culture can make companies competitive. Like, when Jack Welch was CEO of GE, he made sure everyone there was working toward the same goals and doing their best. That's why GE did so well back then.

Even though we know this, there's still a lot we don't understand about what makes performance management work. That's why we have Kyle Lagunas here today. He's an expert in HR and talent technology, and he's going to share the findings of his latest research.

Lagunas has been studying HR and talent technology for a long time. He's known for bringing new ideas to the table and helping companies with their talent strategies.

In a thoughtful conversation with us, he delved into the findings of his latest research.

The Catalyst for Investigation:

Lagunas was prompted to investigate performance management effectiveness by a critical observation. With the sudden halt in hiring and subsequent layoffs in 2023, he questioned whether HR had the necessary data to guide decisions beyond mere cost-cutting measures.

His concern stemmed from the realization that layoffs could have far-reaching effects on employee morale, performance, and engagement. Lagunas felt there was a knowledge gap and sought to address it.

Surveying the Landscape:

To understand the effectiveness of performance management, Lagunas surveyed 216 HR leaders in North America. He compared responses from organizations that rated themselves highly effective in performance management against others.

Surprisingly, 80% of respondents believed their programs were effective. However, deeper analysis revealed stark differences between the top-performing cohort and the rest.

Quality Over Quantity: The Data Dilemma:

One glaring disparity was in the quality of data used for performance management. Lagunas found that organizations with highly effective programs had comprehensive, trustworthy, and actionable data. In contrast, many others lacked confidence in their data, hindering the effectiveness of their programs.

Lagunas emphasized that without reliable data, achieving equitable and accurate performance management becomes nearly impossible.

Understanding Stakeholder Priorities:

A key takeaway was the importance of identifying and prioritizing stakeholders in performance management. Lagunas stressed the need to align program objectives with the needs of employees and managers.

By focusing on empowering those directly involved in performance, organizations could optimize their programs for better outcomes.

AI: Friend or Foe?

Lagunas explored the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in performance management. While some HR leaders were hesitant about AI, Lagunas found that organizations using AI outperformed others.

AI, particularly in handling administrative tasks like summarizing feedback, freed up time for human interaction, enhancing the overall employee experience.

Overcoming Barriers:

Lagunas highlighted organizational barriers such as competing priorities and resistance to change. He advocated for clear stakeholder alignment and recurring feedback loops to drive improvements in performance management.


Kyle Lagunas shed light on the complexities of performance management. By prioritizing data quality, stakeholder alignment, and leveraging AI, organizations can unlock the full potential of their performance management programs. His insights offer a roadmap for HR leaders navigating the ever-evolving landscape of talent management.

Official Transcript

McKinsey emphasizes that effective performance management can turn organizations into formidable competitive entities. For example, much of GE's successful transformation during former CEO Jack Welch's tenure was credited to his skill in aligning the company's 250,000 employees towards common goals and maximizing their individual capabilities.

Today, there is still more research to be done on what makes performance management effective. Luckily, our guest today is the Head of Strategy and Principal Analyst at Aptitude Research. Kyle Lagunas is here to share his latest research after he noticed there was a disconnect between how effective HR leaders perceived their performance management programs to be versus the actual impact they were having.

Lagunas has spent over a decade studying innovation cycles in HR and talent technology—with leadership roles in both the solution provider and practitioner space. He’s a transformational talent leader, top industry analyst, and no-nonsense strategist with a reputation for bringing a fresh perspective to the table.

Kyle, welcome to the show.

Kyle Lagunas: Oh my gosh, I'm so excited to be here.

Felicia Shakiba: I'm so excited to have you. It's been a while.

Kyle Lagunas: It's been too long.

Kyle, what prompted your investigation into the effectiveness of performance management?

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