Reimagining the HR Playbook: ‘Make Work Better’ Proposes a New Approach to Performance

HR veterans explain post-pandemic shift from performance management to performance enablement

MENLO PARK, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Organizations that insist on following traditional performance management practices may go the way of Borders Books, which lost business to Amazon. Borders declared bankruptcy in 2011 after failing to respond quickly to the changes in Internet shopping. Expectations around the fundamental nature of work are being challenged due to a rapidly changing environment — and HR practices must keep up. Make Work Better, a new book co-authored by Betterworks CEO Doug Dennerline and VP of HR Transformation Jamie Aitken, explains why and how HR practices continue to fail when it comes to performance management and the prescription for success. It serves as a playbook for enabling higher performance with happier and more productive employees that yields better business outcomes.

Betterworks is the leader in modern enterprise performance management solutions.

“Jamie and I are thrilled to finally share the culmination of our own career lessons,” Dennerline said. “I’ve been lucky to oversee large teams who use HR software to support performance management, as well as lead two companies that develop Performance Management software. Jamie, a 25-year practitioner of Talent Management, also has many years of helping companies of all sizes transform their performance processes to meet the needs of today’s workforce.”

Although the balance of power has seemingly shifted back to employers as the economy slows down, we continue to see an epidemic of disengagement among employees. The expectations of work are being challenged by employees, and when employers do not pay attention, they witness a workforce that is overworked and stressed — resulting in disengagement and resignations.

“We hope this book inspires, informs and empowers HR leaders and CEOs to lead the transformation necessary that will make work better for everyone,” said Aitken. “There is no time like today to lean into the possibilities of change when it comes to performance management.”

Make Work Better explains how to empower employees and raise their level of happiness so they can accomplish more and achieve better results. The book shows business and HR leaders and middle managers the modern path to better employee performance, amplified engagement and culture and more empowered people.

Make Work Better readers will learn how to:

  • Make goals and objectives and key results (OKRs) more useful, more often for everyone
  • Eliminate ratings and implement a promotion process that reflects reality and retains employees
  • Make recognition count and create formal development paths for high performers
  • Use data to make the right people decisions and eliminate bias
  • Structure your organization to maximize the impact of HR and people operations

The book’s introduction was written by Josh Bersin, founder and CEO of the Josh Bersin Academy and The Josh Bersin Company. He is also the author of Irresistible: The Seven Secrets of the World’s Most Enduring, Employee-Focused Organizations. The book also features front-line insights from adopters of the process at Intuit, Pepsico and other leading organizations.

Make Work Better co-authors spearhead the shift to performance enablement

Betterworks CEO Doug Dennerline has been working in Silicon Valley since 1982. After starting his career at HP selling the first PC, he spent 12 years at 3Com and 12 years at Cisco, massively scaling both companies. He eventually became the CEO of Webex by Cisco and has been running SaaS companies ever since, including SuccessFactors, where he served as president, moving performance management process to the cloud. SuccessFactors was ultimately acquired by SAP.

During his career, Dennerline has worked for many famous leaders, including Marc Benioff, John Chambers, and Lars Delgaard, and learned many lessons about what it takes to grow and scale high-performing teams. Notably, Dennerline and his team have spent years inventing a process that has a real impact on engagement, retention and positive outcomes for companies brave enough to affect HR transformation.

As VP of HR Transformation at Betterworks, Aitken helps organizations reimagine the way employee performance is managed, with proven systems and processes that work. She has more than 25 years of HR leadership experience, spearheading organizational development, HR transformation and employee engagement strategies that boost business performance.

Her work as a consultancy and an in-house HR practitioner spans the spectrum of human capital practices and multiple industries. Aitken has a deep understanding of talent management strategies and principles and has implemented global talent strategies for public and privately held national and global organizations. Her experience in business transformation includes work for several large enterprises, supporting fundamental change with her background in executive coaching, change management, and employee experience strategies.

Both Aitken and Dennerline agree that when HR professionals and CEOs work together, they have a unique opportunity to fundamentally shift how work is done.

Make Work Better availability

The Kindle/ebook edition and the hard copy are both available May 23 at all major retailers, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Bam! Books-a-Million, Porchlight, and

About Betterworks

Founded in 2013, Betterworks develops best-in-class performance management solutions that enable exceptional results and put employee experience at the heart of how companies align, motivate, retain, and develop their people. Unlike monolithic legacy HR technology, Betterworks’ lightweight and enterprise-ready SaaS solutions for check-ins, feedback, employee engagement, and recognition are built to scale for businesses of all sizes. Our customers’ employees are proven more engaged and satisfied in their roles, which is why industry leaders like Colgate-Palmolive, Intuit, Freddie Mac, Asurion, Udemy, Vertiv, HCSC, and the University of Phoenix rely on Betterworks to manage and enable performance. Betterworks is backed by Kleiner Perkins, Emergence Capital, and John Doerr.


Carole Barrow

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