Finance and HR should focus on creating the right conditions for performance to thrive rather than micromanaging employees and their development, a leading management expert has said.

Bjarte Bogsnes, the VP of performance management development at Norwegian oil giant Statoil, told HR magazine that HR and finance were often “living an illusion” because it is “as difficult for finance to manage performance as it is for HR to develop people”. “They both think that unless they exist and unless they manage there would be no performance and people would not be developed,” said Bogsnes.

“Both finance and HR should retreat from this belief that unless we manage nothing would happen. There should be more focus on creating the conditions for good performance to take place.”

Bogsnes advocates a form of management that empowers frontline employees and removes restrictive budgeting. Statoil has abolished traditional budgets and calendar-based management in favour of more decentralised and agile human processes.

You need to be more agile; when it comes to decision-making, not everything can be decided at the top,” Bogsnes said.

“You need to devolve decision-making to frontline teams because they often have better information and need faster information. If you need to run nine floors up for every decision then it might be too late.”

The example Bogsnes cited is the difference between a traffic light-style of management versus a roundabout. In the traffic light style of management, employees are instructed when to drive and when not to, which means by the time the lights turn green information can be dated.

Whereas in a roundabout style, employees have access to fresh information and the authority to act on that information to determine when they can drive, fostering employee empowerment and agility.

“The roundabout is more self-regulating and we need more self-regulating management models where finance and HR focus more on the conditions for performance to take place,” he said.

Bogsnes will be speaking at the ArtOF.HR conference in Dubrovnik, Croatia, which runs between 13-16 of November.

HR magazine is offering a complimentary pass to the conference. To qualify, take part in the Art of HR survey, exclusive research that will appear in the October issue of HR magazine.