By Natanya Rutstein
A 2019 Gartner Performance Management Benchmarking Survey revealed that a vast majority of HR leaders (84%) are working to fix their performance management systems. This leaves little doubt that traditional performance management, as we know it, is failing to deliver what most organisations expect from it– performance improvement!
If, as discussed in my previous blog, the annual performance review is here to stay, the question then begs,” What should we be doing to improve our performance management systems and processes?”
Here are some tips on how to get started:
1. Minimise form completion and bureaucracy
Over the past decade, performance management has become increasingly complicated as organisations focused on measuring performance and linking it to pay. With an increasing focus on creating a positive employee experience, organisations are paying more attention to simplifying workplace processes to enhance employee performance and engagement and ultimately improve the employee experience. A simple and easy to understand automated performance management process is a great place to start.
2. Nurture a culture of continuous feedback and coaching
Many leading companies are revamping the annual evaluation cycle by supplementing it with ongoing feedback and coaching. Regular check-ins or brief 1:1 meetings, provide a structure for meaningful performance conversations between manager and employee. Feedback on performance is shared timeously and provides the foundation for a much more constructive conversation around performance progress against agreed objectives as well as developmental actions and necessary coaching.
Regular check-ins bridge the gap between between reviews and prevent a big build up to a single, stressful discussion that requires much more effort. As a result, there are no surprises for the employee as the feedback given in the formal review will merely be a summary of performance over the entire performance period. Reviews which are consistent with what the employee has heard all year can be very affirming and motivating.
3. Provide performance coaching training to managers
Providing experiential training for managers in everyday coaching and feedback skills is essential for successful performance management. Managers are more often than not accustomed to putting on their feedback/coaching hats only once or twice a year.
4. Separate the conversations
Most performance reviews are trying to do too many things in a single conversation – provide developmental feedback, make promotional decisions, determine annual bonus AND manage poor performance. Start by separating these topics into different conversations.
5. Regular and flexible goal setting and review
A static process of annual goal setting and review no longer makes sense in today’s rapidly changing workplace. Just as an organization’s strategic goals adapt to changing market conditions, so should the goals of individual employees. Goals should be set at the beginning of the performance cycle and regularly reviewed and adjusted when necessary.
Improving your organisations performance management process does not have to be an overwhelming and costly undertaking. By gradually implementing certain best practice changes, your organisation can reap the rewards of a motivated and engaged workforce ready to give it their all in achieving their goals and committed to continuous self-improvement and development.