by Susan Jeffery
11 Jun 2019
5 Easily Adoptable Trends in Performance Management
Today’s workforce has become more dynamic and globalized than ever, but have your performance management strategies caught up to reflect this? Check out these five simple talent management trends that can help you streamline your performance initiatives:1
Reduce or Eliminate Documentation
Many organizations are realizing that their performance management initiatives are too focused on documentation and under-emphasize the simple art of talking to employees. Additionally, a significant amount of the documentation doesn’t always support the next steps that stakeholders wish to take with employees. Employees are left feeling unappreciated by their companies when the effort they put into their work is reduced to a pile of administrative notes. This lowers engagement and retention rates – the very things performance management was designed to increase. Adobe, Gap Inc., and Microsoft are just a few of the many industry leading companies that have already gone down the path of eliminating annual performance reviews.2
Focus Less on Evaluation, More on Coaching and Development
Since evaluations don’t provide much value to employees or companies, what can stakeholders do? To see true performance management gains, provide your team with opportunities to learn new skills and relevant information to help increase productivity. Organizations can also create continual opportunities to have two-way conversations about performance. They can also make performance management an ongoing initiative with as needed course corrections, rather than waiting until the end of the year to let employees know if they did a good job. Accomplish this by moving towards regular check-ins, and stepping away from yearly (or even semi-yearly) evaluation sessions. The result is a transformative environment where managers aren’t seen as the judge and jury, but more like motivators who can create a positive, growth-oriented work experience.
Emphasize Rewarding Exceptional Performance and Simplification
All too frequently, stakeholders spend days or weeks wrestling over performance management decisions that end up not leading to any tangible growth for employees. Instead of burning the midnight oil, simplify things! Many companies are stopping the weighting of goals (and cutting down the number of them). Some are even reducing the number of ratings, or eliminating them altogether. Complement the simplification of procedures with rewarding your outstanding performers, showing your team how much you value their hard work, and increasing transparency about your culture of fair pay.
Move Toward Guidance vs. Guidelines
The changes highlighted above are enabling managers to remove the stringent guidelines found in their performance management strategies and shift towards simply providing guidance. This helps them make more effective, impactful compensation decisions for their employees. The whole process relies more on a manager’s judgment, rather than on a formula. For example, an organization could decide to eliminate ratings altogether, but let managers pay high performers in accordance with the company’s beliefs on rewarding their superstars. This greatly reduces managers getting bogged down in paperwork, yet also inspires employees to be more productive.
Introduce Social Technologies
A final trend is to incorporate social technologies into the workplace to help automate performance management. With these tools, employees can communicate with each other, provide input, give feedback, and even share progress on their goals, all in a newsfeed style public forum. This helps companies get another piece of the performance puzzle – comments about employees can be culled at any time to help managers get a 360 degree view of their direct reports. Comments about peers also tend to be more organic and natural than ones provided within the context of a performance review. Social technologies do more than give managers a view into employee performance. They also increase productivity by 20-25% among high-skill knowledge workers and managers.3
Summary Traditional performance management strategies often alienate employees, inhibit growth, occur too infrequently, and produce a nightmare of paperwork. These new trends enable managers to create a more honest, open, and free-flowing approach to performance management. Without being constrained by documentation and ratings, managers can help employees achieve growth through conversations, unbiased peer reviews, and a pay-for-performance culture. The result leads to higher engagement and greater productivity because companies have unlocked the full potential of their best assets – their employees.
1. Edie Goldberg. “Building a Cycle of Engagement and Development with Re-Calibrated Performance Management” webinar. HCI, Sept. 30, 2015 http://www.hci.org/lib/building-cycle-engagement-and-development-re-calibrated-performance-management
2. Cunningham, Lillian, and Jena McGregor. “More U.S. companies moving away from traditional performance reviews.” The Washington Post. Date published: Aug. 17, 2015. Date accessed: Nov. 18, 2015. https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/more-us-companies-moving-away-from-traditional-performance-reviews/2015/08/17/d4e716d0-4508-11e5-846d-02792f854297_story.html?utm_term=.9c41177e2bfc
3. Chui, Michael, et al. “Insights and Publications.” McKinsey.com. Date published: July 2012. Date accessed: Nov. 10, 2015. http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/high_tech_ telecoms_internet/the_social_economy