Lately there’s been a lot of talk about the death of traditional performance management. Organizations are noticing the growing need for an evolved form of performance management that goes beyond simply conducting an annual review in which feedback can often be stale or irrelevant by the time of the conversation.
Forward-thinking organizations are adopting a method of continuous performance management that recognizes the desire for feedback from their employees, especially those in the youngest generations in the workforce.
Research, such as that found in Teresa Amabile’s book “The Progress Principle,” tells us that it’s essential for employees to work in a place where they feel like they’re progressing and developing. They need opportunities to grow, develop, and progress— otherwise, they will disengage from work.
Immediate and frequent feedback provides employees with a sense of progress and lets them know when they’re on the right path.
Four steps to kickstarting your continuous performance management model
Once you have recognized the need for a shift in performance management within your workplace, then comes the task of implementing it. This can be broken out into four stages.
Communication of Goals and Objectives
This stage is all about planning and creating goals for your employee. For a performance appraisal to work, it needs to be a joint process between both manager and employee. The manager needs to ensure that the employee’s goals are aligned with the business goals of the organization, while the employee needs to ensure personal growth goals through the work they will do for the organization. These goals and objectives will provide a clear and expected output to work towards, and help to structure future conversations surrounding feedback.
Rather than the top-down approach of “these are the goals, make them happen,” the new performance management model invokes the message “let’s sit down and see what we can accomplish together.”
Tracking People Analytics
Once the goals are set, it’s time to put measures in place to track those goals and ensure consistent and comprehensive data. The use of technology, in particular employee survey tools, has seen a rise in popularity and can replace previous methods which were often inefficient and ineffective.
- Pulse surveys. Pulse surveys can allow managers to track what’s happening with their workforce on an almost daily basis. The pulse surveys are usually short, taking only a few minutes to fill out, and they tell the manager what the employee has been struggling with in the past few days and what they’re working on in the next few days.
- Using apps and tech to track progress bars on a daily basis. Using applications to track progress of the employees has been proven more effective than the old way of waiting to track progress. The employees also like to see their progress (bars) because that shows them that their work moves the needle.
Reviewing and Analyzing the Data
Data collected from this process allows managers to uncover insight into their employees and use it to inform both future feedback sessions, as well as decisions about the organization overall. Key steps to this stage are:
- Analyzing data from surveys. We have mentioned doing pulse surveys in the previous point— now is the time to actually use the data from those surveys. You give out a survey to receive valuable data that you can turn into insights that will help you improve the working conditions.
- Conducting regular one-to-ones. As a manager, you will need to have regular one-to-one meetings with your employees, at least twice a month. In a one-to-one meeting, you will go over the goals that you set, see the progress bar, and talk about the obstacles that are on the way of achieving those goals. Not only that, but you can also provide emotional support to the employee in this meeting and ensure that you’re not just their manager, but also their leader.
Reward and Recognize
In a traditional annual performance review model employees have to wait until the end of the year to know if they will be rewarded for their actions and even then, the lack of frequent communication regarding performance often means they are unsure of their performance.
Today, the reward system usually implements smaller rewards for micro successes. It’s better to give out smaller rewards and recognition to your employees to motivate them by ensuring that they stay on the right path instead of them walking in the dark, not knowing if they’re heading in the right direction.
Performance management has changed drastically in the last few years and introspective organizations should consider implementing these four steps to achieve more regular tracking of performance.
For those looking to learn more about performance management and how you can maximize the performance management process in your workplace, you should take a look at an upcoming webinar titled “Empowering, supporting, and connecting: a modern framework for driving performance management success”