(Editor’s Note: Today’s article is sponsored by our friends at Primalogik, a cloud-based performance management solution that provides a flexible way to manage employee reviews, 360-degree feedback, goals, and engagement surveys. Enjoy the read!)
While we’re all focused on staying safe and being well, organizations are reopening and resuming their business operations with those same goals in mind. And they’re trying to figure out what their “new normal” looks like. Especially when it comes to their workforce. Many organizations are facing the challenge of managing a hybrid workforce, with significant percentages of both onsite and remote employees for quite some time.
I saw a remote work survey from PwC that said before COVID-19, about 60% of employees were able to work remotely at least one day a week. Post COVID-19, that number is expected to be around 90%. Even if those percentages are a little bit off, the bottom-line is remote work is on the rise. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It is different, and organizations have to think about updating some of their core employee activities to accommodate this new reality. One of those activities is performance management.
Managing Performance is Evolving
Over the past few years, there’s been an ongoing conversation about performance reviews and the need to update the process. I’ve mentioned before that this only makes sense. Organizations should update their processes to align with the needs of a modern workforce.
That being said, there’s more to performance management than the annual performance review. All the pieces of performance management need to work together to achieve its goal, which is better employee performance. So, even if an organization has recently completed a revamp of the performance review process, it’s possible that they will want to examine performance management again in the context of this new hybrid workplace we’re facing. Here are five performance management activities to consider:
Take performance management online. Some of you might be saying, “Really? Doesn’t everyone have a performance management technology solution?” The answer is “no”.
With managers and employees not always working in the same location, an online option is not only convenient but absolutely necessary. A huge benefit to performance management technology isn’t just accommodating a remote workforce. It also allows for timeliness or performance feedback to happen in real time, which is an essential ingredient to good performance coaching.
Create measurable goals, including stretch goals. While it’s important to talk about the performance that’s already happened, I believe the real value in performance management is goal setting.
Everyone wants goals. Organizations want them because employees with goals help the organization perform better, which allows them to achieve their strategic plans.
Managers want goals for two reasons. 1) It allows them to delegate to the employee confidently. We all know that managers need to be able to effectively delegate to employees, otherwise, they will have to be involved in every process and/or task. This isn’t good for their effectiveness or well-being. 2) If managers aren’t able to delegate, they can’t get themselves or their employees ready for future responsibilities. Because they will always be involved in every little task.
And finally, employees want goals because goal achievement allows them to gain the skills they need to do what they want in their career. Even goals that an employee didn’t “want” or ask for per se can be great for future career development.
Build in a feedback mechanism. This ties into the performance review conversation above. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against formal performance reviews. They have a place in today’s business environment. However, that doesn’t mean managers and employees should only talk once a year.
Managers and employees should have regular feedback sessions. Organizations often call these one-on-one meetings or designated “office hours”. These feedback sessions should involve a two-way dialogue between the manager and employee. Feedback meetings aren’t just where managers talk, mostly about negative stuff, and the employee listens. The feedback should be positive and constructive on both sides and help the employee perform at a higher level.
Allow multi-rater feedback. The feedback mechanism I mentioned in the last item focuses on the manager-employee relationship. Employees can also receive valuable feedback from peers and other stakeholders. Performance management programs should include a way to capture and share this information.
And please note, the reason I’m calling this section “multi-rater” is because at some point, organizations should build into the model a way for employees to do a self-evaluation. While it’s very effective to receive feedback from others, performance management systems “kick it up a notch” when individuals have self-awareness. They gain that ability through feedback and self-development.
Offer training programs for managers (and employees!) Organizations are all over the spectrum in this area. Some organizations are really good at explaining to managers how the performance review process works and how to complete a performance review. Others have absolutely no process in place. And everything in between. Bottom-line: It totally makes sense for managers to understand and embrace the process.
It’s also equally true that employees should understand the process and how to give/receive feedback. This is a critical component of performance management. Performance management processes should be viewed as a partnership. If the employee doesn’t understand the goal or the process, it’s difficult to achieve successful performance.
Modern Performance Management = Modern Workforce
Performance management is a top priority for organizations because employee performance helps organizations achieve their strategic and financial goals. But let’s face it, over the past few months we’ve all been very forgiving where performance is concerned. I’m sure there have been moments when we’ve all let something slide because of the unprecedented times that we’re experiencing.
Today, I’m here to dish out some tough love. The idea of “letting performance slide” isn’t going to last forever. Employee performance is important and talking about it needs to happen. That means performance management systems need to be modernized to align with our new workplace realities.
If you want to learn more about aligning your performance management process with business strategies, check out Primalogik’s latest ebook, “Essential Performance Management Solutions for Today’s HR”. It’s a great read on the tools that organizations need to keep their performance management aligned with the business.13