Effective performance management has its challenges: conflicting needs of the stakeholders in the process; little connection between performance review meetings and everyday working life; ambiguous or poorly defined objectives; inability to track or monitor progress of objectives.
Some of these can be met with defined processes and strong internal communications. Others require the support of a robust talent management system. At Head Light, we see the following as essential steps to take to address these challenges:
#1 Change your view of performance management – seeing it as ‘on-going review’ – not a ‘one-off annual meeting’
All too often performance review is a tick-box exercise not least as it seems to happen once a year. Introduce regular 1:1 meetings where objectives and progress are discussed and performance review will start to become integrated into monthly activity.
#2 Role model great performance review from the top
Think carefully. Do you have 'champions' at senior levels, or role models who are known to have really good performance conversations with their direct reports? It is very difficult to get the rest of the organisation to follow if senior management are not leading by example.
#3 Link individual objectives to those of the organisation
Sounds obvious, but making that clear link between individual or team objectives and the goals of the organisation leads to a clearer understanding of role and purpose – and a sharing of the organisational objectives.
#4 Focus on improving the quality of performance conversations - not on reducing time spent!
Alongside your 'process', you could also be thinking about the quality of conversations that happen around performance. Addressing skills gaps is a key step in improving the impact of any process. Appraisals often fail to have the desired impact because managers - understandably - find it difficult to give effective, honest and constructive feedback.
Think about developing in-house, culturally-appropriate workshops which can help line managers build their self-awareness, explore the difficulties around performance management and give them some tools and frameworks to help them hold those critical conversations can reap benefits. It is also worth considering offering training or support to individuals to develop their skills in constructive challenge, managing upwards and critically evaluating their own performance can increase the frequency of important conversations.
#5 Invest in a continuous performance management system which supports you now and in the future
Take a look at the online system you give your managers and team members to use.
- encourage gathering and recording progress against objectives as things happens – rather than relying on memory and recollection when it comes to the performance appraisal meeting?
- support a feedback-friendly performance culture being it being straightforward to get feedback from anyone at any time?
- provide an holistic view of the organisation so that the HR and Senior Management teams can get a consolidated view of performance looking at low or overdue goal alignment, performance rating anomalies, and consolidated training and development needs?
- monitor the process of performance management through dashboards and reminders to help to keep the process on-track?
- allow for team objectives to be created and the team to then collaborate and stay up-to-date on the progress of these shared objectives?
- align performance objectives of the individual to those of the business?
- link with 360 degree feedback information?
- link with career plans of the individual and succession plans of the organisation?
- allow for flexibility and customisation?
You won’t be surprised that Talent Performance does all this - and more.
Find out more how to transition to continuous performance management