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As with any element crucial to organizational success, performance management comes with its challenges. One particular aspect impacts the performance management scene now more so than in the past: The huge shift in the way companies approach it and see it through.
What used to be an annual check-in has now become a meaningful, ongoing experience between managers and team members. After defining performance management and how to optimize it, it is also interesting to understand how the goals and concepts that outline performance management have changed in the past decade.
So what are the differences?
From Competition to Cultivation
In the past, performance management would look like this:
Managers would hold yearly meetings to look over a select few figures and promptly rate rank an employee’s performance. The employee would walk away from the conversation with a numerical rating and ranking.
If it was good enough, the interviewee would stay another year on the job.
if it wasn’t, he or she were likely to lose their job without too much of an afterthought.
In this work environment, management was seen as indispensable, while employees were viewed as the opposite. This perspective stems from the classical management style, that reigned supreme throughout the industrial era. Managers were led to think of employees like cogs in a machine; those who were slower and less effective needed to be moved and replaced.
This environment, paired with black and white, numerical ratings ,led to a performance management system based on competition more than anything else.
These days, organizations have changed their perspective; industry has shifted away from placing such exclusive importance on internal competition, and now see career-cultivation as a major aspect requiring attention and prioritizing. In the past managers‘ roles used to come with a great sense of security. Today, the same is true in regards to everyday employees, whom (justifiably) feel their role is just as, if not more, valuable to a company.
Why is this? In today’s knowledge-driven economy, replacing employees is not so easy. The process of recruiting, training and bringing an employee to a desired level of productivity is increasingly costly. Thus, the modern goal of performance management practices is to monitor and highlight areas of progress and needed-improvement to cultivate employees’ careers and help them reach greater potential. You can imagine how much time and effort goes into this sophisticated approach towards performance management. When leaders invest so much in to each employee’s progress, each team member becomes less easily replaceable.
From Annual Check-up to the Era of Continuous Coaching
Annual reviews may have been sufficient for an organization’s purposes in the early days of performance management. Back then, leaders were driven by an inner-dialogue that went something like this:
‘Are the employees performing efficiently? If not, they will be replaced by someone who will fulfill our needs’.
That is no longer the case today. Can you imagine if companies like Google, Amazon and eBay managed their teams like this today? Not only would those companies be completely unrecognizable at this point, they may not have seen any real success in the first place. Their progress and ability to scale could be credited to how they approached building an internal team; members of these teams enjoy and grow in their job to a point where they are self-motivated, commonly resulting in them sticking around at the company. A few decades ago it would have been safe to assume employees were easily replaceable, and, in most cases, there was likely a line of people waiting to fill the position right away.
Now, with each role requiring so much practical training and knowledge – not just in a given industry, but in the individual company as well – it is no longer a wise economic-choice to replace personnel as frequently.
This employee-first mindset is what modern performance management systems are all about. Employees equate satisfaction in the workplace with the ability to grow and improve in their roles. This growth takes place based on ongoing performance ‘reviews’, or rather an employee’s ability to keep a close-eye on his or her daily progress and areas of improvement. Although an ongoing approach to performance management can seem daunting, technology has made it not only possible, but easy to understand and simple to execute. These platforms allow managers and employees to have eyes on the same dashboard showcasing a given person’s progress. Ongoing performance management isn’t scary or overwhelming when we team up with technology to make instantaneous, real-time feedback the everyday norm in our organizations.
Things Are Looking Up…and Data-Driven
Prior to the 2008 recession, companies were driven by efficient, effective business execution. Teams were important, but the focus was still on managers as the primary clients and owners of performance-data and performance management activities. Now, we live in a different time, when companies approach the issue of their own success in highly different ways. The industry is taking a leap forward from manual performance reviews toward transparent, data-driven, real- time updates supplemented by automation. Today, employees are much more involved in the process and are granted a far clearer picture regarding the effect their activities have on driving the bottom line and creating measurable efficiency gains.
As we allow these modern ideas and goals to become part of our business model, we will see more motivated employees; the kind that are a far more in tune with their daily progress and areas of development. This is the new- generation workforce that will lead its companies towards the future.
Gameffective is an Employee-Centric Performance Management Platform – the “fitness tracker” for the Connected Workforce of the Future. Gameffective empowers employees to boost their work performance through hyper-personalised goals, real time tracking and data-driven feedback and coaching. Deployed with the world’s leading organizations Gameffective helps managers drive up employee value day by day. To find out how Gameffective can help transform your organization go to www.gameffective.com or book a live demo.