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The moment a company grows beyond a few people it becomes a victim of its own success. Alignment becomes difficult, teams start having conflicting goals and targets start moving around so often staying focused can cause your eyes to hurt. It’s no surprise that over 79% of executives today state that building and redesigning their performance management processes is one of their top priorities. However, before we start redesigning things let’s first properly define what performance management is and what it entails; you will be surprised how dynamic the definition can be.
True to its name, performance management is a process aimed at promoting and developing employee effectiveness while keeping all facets of a company charging up the same path. It does this by driving a continuous dialogue between employees and managers about goals, work status and performance. When done well, its impact on an organization can be tremendous; streamlining everyday routines and bolstering employee engagement and productivity. At Adobe, for example, restructuring performance management processes has driven a 30% reduction in voluntarily employee turnover.
So how do you get there?
The Times They Are a Changin’
Performance management’s reputation has taken a positive turn over the past few decades. The early days saw a focus on periodic performance reviews and assessments centered on fault finding; following this would usually be reporting aimed at cramming all employees into a standardized rating scheme, in order to decide who to get rid of. Since then, the industry has experienced a semi-seismic shift, transitioning slowly to growth-driven models centered on driving employee development, engagement and providing continuous feedback and coaching.
Today, management teams work to build up workforce engagement and harness team members’ skills to maximize performance. This is done through defining (and redefining goals), monitoring progress towards them and ,finally, coaching employees and supporting them with relevant feedback to ensure they are fully capable and equipped to achieve their goals.
Gone are the days of rigorous performance appraisals and the dreaded annual reviews. These have been replaced by personalized goals, adapted and re-assessed through frequent check-ins and continuous feedback rooted in real and transparent data. the increase in check-in frequency and reliance on multiple sources of data allows managers to course correct quickly. Similarly, timely feedback and access to relevant coaching empowers employees to do what’s expected of them and develop their skills. When employees have a clear view of their goals and performance, the influence on a company’s results can be impressive.
So How Does This Look in the Real World?
When Cellular Sales, Verizon’s premier retailer in the US, wanted to increase its workforce engagement and performance, it implemented a new performance management approach; managers would work with their reports to set personalized goals based on their current performance levels across a wide range of KPIs. Throughout their work day, employees would get access to an app view on their mobile phones that shows them how every activity they engage in, from completing a training session to completing a sale, contributes to achieving their goals. Achievements or lapses in performance trigger automated feedback and updates to managers. During their weekly and periodic reviews, employees and managers assess the data together to fine-tune goals and coach on weaknesses. The results were substantial; for employees engaged in the process, performance in KPIs such as device sales and cross sales was as much as 77% higher than for their peers.
So, What Now?
Whether your company is considering implementing a performance management process, or you are simply refining an existing one, it’s important to clearly outline and define the purpose and plan to everyone involved. The common process will usually include standard elements such as goal setting, defining measurements of success, tracking progress, reviewing performance, providing feedback and finally, stress checking and optimizing the process based on results.
Managing performance is mission critical for every company. When leaders and employees have a clear look into personal and collective progress, organizations ensure greater employee value through better focus, alignment and engagement. In the next article in this series we will explore how some of the best companies in the world are implementing these processes and what tips and tricks we can apply to maximize the impact of our performance management systems.
Gameffective is an Employee Centric Performance Management Platform – the “fitness tracker” for the Connected Workforce of the Future. The platform empowers employees to boost their work performance through hyper personalized goals, real time tracking and data-driven, actionable 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.