What does modern performance management look like?

By on November 4, 2020

Are traditional approaches to performance management actually driving performance improvements in today’s employee-centred corporate world?

From annual appraisals to onerous end-of-year reviews (attempting to summarise real-life working into numeric ratings), these time-honored practices are no longer relevant for many companies.

In this post, you’ll learn why these legacy practices fail and how you can excel in today’s collaborative, fast-paced and change-driven world of work.

Traditional performance management is on its way out!

Donna Morris, Adobe’s Chief HR Officer until February 2020, announced plans to “abolish the performance review” format and it triggered a dramatic increase in the company’s productivity.

After gathering feedback across the entire company, and creating multiple iterations to replace their long-standing appraisal approach, they introduced a process of continuous check-ins: frequent and concise quarterly sit-downs throughout the year.

Replacing the annual performance review with check-ins created an informal, ongoing dialogue between managers and staff that to this day, underpins Adobe’s performance management approach.

Inspired by Adobe’s success, Accenture, a tech giant with over 300,000 employees at the time, also dropped the annual review and numeric rating process to humanize performance management.  The company now follows a more flexible system that delivers ongoing feedback after assignments are completed.

It’s clear that our performance management culture has changed. But what does effective performance management look like today, and where should smart-thinking organizations start?

3 Steps To Meeting Modern Performance Management Needs

In a fast-changing world, annual feedback limits interactions between management and staff – which can leave little opportunity to adjust behaviour throughout the year.

In addition, reviews are also more susceptible to bias because they are based on a single phase of performance rather than an employee’s average output during the year.

A year-long wait between reviewing employee goals and corporate objectives also makes staying motivated an uphill battle for both management and staff.

These issues slow down your organization. Especially when you consider that the modern employee now expects more autonomy, purpose, a clear path to skills mastery, and prefers receiving feedback on a weekly or even daily basis.

To ensure that your performance management process is up to date and efficient enough to boost workplace performance, lead with these 3 important changes:

  1. Adopt frequent check-ins and feedback

Continuous check-ins allow employees to get ongoing, timely feedback on their performance.

This avoids the dreaded scenario of being blindsided by negative reviews at the end of the year. At the same time, managers are also better equipped to nip performance issues in the bud without letting employees veer off course for months on end.

Start with check-ins, as they will set the foundation you need to measure, motivate, and drive workplace performance.

  1. Use Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) to set goals

Unlike traditional goal-setting, which often uses vague goals that are hard to monitor, OKRs track progress by focusing on the overall objectives and necessary results behind every goal.

These goals act as a compass for every check-in and align the goals of the organization and employees. The end result is that employees know what to work towards and how their success is measured, and managers know how to track and reward performance.

Goals

  1. Avoid bias with 360 feedback.

A manager’s measure of performance is often subjective and influenced by many things; a direct/indirect line of reporting, the nature of work completed, and how outgoing an employee is, all influence a manager’s final decision.

To avoid falling prey to this type of bias, make your appraisals more objective and richer with 360 feedback. 360 feedback supports or compares manager/stakeholder feedback with input from an employee’s colleagues to give accurate insight into an employee’s expertise, performance and behaviour.

Support Modern Or Traditional Performance Management

The practices above ensure that managers can measure and motivate performance while meeting the needs of their organisation in a fast-changing world.

Whether you’re looking to support traditional management practices or transition to a more modern approach, Totara Perform can help.

The agile performance management system offers an all-in-one solution for continuous check-ins, 360 feedback, performance reviews, competencies, goal-setting and more.


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