In January of 2019, Meghan M. Biro hosted a Reflektive webinar focused on the major trends driving performance management in the coming year. A nationally recognized HR and technology analyst, Biro is the founder of TalentCulture and the host of the twitter chat and podcast #Worktrends. She regularly writes for Forbes, Entrepreneur, and The Huffington Post.
Biro outlined five trends she predicts will shape performance management in 2019. They include:
- Check-ins and increased communication
- Employee driven self-service tools
- People-centered analytics
- Polls and surveys
- Technology that makes people the cornerstone of performance management systems
The current state of performance management
Deloitte’s 2107 Global Human Capital Trends study reveals some telling statistics about performance management:
- Over 70 percent of companies surveyed are in the process of changing their performance management processes.
- 83 percent of companies report new performance management processes improve the quality and frequency of conversations between employees and management.
- 93 percent of survey respondents report modern performance management solutions are simpler and less bureaucratic.
Traditional performance management, characterized by formal performance reviews, isseen as archaic by managers and employees alike, who increasingly expect a digital culture that facilitates frequent check ins and instant feedback.
As Biro notes, modern performance management transforms culture “from a noun to a verb” by granting employees increased autonomy and supporting relationship building at all levels of an organization.
While many companies continue to rely on formal performance reviews, it’s increasingly apparent employees find such reviews ineffective and anxiety inducing:
- 61 percent of employees feel their company’s performance review process is outdated, generic, infrequent, or incomplete.
- Over 50 percent of office professionals want monthly performance check-ins.
- 94 percent of employees would prefer managers address mistakes and development opportunities in real time.
In addition, almost 50 percent of employees feel uncomfortable raising issues with their managers between formal performance reviews, allowing problems to fester for months or losing valuable windows of opportunity.
Check-ins are the opposite of top-down performance reviews, increasing communication with an organization. Check-ins focuses on development, alignement, growth, and dialog instead of corrections, rankings, and managerial judgement (whether real or perceived).
With check-ins Managers have the opportunity to track projects, deal with roadblocks, provide in-the-moment coaching, and collaborate with employees. Employees, for their part, appreciate the informal, honest approach characteristic of check-ins, which provide opportunities to collaborate with managers without the artificiality of performance reviews.
Employee driven and self-service tools
Access to employee-focused self-service tools is expected by today’s workforce. Such tools benefit both employees and managers.
An employee self-service tool should, ideally, offer a simple dashboard through which the employee accesses all data relevant to his or her job and position. Self-service tools should be usable on mobile devices, and allow employees to take steps such as:\
- Request time off
- Submit expense reimbursements
- Check vacation and sick days
- Receive information on health and retirement benefits
- Request meetings and feedback
- Check employee directors
- Access online training
- Review procedural steps
- Read company newsletters
The increased use of chatbots makes it possible for employees to gain quick answers to questions that would otherwise create busy work for HR and managers, who can instead focus on more complicated issues.
From a managerial viewpoint, employee-driven tools bring multiple benefits, including:
- Reducing repetitive, time consuming questions
- Freeing up time and energy to focus on larger issues
- Offering a team-based environment
- Empowering employees to manage needs and perform independently
When integrated into employee workflow and aligned with company values, self-service tools foster a strong culture and people-centric environment. A focus on employee driven processes greatly improves your employer brand in today’s transparent job market, making it easier to attract new talent. Put bluntly, if you don’t provide employee driven options, your workforce will find employers who will.
Polls and surveys
Polls and surveys allow managers to quickly gauge overall employee sentiment and receive feedback. Employees who may be reticent about expressing concerns and criticism directly to managers are more likely to do so through anonymous polling. The responses from polls can be used to direct and drive strategy if the right questions are asked at the right time.
Respect your employees’ limited time and energy when creating polls. Short surveys with a few questions are more likely to see responses than long, complicated polls that cut into work time.
By acting on the information gathered from polls, managers create a transparent, collaborative workplace culture in which employees know their opinions are valued.
Performance management and data analytics
Employee data can be leveraged well beyond HR administration into strategic talent decision making. With check-ins, employee driven processes, and the results from polls and surveys, performance management systems can create predictive pictures based on data, while also:
- Optimizing human capital by positioning people in the best places to perform.
- Reviewing employee and project progress over time.
- Determining employee engagement.
- Calculating what percentage of projects are completed on time.
- Identify which employees perform above or below expectations.
- Identifying which employees use check-ins, and which seem reluctant to do so.
- Predicting who is most likely to stay in their current positions based on performance, and who is most likely to leave.
- Showing where bottlenecks occur in workflow.
- Identifying departments with the highest attrition rates.
When the right questions are asked, human capital data reveals the strength of your corporate culture while improving recruitment and retention rates.
Performance management technology
The four trends above require the right technology. Even check-ins benefit from a communication hub for scheduling meetings and recording discussions, especially when dealing with global offices, remote teams, and off-site contractors.
Performance management technology improves the employee experience at every point of contact and throughout the employee lifespan. It frees managers from administrative busy work so they can focus on coaching, developing, and leading.
Unlike traditional “job-based” career paths, the focus of performance management is the empowerment of employees and management alike, allowing individuals to explore new roles, learn new skills, and continuously reinvent themselves. Performance management acknowledges your people are your most important resource, and that building relationships creates the powerful, integrated workplace culture needed for success.
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