This is a guest post from Stuart Hearn, who holds views very similar to mine on performance management. I happy to know that a new approach to performance management it taking hold.
Outdated performance management processes are coming under fire for being inefficient, hugely time consuming and for not adding any real value. Employees don’t like them, managers don’t like them, and HR professionals definitely don’t like them. But new performance management trends are shaking up HR by making processes less admin-heavy and much more efficient. Here’s how they’re doing it.
Aligning SMART Objectives with Company Goals
Anyone working in performance related HR will be familiar with the concept of SMART objectives — an acronym used to set goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Quite often though, objective setting comes from the top down: a lengthy, trickle-down process which requires superiors to set goals first. A more effective way of planning goals advocated by leading management thinkers such as the CEB is to share organisational goals with employees and have them set their own goals relative to these.
Regular Check-In Meetings
Top companies including Adobe, Microsoft, Accenture and Deloitte are all moving away from annual review meetings — some are even scrapping them altogether — in favour of regular check-ins between managers and employees. These one-to-one meetings allow managers to regularly keep track of progress and personal development plans to be constantly updated in line with this. For HR, a change to continuous performance monitoring involves preparing both employees and managers for the change, which means time spent communicating and predicting how it will affect them.
Along with regular meetings, new performance management trends are also advocating that managers and colleagues give feedback in a more timely way. This process has been shown to be more effective than once a year feedback sessions, so long as the feedback is the right ratio of positive to constructive (around 3:1 is ideal). General Electric have got on board with this approach and now use a feedback app where managers and colleagues can record feedback online at any time.
Performance management experts recommend running pay reviews and performance reviews seperately. Having pay directly tied to performance has been shown to have a negative impact on both staff motivation and performance. As well as performance, pay reviews should be taking into account other factors including market rate, increases in responsibility, and skills and knowledge.
Simplification through Software
Perhaps the biggest trend to impact HR is the simplification of the performance management process. Paper based performance management is the stuff HR nightmares are made of. Before performance management software, HR teams spent weeks analysing data in order to determine what actions needed to be taken. Now, HR are able to use performance management software to collate data on the training and development needs of the whole organisation by running a report that takes just seconds to complete.
About the Author: Stuart Hearn is a performance management specialist who has been working in the HR sector for over 20 years. He currently runs Clear Review, an innovative performance management software system.