Reimagining Performance Management: The New Talk Of The HR Town

Reimagining Performance Management: The New Talk Of The HR Town

Being in HR, one cannot escape the ‘talk of the town’. With the HR community buzzing on the latest of the Great Resignation and the controversies of Quiet Quitting, reimagining Performance Management is the hot gossip everyone is trying to get their hands on.

Performance Management has evolved with time, but right now it has taken a leap that can be detrimental to many organizations and their survival.

Over the past few years, organizations have been talking about reinventing performance management, especially with the new ways of working since the pandemic, particularly the rise of hybrid work models and the desire for employees to be seen as people, not just workers or mere assets.

 The corporate world has started to question. Are yearly performance evaluations important or necessary? Isn’t it sufficient that the manager and subordinate better understand the work done and the contribution to the organization? Do performance evaluations capture all necessary aspects of the modern corporate world? 

Now than ever before is a critical moment to rethink the purpose and value of performance management programs. It can be said that leaders and managers will have to go beyond just measuring employees’ outcomes and goals achieved and give weightage to the context in which employees’ outcomes are achieved: their personal goals, work-life balance, the circumstances in which they work, the teams and projects to which they belong and the type of work they complete. 

Reimaging performance management is not as simple as it sounds. While many have tried, many have failed and only a hand full succeed.

In March 2020, Facebook announced that it would be giving all 45,000 employees the same, ”exceeds expectations” performance review rating for the first two quarters. Some companies cancelled their next review cycle altogether. Others scrambled to explain last-minute changes to their performance measures and reward allocations.

So, what makes a Performance Management strategy work in the present context? Here are a few attributes spotted in common with the ones that showed positive results.

  • Empathy incorporated Performance Ratings

HR professionals need to involve employees in the designs of empathetic performance ratings, which would include learning new skills, focusing outside of work, and prioritizing wellness goals.

  • The use of instant gratification to bring out open communication

Instant gratification doesn’t always mean rewarding your team with monetary benefits and recognition. Open communication and feedback go a long way too.  This includes providing real-time feedback whenever possible, holding face-to-face meetings with your team, breaking down long-term goals into smaller goals, and continuously monitoring work goals. Let’s face it, no one likes to be left in the dark.

  • PM systems with consistent employee rewards and recognitions

Who doesn’t like to be recognized and appreciated? Appreciation and recognition are very important to keep your employees inspired and to drive productivity, after all the basis of this evolution is to appreciate your team as people and not just as an asset that gives you a return on investment. A performance management system that doesn’t include recognition and rewards for employee performance tends to fail more easily. It is important to keep track of employee performance and appreciate their good work.

Everyone makes changes to their Performance Management strategies thinking they could achieve the desired outcome, but where does it fail?

  • Unstructured Performance Management Processes.

One reason why performance management fails is that the process lacks structure. It is not a one-time process but whereas a process that needs to be evaluated and corrected constantly. Unfortunately, it is not possible to see positive results if you don’t have a well-designed structure for performance management. The main reason behind having a performance management process in an organization is to improve the overall performance of the employees in the organization and employee behavior is volatile.

So, a well-structured performance management system helps the employees understand the organizational strategies better and work towards achieving their goals with more motivation.

  • Wrong selection of employee goals

In many organizations, employee goals are not in the picture when the performance review process is on. Sometimes performance management also fails because wrong goals are chosen to optimize the performance of the employees. In short, goals are important to keep employees motivated and perform better.

  • Having only an Annual Performance Evaluation is unsuccessful

Annual Performance Evaluations are a thing of the past. The present generation does not wait for one entire year to be recognized and heard.

Performance evaluation is valuable only when done on a regular basis. An annual performance review is not enough for any organization. Some managers claim that it consumes a major portion of their time but in a practical scenario, if the evaluation is done constantly this wouldn’t take much time as it would be broken down into smaller chunks.

Also let’s face it, close to annual evaluations, the entire team is rushing and kicking their brains to remember every single thing they have done in the past year and so many important tasks are forgotten or dropped out. Some employees simply copy-paste their previous set of goals and submit it into the system due to the time pressure put on by HR, so let’s face it, this is not going the right way.

Thanks to the rapid implementation of HR technology, employee performance management is moving away from traditional models like annual performance appraisals to a more dynamic mode of operation. Here is how:

  • HR Tech plays a huge role in optimizing the review mechanism — moving away from the dreaded annual appraisal to a more integrated, continuous review process.
  • HR Tech helps generate real-time feedback loops which can make employee expectations perfectly clear.
  • Performance management tools also help HR teams to figure out how to hire quality candidates by aligning performance with recruitment
  • The right performance management tools also enable employers to become more agile and to get a better bird’s eye view of the organization’s real-time performance.

You heard it right! The talk of the town is true and here to make a change, so don’t underestimate it as just another passing trend.

Thuraiyah Mohideen
Thuraiyah Mohideen
Assistant Manager - Marketing

About the Author : Since 2017, I have researched and written extensively on culture and best practices in the HR industry. Being surrounded by talented HR experts who share their experiences and insights at PeoplesHR, I am keen to help HR professionals learn more about the HR industry, find answers to their questions, and discover practical solutions to the challenges they face every day. Assistant Manager - Marketing

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