Using performance management systems to deliver more effective feedback and guide employee expectations
June 10, 2019
Just like Google Maps or Waze help people manage their expectations about a trip, technology-enhanced performance management systems help organizations, leaders, and employees manage expectations about job performance and career paths.
The definition of performance management is evolving rapidly, with many organizations looking for better ways to shape their employees’ performance by encouraging growth and development rather than merely providing an annual performance rating. There is no silver bullet, and there likely won’t be, as different styles may suit some organizations better than others. What we are seeing across many organizations, however, is increased use of technology as they iterate to find the best strategy to make sure leaders and employees are on the same page regarding expectations, so they can then help them better meet those expectations and grow.
Ensuring that your employees understand what is expected of them is an effective way to decrease employee turnover and bolster workplace motivation. But, according to Gallup, only about half of employees know what is expected of them at work. The problem is that too often tasks like defining objectives, key performance indicators (KPIs), and performance evaluations—three critical components of setting expectations in the workplace—occur infrequently, or during annual performance reviews. As a result, employees can feel untethered.
Performance management: defining critical tasks
Performance management software fosters continuous feedback and simplifies review processes. The challenge for HR in implementing this correctly is two-fold. On the one hand, not all performance management technologies are up to the task at hand. On the other, the organization needs to first define its goals for the technology to function effectively.
Whether you are evaluating a performance management system already in place or you are starting a new strategy for your company, prioritizing which functions your organization needs the software to address and why is a critical step. Some important areas of focus include:
- 1. Employee development through ongoing feedback. Regardless of how often an organization has formal reviews, receiving feedback only during those times is not enough for effective employee growth and development. Receiving performance insights and recommendations for improvement from different peers an employee interacts with, including from their manager, in a timely manner, significantly improves their chances of actioning that feedback in the most constructive.
- 2. Setting goals so employees can clearly understand what is expected from them and how their goals are tied to the organization’s bigger overall objectives.
- 3. Providing recognition so the organization can retain top performers and implement effective strategies to retain those individuals with the greatest potential for growth within the company.
Technology-enhanced performance management
There are several studies that explain why the metrics that technology-driven performance management systems offer the best solution to address some of the greatest HR pain points. One study estimates that 56% of all organizations are struggling to retain their top-performing employees. The five main factors that can lead to high voluntary turnover include:
- 1. Lack of growth and development opportunities.
- 2. Longer hours, more responsibilities lead to employees feeling overworked.
- 3. A lack of feedback and recognition.
- 4. Few—if any—opportunities to participate in decision-making processes.
- 5. Inflexible or rigid organizational structures, e.g., right person, wrong role.
Designing a performance management strategy to address these five factors will have a positive impact on the organization, its leaders, and its employees.
For an organization, having a great plan to help employees grow is critical to talent management and retention of top performers.
For leaders, having a great strategy in place to help with development and meeting objectives gives them measurable KPIs to have a better view of their team’s performance, and ensure each person is on track to meet objectives and goals.
For employees, feeling that their leader, and employer, has a vested interest in their development and career advancement can mean the difference between choosing to stay with a company or jumping at a new opportunity elsewhere.
It will also have a significant impact on HR.
For HR, performance management systems are the backbone to their guidance processes to help leaders and employees navigate the most critical aspects of their relationships, especially surrounding feedback.
Technology-driven performance management systems can give HR managers the tools they need to ensure all stakeholders in an organization get more data-driven, flexible, continuous, and development-oriented feedback.
Organizations need to relay their expectations. Codes of conduct, key performance indicators, and core values are all good examples of the ways an organization can lay out its expectations. One of the most effective strategies to make sure employees know if their performance is aligned with organizational expectations is through feedback. But, not all feedback is equally effective.
“Feedback has historically been tied to evaluations and reflecting on how a person performed in the past. But what is much more valuable than merely reflecting on past is also providing insights and suggestions on how a person can grow and improve in the future,” explains Sanja Licina, Ph.D., Leader of the Future of Organizations Studio at Globant.
One of their greatest contributions that performance management software can make to increasing employee retention is arguably continuous feedback on their progress, growth, and development.
- Static resulting in an employee having to wait extended periods of time to find out if they’re doing a good job or not.
- Top down (i.e., from manager to employee).
- Proactive and continuous in real time with the input of an employees’ managers, peers and the leadership team.
- Linked to individual competencies, objectives, and goals.
- Less focused on merely evaluating actions of the past and more focused on suggestions for development.
Performance management software
Today’s organizations need a performance management platform that integrates culture and technology if its performance management system is going to be truly transformative of the employee experience.
BetterMe was created to help develop employees within an organization by accelerating the feedback processes in organizations. “With real-time feedback, your employees will have the information they need to grow and improve on a continuous basis,” explains Licina. “Likewise, leaders will be able to see how teams are performing on an ongoing basis so they can pinpoint areas of opportunity for improvement, and adjust strategies as necessary.”
Performance management platforms
Today’s technology-enhanced performance management platforms give organizations, leaders, and employees effective ways to navigate challenges such as professional development opportunities, employee retention, onboarding strategies, recognition, and rewards.
Thanks to these platforms, the different stakeholders can track an individual’s performance, evaluate their teams, and provide feedback on a continuous basis to everyone in the organization at every level, eliminating the need to wait up to a year to find out how a person is doing on the job and receive valuable insight for growth and development.
A performance management system that feeds an organization’s feedback channels with more data-driven, flexible, continuous, and development-oriented input from leadership, managers, and employees—whether self-evaluation or peer-to-peer feedback—will foster a greater commitment from its workers and drive productivity gains. The end result for companies is a happier workforce and greater profitability.