Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Continuous Performance Management

Most organizations fail to manage performance effectively because they focus on improving the processes or implementations, fail to look into the system holistically.

Performance Management is an important process which underpins organization’s collective human capability to achieve high performance. However, in most organizations, the term "Performance Management" has a negative connotation because it tends to label processes that the business sees as, at a minimum, administratively burdensome and at worst simply dreads. There is a danger of not having a process to "develop and nurture" performance, bias and favoritism are common in the workplace. Waiting until once per year or even every six months to evaluate workers is also not enough to know key performance nor should it be. So what're the differences between Continuous Performance Management and traditional Performance Management? Where will you go by using such methods?


The continuous performance management method is to track in monthly basis the performance against the company results: This will not only have a performance and goal review but also guarantee alignment with corporate goals. The model to evaluate multiple sources (360) if the company's culture is democratic and that the evaluation is given on the effectiveness and efficiency of people based on the strategic plan and the routine duties of persons. How about real-time appraisals that take place consistently and can be tracked accordingly. Each objective has milestones that the progress can be tracked by either the employee or manager and recorded in the talent system. Objectives are then rated when they are due in the year (generally, when the project comes to an end). Each objective could even be weighted to assist with an overall year-end rating. The idea is to get away from the annual event based on stale data and poor record keeping. The basic premise is that every conversation a manager/supervisor has about project status or feedback is recorded as an assessment of current performance.


Another consideration is linking (cascading) corporate strategic objectives with all or most employees: It goes without saying that the system doesn't replace any consistent and meaningful manager and employee interaction and conversations regarding targets and objectives. The other concerns could be how people are evaluated when their contributions are interdependent with others' contributions. So strategy-performance mapping is just an enabler and should mirror the company's desired approach to performance appraisals. More organizations are embedding the performance measures into the role/position descriptions. This envelope/quantitative performance measures empowers employees to manage their own performance and report back - obviously with the necessary checks and balances.


Performance data is collected daily as associates perform their functions: Performance management can occur with the front line supervisory level reviewing performance daily, weekly and monthly. Behavior is observed daily and training/coaching occurs daily. Most of these can be tracked on a variety of forms from observation sheets to performance tracking sheets and 1-on-1 performance evaluation forms. It does require that the front line supervisors be constantly on their game and nimble to reacting to the performance and behavior needs of the teams for which they are responsible. When trends of behavior and performance deficiencies are discovered, appropriate steps can be taken - further training/coaching provided. If the data is tracked electronically, it would be relatively easy to draw the statistical data right into a semi-annual or annual review form to execute the evaluation with the employee. As long as the data is organized independently and cumulatively, it can still be quite easy to compile for those semi-annual and annual reviews. Regarding the performance and behavioral reviews of higher levels of management and support personnel above the front line, what the evaluations look like really depend on the business model. In theory, the same principles could apply. As long as the number of direct reports are at a manageable level (optimally 8-10) then daily, weekly, and monthly evaluations are a viable option. When the direct reports exceed this it becomes increasingly more difficult to do the evaluations on a shorter time frame. By letting each level of management evaluate their direct reports - by expecting it - then more people are evaluated more frequently, training/coaching needs are identified and reacted to more quickly, and performance and behavior have the chance to improve more rapidly. The semi-annual and annual review processes become so much easier to complete and are less time consuming with this type of system because the necessary data is right at your fingertips and trends are known well before the evaluation has to occur.


The proper training of all levels of management in such a system is a MUST: Along with the training is setting clear expectations for the administration of the process. Too often inadequately prepared management behave less than ethically and use such system not for the benefit of the employee or the company but as either a "got ya" tool for people they just don't get along with or like. Or the performance management scenario just goes through the motions without entering meaningful information that would be helpful to the employee or the company in hopes of satisfying this requirement of their supervisors. If the level above executes due diligence with the level below it should work well.


From evaluating staff to partnering with the employees. A change in focus from evaluating the individual to partnering with the employee to evaluate the quality of the interactions the employee has started with the manager and employee. An emotionally un-intelligent manager can cause poor performance in an employee, but the employee is always the one who gets the rating. It is better to focus on what you can improve in the system. Measures are set using envelopes so they know how much above and beyond expectation they are achieving or not achieving. The base measures come from the company's strategic plan reviewed and rolled over each year cascaded down to each functional area. The human capital management approach provides the definition of expectations in a quantitative way, empowers the employee, encourages motivation & innovation and rewards the employee for effort above and beyond the normal expectations (position target performance measures). The organization also knows they are getting a positive return on the performance pay - this is a win-win situation.


Most organizations fail to manage performance effectively because they focus on improving the processes or implementations of performance management or evaluation. They fail to look into the system holistically. Therefore, if you want an effective performance evaluation or management system, you need to shift your mindset from developing performance management processes or implementation to developing a holistic performance management solution that adds value to employees, organizational goals, and business results. These are essential aspects of developing very innovative, intuitive, fast and visual approach to improving employee engagement and performance.

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