Thursday, May 06, 2021
Wednesday, 23 October 2013 10:06

Navigating the Intersection of Performance Management & Technology

Written by Marcel Messier

“The road to success is always under construction.– Lily Tomlin, Actress and Comedian

Some say that the road to success is paved with patience, hard work and perseverance, while others believe it is paved with failures. Either way, when it comes to reaching that final destination, what matters most is how the road is driven. For companies with multiple stakeholders, systems and processes, there is a lot to consider before setting the course.

Advancing business goals to promote organizational success requires the precise coordination and commitment of a high-performing, well-aligned workforce Managing workforce performance impacts everything from employee morale to engagement and retention, compensation, learning and development, productivity, customer service and more. Creating a multi-faceted performance management process that integrates technology and feedback works to nurture company culture, identify high-performers and talent needs, and inspire achievement at all levels. Leveraging this integrated approach enables organizations to develop their path and drive forward, full speed ahead.

Administrate and Automate

"You think you can win on talent alone? Gentlemen, you don't have enough talent to win on talent alone." – Coach Herb Brooks, Award-winning Olympics Hockey Coach

It’s a tough lesson to learn, but simply having the talent on staff isn’t enough anymore; you have to know what to do with it. More than that, employers need to understand the value and inner workings of the workforce in order to unleash their true potential. Since most organizations openly credit “human assets” – their employees - for enterprise innovation and profitability, factors such as employee engagement and reduced flight risk are key components of sustained success.

With 10,000 U.S. baby boomers exiting the workforce daily and new entrants taking their place, the times are definitely a-changing and surveys show that traditional performance processes just don’t cut it anymore. Nearly three-quarters of human resources executives reported that adapting talent management strategy and capabilities to today’s business environment is a top priority this year. At the same time, research from Bersin by Deloitte indicates that communicating organization goals and translating those goals into individual performance goals pose a major challenge. With the issues and information at hand, it’s clear that improving the performance process begins with changing how it operates.

Caught between administering annual performance appraisals and managing daily performance goals managers have little time to communicate expectations to their employees. Moreover, some are reluctant to discuss performance frankly, feeling ill-equipped to deliver useful feedback obstructing the performance process. As a result employees are left without knowing what’s expected of their work or the rewards associated with performance success, which can lead to dissatisfaction with the company or job.

By merging traditional performance management tactics with the inherent advantages of contemporary technology, employers can develop a daily process that automates feedback collection and lessens the administrative burden on managers. This enables managers to spend more time collaborating with their employees to plan work, set expectations, and offer regular feedback to promote higher engagement and performance.

Fast Track to Top Talent

“Let the path be open to talent.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

When performance is tightly linked to other HR processes, organizations and employees both benefit. By monitoring performance without draining executive energy, the organization can recognize development needs as well as training opportunities and support succession planning more efficiently. Improving the performance management process also provides a strategic advantage in identifying, retaining and motivating top performers.

Consistently tracking and monitoring employee performance remains at the heart of the process. Automating data collection creates a living history for each employee, mapping their progress against career goals and movement throughout the organization, further facilitating real-time feedback.. With the goals of right resources in the right roles in mind, this feedback increases in value the longer an employee stays with the organization. Inevitably, titles change, managers move on, and departments merge, but the integrated performance process remains, capturing each employee’s contribution to the organization.

In the long run, not every employee is right for every journey along the road. For every high-performer, there is at least one working below ability and feedback alone can’t necessarily distinguish between the disengaged versus the wrong hire. A fully integrated performance management strategy offers employers the performance metrics and visibility needed to cultivate the high-potential talent. With insight into performance across the enterprise, organizations can also understand where talent gaps exist and take proactive measures to address them.

To Infinity and Beyond

“Don’t mistake activity with achievement.” – Coach John Wooden, Award-winning U.S. NCAA basketball coach

To ensure alignment between personal goals and business objectives, performance management cannot be an annual event but must become an ongoing initiative. Employing a systematic approach to performance management – powered by technology – invigorates the process to meet the expectations of the modern employee and supports focus on initiatives that propel the business forward and advance employee skill sets. Implementing the right technology removes the drudgery from performance management by expediting feedback collection and streamlining the process.

Without a systematic approach in place, the organization is constantly spinning its wheels, and increasing the risk of employee turnover. Investing in the internal talent community limits the impact and supports succession planning and talent mobility. Working to implement an integrated strategy requires a performance evaluation of the organization as whole to start, examining the company culture in addition to each moving part. Understanding how the existing process operates will indicate the organization’s technological needs and capabilities.

Finding the right technology to complement the performance process includes the selection of a user-friendly system that keeps the process simple and provides the framework needed to document feedback and refine data analysis. To accomplish this, it is important to consider the stakeholders and involve managers in the planning and development to ensure that the integrated approach meets business needs as well as HR requirements. Once complete, enact training for managers and executives to test the process thoroughly within the organization’s day-to-day operations. Introduce both managers and employees to the process in an effort to further align the workforce with the goals of the organization. Bring the entire organization up-to-date to ensure that every employee understands the link between performance, opportunities and advancement.

Using performance management technology in concert with other processes helps the organization to cultivate and strengthen its culture, develop high-performing talent and position the workforce to drive home the most impactful business initiatives for years to come.

Mercel Messier has been President and Chief Operating Officer of Technomedia since 2007.