People-Centered Performance Management: a new form of people-focused performance management
This past year has brought us many important changes in the way we work. Our day-to-day life has evolved. Whether the day starts with an email, chatting with a colleague on Slack or participating in a video call, remote work has changed the work routine. It has become clear that we are operating in a new work paradigm.
Today’s employees do not see work only as the fulfillment of contractual clauses. Labor, which is rooted in contract, is now more than a mere economic transaction. It has become a relationship that carries all the complexities of personal relationships. Work is now understood as a relationship that, to be healthy, meaningful and lasting, requires interest, reciprocity, acceptance, respect and positive interactions.
Recognizing that work is a relationship is one of the keys to implementing a more humane and engaging work experience.
When looking at performance appraisals, what are we currently seeing in the labor ecosystem?
If we think about the “Annual Performance Review” process (the classic activity performed to meet contractual requirements and create an updated database), we can perceive a strong disconnect between what organizations are trying to evaluate and the complex reality in which employees act.
While it is clear that performance appraisal is essential, static forms and infrequent feedback are not the most appropriate tool to achieve what is intended.
According to Gallup,
Employee needs cannot be adequately met using traditional performance management systems. It is time to close the doors and leave the old appraisal practices behind, creating a flexible performance management strategy that is responsive and calibrated to the new work paradigm. This means that we need, more than ever, a good management approach: setting flexible objectives, offering dynamic coaching and nurturing a clear accountability system.
If we want to create a welcoming and engaging workplace where employees can participate effectively and be in the best possible position to do their jobs, we need to reinvent the work experience through this new paradigm.
Seen in this light, how can we create a people-centered performance management system?
First of all, we must be conscious of designing a system that fosters a healthy relationship between employees and the organization.
The employee must be involved in the process and have visibility at all times as to where he/she is and what his/her progress is. A model of continuous communication should be encouraged. The appropriate frequency will depend on the organization and the individual: weekly, monthly or even quarterly.
These frequent controls considerably improve the relationship with employees. To avoid bias and subjective points of view, it is advisable to involve team leaders, colleagues and external collaborators in the process. A good complement is to listen to employees’ perspective on their performance and gather feedback from those with whom they collaborate on a day-to-day basis.
To look to the future, it is useful to link the attainment of specific skills or levels of knowledge with training strategies or even mentoring programs.
It is also important to establish an ecosystem where comments from different groups (360 feedback) are perceived as an opportunity to grow and improve. It is also advisable to establish clear rules and limit conversations to specific topics that can be worked on later.
It is time to redesign individual meetings to adapt to the new work reality. Now, more than ever, work and personal life are connected. People’s emotions and moods change every day and can go from hope to fear. That is why it is necessary to be present, attentive and conscious in our interactions with others. Good preparation for each meeting and focusing on the development of the person as a unique and changing individual are key.
It is key to foster a culture of transparent and honest communication. It is important to set an example and encourage others to join in this change.
This first quarter of 2021 clearly showed a renewed interest from companies for their human resource management platforms. Many of the changes mentioned above have highlighted the limitations of various tools and driven a new interest in dynamic and flexible solutions that support new needs.
Putting adaptability and productivity at its core, Totara has developed Totara Perform, a performance management system that frees you from rigid processes and allows your organization to embrace the full spectrum of performance management practices. So if you are looking for new options or if you have not yet implemented a system and want to see what the market has to offer, do not hesitate to contact our group of experts and ask for a demo of Totara Perform.
In addition, here is a brief selection of articles, videos and documents on the subject that focus even more in detail on the topics covered.
- SHIFTING THE FOCUS: How to Put People at the Center of Performance Reviews
- Human-Friendly Performance Management0
- Performance Management Must Evolve to Survive COVID-19
- Radical Candor – The Surprising Secret to Being a Good Boss