Companies these days are all trying to do less with more and because of that, there is a huge focus on productivity and performance management. It goes without saying that the best way for your business to perform better is to improve your employees’ performance.
Most companies that are focusing on this will say that the main objective of HR should be to help increase the productivity of the employees through their daily responsibilities and technologies.
Big data and analytics are revolutionizing the workplace. First, it completely changed the way the data was consumed and interpreted. Business intelligence, marketing intelligence, and consumer intelligence were all affected in one way or another by big data. Then, big data was used by companies to build customer and employee engagement.
On the customer front, big data is used to identify customers, build a relationship, and retain their trust. Now it’s time for big data to impact the human resources’ sector and employee performance.
Making employee performance management automated will give businesses a lot of information about behavior, performance, and analyze these metrics in meaningful ways. This will lead to big data intelligence on the HR front.
There are so many fluidities in the business world today that workforces need to be constantly adapting to manage the increased competition for skilled workers, a growing millennial workforce, remote work possibilities, and more.
After careful analysis of the current situation, we’ve identified 6 key trends in performance management that companies should monitor in 2019.
Instant and Ongoing Performance Management
Everyone knows that annual performance management is very ineffective, but more and more companies are starting to do something about it. It’s becoming much less popular to hold a performance review once a year as in the past, and continuous performance management is replacing it as the preferred option.
In fact, most employees traditionally have said that annual performance management sessions have zero positive impact on their performance.
The reality is that employees should receive feedback about performance immediately and on an ongoing, fluid basis. Waiting a year to get insight on how their performance is perceived by the management team, the areas they should improve on, and more is wasted time that prevents rapid employee growth.
This has serious effects on the speed of career progression and issues should be resolved before they become bad habits.
Human resources departments are now purchasing software that will help them meet their current and future needs, allowing the possibility for continuous, real-time feedback on short and long term objectives.
This is not a pipe dream but is quite doable and will have a big impact on your company. You don’t have to worry about eliminating ratings, but you should definitely create a process that will be ongoing and will allow you, as a manager, to set goals, coach your employees, support them, and give them feedback in real-time.
Real-time Feedback and check-ins are being universally accepted as the pillars of Continuous Performance Management.
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Focus on Employee Wellbeing
There is an unfortunate rise in instances of stress and anxiety from employees at work, and more and more companies are seeing employees in North America and taking stress or depression-related leave of absences or requesting reduced workloads.
When stress levels are high, it’s normal that productivity will suffer and this is a key area for HR to focus on moving forward. The more employees feel overwhelmed at work, the less work is actually getting done, or on the other hand, they try to do too much and get burnt out.
This is an area where companies can lose a lot of money in loss of productivity if they’re not careful about how they approach wellbeing in the workplace.
It’s important for performance management to focus on detection and action when it comes to mental health issues and the earlier they’re spotted, the better.
If you want to keep your employees performing at their highest standard, your company needs to be forward-thinking in its approach to mental health. It’s fair to say that wellbeing, productivity, and employee performance all are intricately linked together.
An easy way to tackle this is to add wellbeing questions within regular ongoing conversations between managers and employees to be able to detect early on any potential mental health issues or stress related to the workplace or workload.
This goes hand in hand with a shift that we have seen recently toward companies becoming social enterprises instead of being focused solely on business gains.
The more companies focus on wellbeing as an important part of employee performance, the more people start to expect it and they are more vocal about holding their employers to account regarding employee wellbeing.
Companies are expected to put regulations and standards in place to promote mental wellbeing and healthy mindsets. This shift is happening so it’s important for companies to be at the forefront of this conversation, including creating programs related to financial wellbeing, mental and physical wellbeing, mindfulness, and stress and anxiety management.
Employee Learning and Development
Another big trend to watch out for is the increasing emphasis on employee learning and development programs to empower employees. Having training and development programs at your company are extremely good ways to motivate employees to be productive and perform.
Companies should consider creating new learning and development paths for their employees to strive for in their career progression. This is a great way to promote performance management but also attract and keep top talent in your field.
The way current performance management is done, by evaluating employees and lumping them in with others is not only unproductive but also affects morale. When there’s a gap in skill or an area that can be improved, instead of evaluating it once a year with a poor performance review, consider fixing it with an appropriate training program.
As employees learn, they can bring back this knowledge and skill to the workplace and increase their contribution. This will benefit both the employee and the company so both parties are successful.
A mix of Performance Management Strategies
There isn’t necessarily one solution for performance management that will work across the board for all companies. This actually really depends on the workplace culture, the size of the company, and more, so your strategy should be customized to your company.
What’s important for HR is to be open to trying different approaches based on what technology options are available, what the latest research says on the subject, and by trial and error.
Companies need to have some methods in place to get metrics on their employees so they know who is performing better than others and what program will help which employee be more engaged, nurtured and developed to maximum productivity.
It’s important to experiment with a mix of different strategies, certain suggestions being development-oriented approaches, continuous feedback performance management, instant appreciation, and reward programs.
Find what works for your company and work environment and be prepared to modify your strategy as you go.
Remote and Flexible Workforce
Because of today’s technology and automation advancement, there are more and more flexible work arrangements that are available to keep a company’s footprint smaller and employees more engaged.
Top talent is increasingly looking for flexible work arrangements so being able to offer this is a huge bonus for any company. Flexible work hours are chosen by the employee, remote work and working from home possibility, and hiring freelancers for specific tasks are becoming more and more popular and will change the work scape as we now know it.
Human resources departments have to be ready to adapt to all these new ways of managing, engaging and developing the workforce and performance management will have to mold to these new work scenarios.
Re-evaluating Job Roles
Traditional job roles as we know them will probably become less relevant in the coming years. Studies and research have shown that when companies give freedom and flexibility to their employees to work on what they’re best at, your team will become more creative, innovative, and productive.
This gives employees purpose, and they feel secure in the knowledge that their management is pushing for their development and integration.
More and more, we will start to see what’s known as “job crafting” which is the creation of positions based on a certain employee’s interests, their strengths, skills, and certifications. When a certain task must get done, a process would take place to evaluate the capabilities of each employee (soft and hard skills), their wishes and perspective about the task would be noted, and the team to tackle the task would be created that way.
For this step to work, HR would need to acquire a special tool or software to manage that aspect of development.
It will be difficult for HR to develop a productive and successful performance management process due to the changing demographics and quick growth of the workforce.
Luckily, there are software tools to help build these systems that can be adaptable and work with non-traditional performance management strategies. By being at the forefront of these trends, your company can set itself up for success with a happy, engaged, and productive workforce.
It is true the days of the Annual Appraisal is over, but reviews cannot die.
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