In recent times, many companies have begun moving away from the traditional methods of conducting performance management. Companies want to improve, but lack information around the how of implementing dynamic and innovative performance management systems. While the traditional methods worked well in the previous decades, they are not suitable for today’s dynamic work environment. It is no longer recommended to wait an entire year before assessing employee contribution to the organization. GE, Accenture, Google, Deloitte are just some of the few big names that have already replaced their annual performance reviews with more frequent ones.
Problems with traditional methods:
Traditional performance management processes take up a lot of time and efforts of both managers and their teams. Moreover, they are primarily conducted to determine employee compensation based on their performance throughout the year. These processes end up having an unanticipated effect of managers focusing on employee’s weaknesses. They hold people accountable for past behavior which in no term can determine current performance or talents, both of which are critical for organizations’ long-term survival.
It is difficult to distinguish performance, except for the truly poor performers or high achievers. Being a annual process, below par or mediocre performers can’t be identified early on. Once a year performance review, with little to no feedback, gives no scope for development to the employees or the managers.
Changes that can be brought about by reinventing performance management
Many companies inadvertently follow the Set And Forget policy when it comes to objectives and goal setting. Today goal setting cannot be a rigid one-time activity for the organization. There should be scope for keeping goals flexible so that they can be modified as and when the situation demands it. Employees may not be able to fulfill these goals as unforeseen changes cannot be accounted for every time.
The one thing which is prime is “Conversation”. Managers need to keep the communication channel open at all time and ensure regular dialogue. Unlike traditional methods where communication is a one-way process, 2 way communication should be encouraged to ensure that the managers and employees are on the same page. It helps them develop a understanding of what is the purpose of their work and what is to be achieved. This ensures they do not deviate from the end goals and work hard to achieve them.
Traditionally, spoon feeding was done on a large scale. Employees were believed to be inherently incapable of setting their own goals. Let employees find out their capabilities on their own. Although managers should provide guidance and suggest better alternatives wherever required. Together they can determine a time frame in consensus for achieving their goals.
Employees work under tremendous pressure and in the race to achieve their targets, they often compromise on the quality of their work. Managers need to focus on consistently developing their employees through various means such as training and development activities. It could also be through regular feedback or even recognition for their work. Motivated employees are able to perform better and increase productivity.