(8-10 minute read)
Performance appraisal and management are often viewed as one in the same—but there’s a difference between them.
In an article published by VRH Newsline, “many organizations engage managers and employees in a stressful year-end annual tango called ‘performance appraisal’.” But, this meeting would not occur if it wasn’t mandatory.
Performance management on the other hand, isn’t a scheduled event. Instead, it’s an ongoing process that facilitates regular feedback, reducing the need to cover new ground during the formal review. This allows for a more disciplined approach that lets employees know where they stand so they can adjust their expectations accordingly.
A key objective of performance management is to avoid surprises, which can lead to an environment mired in fear and low morale.
Goals and expectations should be discussed with employees in performance planning meetings. That way employees know the levels they are expected to reach and exactly how their performance is measured. Any concerns about an employee’s work should be relayed to them well in advance of the performance review, though an exception would apply if the problem arose right before the review.
Performance management matters should be documented by employees and managers. For example, employees can record their daily work experiences along with any concerns they may have. Managers can then include this information in their performance management status reports and refer to it when preparing for formal reviews. Employees should receive real-time feedback, which keeps them “out of the dark,” in terms of their goals and performance. Management should develop and implement routines for collecting, tracking and analyzing data, which can be used to make improvements, deliver feedback, and arrive at solid decisions.
The above strategies take time and consistency. Therefore, employers should consider utilizing technology, which streamlines the performance management process and fuels efficiency.
Technology: a Boon to Eradicating Performance Management Surprises
Most companies’ performance management processes depend on labor-intensive, paper-based procedures or basic electronic methods. According to a 2015 article published in Forbes, 58 percent of organizations continue to use spreadsheets as their main strategy for tracking performance metrics. However, manual and rudimentary electronic systems are notorious for being time consuming and prone to errors, making it more difficult to adopt a disciplined approach to performance management. Fortunately, a deep transformation is underway.
Companies are increasingly replacing tedious manual and electronic processes with web-based solutions, designed to simplify performance management and promote employee engagement. As Bersin by Deloitte explained, the real focus today is on reshaping how people work, establishing team-based tools on coaching and goal alignment, and implementing systems to deliver feedback and track engagement.
Web-based systems increase goal visibility, making it easier for managers to stay on top of employees’ progress. Managers can immediately inform employees on how well they are advancing and provide the necessary resources to improve performance. In addition, managers and employees can better understand how their own goals fit into the company’s objectives.
With online systems, many of the problems associated with paper-based processes are removed, allowing managers and employees to do more in less time. For example, managers can electronically route forms for approval, notify employees of upcoming reviews via email reminders, and automatically send forms to HR.
From one centralized location, managers can solicit feedback and employees can deliver their responses. This is a powerful way of boosting engagement, as it keeps managers and employees on the same page and prevents surprises. Some web-based systems come with tools that help managers write reviews that give employees a more profound understanding of their goals and performance.
Through customized dashboards, managers can collect, track and analyze performance-related data. This enables managers to identify key strengths and weaknesses in employee performance, monitor improvement in employee ratings, evaluate the company’s rewards framework, and make the most fitting decisions possible.
While technology can help organizations attain a disciplined approach to performance management, it is not the only factor. Organizations must also ensure that the human aspect of performance management—such as sufficient direct communication between managers and employees—remains intact.
November 22, 2018
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