Although annual reviews might be the first thing that comes to mind for most people when the topic of performance management is introduced, high-functioning systems consist of much more than reviews that occur only once a year.

Fostering an inclusive performance-management process doesn’t just feel right because it is the right thing to do: it also harnesses the collective strengths of everyone involved, and sets you on a path to increased productivity and engagement across the entire workforce. Here’s how it’s done.

Real-time Feedback

With the shift from annual reviews to organisation-wide conversations, various modules supporting the dialogue and the coaching around performance – including increased frequency in pulse surveys, instant recognition and various gamification elements, in addition to evolved goal-setting and tracking features – have been made available.

Patrick will point out to Cara that she’s made some coding mistakes recently, and they’ll talk about it in a one-on-one. It will help her and her team address issues as they crop up – and improve productivity all round.

While changing to continuous performance management can be challenging for those employees and managers accustomed to annual reviews, explaining what’s in it for them is an important step for companies. Companies must communicate how the changes will benefit them, such linking personal goals to overarching organisational objectives and fostering a culture of collaboration among their workforces. Only then will their people be set up for success in today’s fast-paced, global business environment, where they can achieve strategic goals more easily and support employers’ efforts for staff retention as well as help employees realise their full potential.

Aligning Individual Goals with Business Objectives

Performance management relies on setting individual goals that are tied to company goals. This enables team members to see how their work supports company success and strives towards results.

Organisations are embedding a continuous development process for employee development throughout their operations – this process includes getting into regular, open conversations with the people who know the employee best, and his or her impact – their leaders, fellow employees , connected suppliers, and or customers – about the value they are creating together.

Second, by promoting teamwork and goal selection, and by appealing to a diverse range of people, varying in aptitudes, those feedback mechanisms become more inclusive instead of exclusionary. Third, this model is a stark contrast with traditional performance evaluation systems (box checking), which aren’t concerned with personal development or growth. Fourth, when employees buy in to this model and it’s actualised as mainstream workplace practice, employees feel like it’s a place where they’re welcomed into a true community instead of merely being cogs in the machine.

Creating a Culture of Well-being

Physical and emotional wellbeing should be a central concern of performance management. When people are happy in their work, they do better. Research has shown that companies with happy staff are likely to be more profitable than those without happy staff.

Creating a ‘culture of wellness’ can include everything from employee assistant programmes and stress management workshops to applications that support wellness in the workplace and in one’s home, including gaming-type programmes that provide incentives via gamification to drive desired behaviours, all the way to employee assistant programmes or EAP. It’s part and parcel of Performance Management these days with so many remote or hybrid work models prevalent today.

Adapting style, approach and radius of performance management today is a strategic necessity to prepare for the future. By embracing trending HR practices such as working from home, constant feedback and artificial intelligence, HR and managers can create an adaptive workforce to react to changing business conditions. Deemphasising transparency and refocusing on continuous improvement efforts will help organisations in preparing to fix business problems and scale forever.

Embracing Technology

Because so many traditional performance management systems contained hidden, built-in biases that disadvantaged large segments of the workforce, technology becomes the hope to tap every employee’s potential to drive company success – more fairly, equitably and effectively.

Getting employee goals to be in line with business goals is the second way to establish a productive company culture that will help achieve performance and motivation. This means getting everyone on board with the company vision and strategic business objectives and helping them see how contributing their daily efforts helps the company achieve its desired goals.

Promote peer-to-peer feedback so employees get multiple perspectives on their performance and reduce the likelihood and impact of biases and increase assessment accuracy – while simultaneously cultivating inclusive, collaborative approaches to performance, which can particularly benefit historically under-represented groups. Improving workplace wellbeing can also be facilitated via more broadly available, confidential counselling or wellness programmes – whether offered as in-person stress management workshops or app-enabled solutions involving meditation exercises and mental health assessments.

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