Our notions about employee performance have changed within recent years. The term “continuous performance management” has been thrown around a lot recently – we’ve all heard about the importance of frequent, informal performance conversations and focusing on employee development – so has continuous performance management become the answer?
Performance management should enable employee effectiveness, improve employee engagement, develop talent, and ensure retention of any top talent or top performers through career development. It may take more than having managers and employees meet on a more frequent basis and focus more on employee development. These actions will certainly make a difference, but in order to see a real change, it’ll take more than just a strategic program.
What Performance and Talent Management Could Be
According to Amber Lloyd, HCM Strategy, Infor HCM, what will be most effective is giving managers the tools and insights in order to help them be more effective in their conversations with employees. For example, guiding managers to recognize an employee’s skills, identify a potential flight risk, offering suggestions to retain top talent, or incorporating key questions for the manager to ask during performance reviews. Even providing insight into what skills the employee needs to advance to the next role would be an effective way to change the way we look at performance management conversations.
For employees to grow, they need feedback, recognition for their contributions to the organization, suggestions for mentors or coaches, and more career opportunities – simple as that. All of this, however, is bigger than a continuous performance discussion, so it’s really about a broader talent management strategy.
“All too often performance management falls outside a traditional HR function, or it gets divided between several groups owning small uncoordinated components of the process. Compensation wants to own the annual increase, organizational development wants to own the leadership development, chief learning officers would love to own recommended learning but all too often learning isn’t integrated with performance, and HR generalists own compliance of the process,” according to Lloyd.
In this light, HR technology is best-positioned to navigate cross functional programs, but too often managers here don’t want to take ownership of the HR business process, and so they manage the technical components alone. Revisit this model and begin to develop a performance steering committee where these groups can collaborate on how the organization effectively manages employee engagement, performance, development and retention.
As you build on your performance management process, really think about your company culture. How is your HR strategy aligned to support that culture and overarching business strategy?
Lloyd suggests using a strong behavioral assessment tool as a framework to guide managers through thoughtful questions and meaningful conversations. If you’re not giving your employees a career path, or at least a vision of what it could be, LinkedIn and your competitors will.
Creating career transparency can help this by showing them what actions will help them grow and what roles they are being considered for. If your HR technology strategy isn’t that mature, start with toolkits that provide ‘a “manager curriculum,” as well as quick tips for driving the conversation.
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