In this post we’re talking all about how to improve your performance processes. We’ll share some tools to help you get these improvements in place, as well as our personal tips on making the transition.
If you haven’t already checked out our post on how to audit your performance processes then check it out to first identify areas that you might need to work on.
How to improve your performance processes
- Frequency and timeliness
- Employee experience
Use continuous feedback
We know that regular feedback (aka continuous feedback) can provide a far more current and accurate picture of performance and add constructively to improving performance, than an annual review, but how can we go about actually implementing continuous performance management?
Well, the first critical step is getting your continuous feedback process adopted. Luckily, high adoption rates can be achieved by making the whole process as easy as possible for everyone to engage with. However then your managers have to respond to the feedback, our experience is teams will engage, but only continue if managers respond.
The great outcome here is that if managers do follow through with responses, trust and transparency across your team will dramatically improve which is a key building block of a strong culture.
To do all of this efficiently, you will need a people management platform that allows you to set up repeating regular check-in pulse surveys. These mean you can send out scheduled emails, requesting staff to complete a quick task in the system.
The pulses can be set to send a “check-in” form once a month, allowing staff to easily click through, complete the form on any online device and then have all the data automatically entered into your people platform for analysis.
By setting up check-ins to also request feedback from an employee’s manager and team members (and vice-versa), you can also implement 360 degree feedback.
RELATED: Stoking the fire with continuous feedback
Manage data online
This is imperative to ensuring you can actually find those performance records when you need them, as well as making sure this information is stored securely.
When all the moments that go into capturing a picture of performance can be recorded online in one place, it’s easy to get valuable insights into how your people are performing.
To get this in place, you’ll need to have a people management platform with this functionality. And yes, intelliHR can do that.
Automate where possible
Some things are best done by people; giving feedback, having conversations, inspiring people. But repetitive, manual, admin processes? We think those are better left to technology, so we can all focus on the more important things we have to do (like acting on your insights!), and not worry about forgetting anything in the process.
Within your performance processes, we recommended to start by automating two key things; continuous feedback pulses and performance summaries – this will instantly shift you from a reactive formal annual or half year review process to a proactive and constructive monthly check-in process where issues and opportunities are address quickly and any strategic alignment can be carried out when it is needed, rather than 6 months too late.
For continuous feedback, of course the feedback itself will still be provided by those involved, but the process of sending out pulses to prompt feedback can all be taken care of by your people management software. This way, it’s easy for everyone to remember to do their bit.
When all your data is in one place online, performance summaries can also be collated in one-click, taking away the need to manually put together a performance review.
Learn more about digital HR automation tools.
2. Frequency and timeliness
Make feedback regular
Continuous Feedback works best when it’s regular, and engaged with consistently across all teams. By setting up pulses to request this feedback on a monthly basis, you can ensure this is happening regularly and consistently.
Don’t forget to also follow this up with an in-person one-on-one catch up between every manager and their direct reports at the same intervals. As touched on earlier, managers responding to the feedback builds trust and transparency across your team which is a key building block of a strong culture.
Learn more about questions to ask in your feedback check-ins.
Measure performance in real-time
One of the simplest ways to start getting a measure of performance in real-time is by allowing everyone to set and track their own goals within your people management platform.
Using our goals management feature, staff can add measurable milestones on each goal they are working towards, and update their progress as it happens. This provides the employee themselves, as well as their manager, with a real-time view of how they are tracking.
We recommend further supporting goals through seeking feedback upon progress, and information about training needs in the monthly check-in. This allows skills gaps to be rapidly identified and rectified with training.
These goals, combined with insights from continuous feedback and other key performance data, can then be pulled into a performance summary on-demand, to give an employee or a manager a snapshot of their performance.
Learn more about how to identify skills gaps and generate a one-click performance summary.
Optimize rating scales
Rating scales like ‘Below Expectations’, ‘Meeting Expectations’ and ‘Above Expectations’ place managers in the mindset they need to reprimand employees who are underperforming. It also makes employees feel threatened when talking about performance and may prevent them from asking for help. We recommend using a rating scale that encourages a proactive response, for example: ‘Needs Help’, ‘Going Okay’ or ‘Going Great’.
Using intelliHR’s pulses, this can be set-up within your check-in forms to allow managers to rate their direct reports, or employees to rate themselves also.
Learn more about surveys and forms.
Focus on performance improvement
As mentioned above, engaging in more regular feedback and optimizing your rating scales will help to shift the focus towards performance improvement (not performance management). Another tip is to make sure your check-ins include a question that asks staff if there is anything you can do to help them. This welcomes feedback that could reveal challenges an employee is experiencing that could be holding back their performance.
READ NEXT: How to measure employee performance (using quality metrics)
Give people visibility on performance
By giving your people tools like goals and performance summaries, this will enable them to get a view of their own performance at any point, compare how they are tracking over time and then ask for help if they recognize any problems. Likewise, if they are doing better than expected this can increase motivation, and encourage high performance to continue.
4. Employee experience
Make processes consistent
By using automation tools mentioned earlier, processes can easily be made consistent across the whole business. When one great process like a check-in pulse is created, it can be rolled out across the entire organization instantly. Also the more the progress can be reflective of your business and relevant to your team the better, we strongly recommend configuring your performance process to this extent.
Reduce manager burden
Automation tools also help reduce the manager burden by taking away the task of asking for feedback. Now this information on how people are tracking will be ready and waiting when required, so managers can simply take this and use the insights to inform their one-on-one conversations – making responding to feedback much easier! By doing progressively, it is much less of a burden than would be required in an annual review.
Reduce stress in your staff
Once you have a continuous feedback process in place, that’s delivered in a convenient way, and asks the right questions, coupled with other supporting performance tools, you can remove the need for formal annual reviews.
This relieves a lot of stress and angst from staff that is often brought on by formal reviews. This improved process also helps to improve morale and allow people to be happier at work as they’re able to voice concerns and take action on problems earlier, before they become unfixable.
We hope Part 2 has given you some helpful tips to start improving on your audit findings. Check out the posts below to take the next steps in transforming your performance processes.