In the last 5 to 10 years, there has been much debate about the merits and direction of performance management. We have seen a move to more “continuous” conversations, the removal of ratings as part of an annual review and a mixture of all approaches. Questions that are not always asked though – what does the employee want and what do they need?
The topic of performance management has always been hotly debated. For many it is an outdated concept, for others it is a lengthy and time-consuming process that rarely delivers meaningful outcomes, but as we continue into the third year of the pandemic and a shift in our working experience, the importance of performance management should never be marginalised.
In April 2021, we launched The Human Factor Podcast Series by SAP to really delve into the topics and themes that are truly impacting the world of work today. The series to date has been a fascinating journey into the minds of our guests as we unpick the evolving world of work and what it means to the people working in our organisations today. Central to many of the conversations has been the topic of performance and the factors that influence it.
What have we learned from the pandemic? Firstly, people have changed jobs. In the United States 4.4 million people changed job in November 2021. There have been many column inches talking about “The Great Resignation”, “The Great Departure”, “The Great Realisation” – so why have people decided to leave? Well, the common consensus is linked to culture, experience and how it felt to work in the organisation. We know from countless pieces of research from organisations such as Gallup that engagement globally has been tragically low for the last 10 years, so this has been coming – I think the pandemic just shone a great big light on it and people decided enough was enough and voted with their feet.
So, what are we learning from “The Great Resignation” and how have we evolved our working practices in the last 24 months?
So, what is the conclusion to take from all of these insights when we consider the “role” of performance management in our organisations? We know that the attraction of talent is going to get harder – this is an observation shared by many. Therefore, our ability to grow and retain our talent is going to become a strategic priority if it isn’t already. To do this we must consider the following:
I believe organisations will continue to redesign their performance processes for the foreseeable future and we will see new variations emerge – but undoubtably this is more than just a process we execute at various intervals in the year. There is a human at the end of the process who needs certain things to happen for them to excel and when they don’t happen, they disengage and leave.
Jason Averbook, founder and CEO of Leapgen provided a perceptive insight when discussing “The Future World of Work”, and it very much encapsulates the need to execute the basic fundamentals of performance management. Over the last 30 years we have been “doing digital” and putting the emphasis on design and the roll-out of process, often seeing mixed results in terms of adoption and outcomes. This podcast episode is to be released on the 18th March.
As the world of work continues to shift on its axis and we feel the “tension” of the people leaving organisations, the emphasis today has to be on “being digital”. As Jason commented "being digital means I'm constantly improving. I’m treating my digital capabilities like a pet, not like a rock. I must walk it daily. Water it daily. Clean up after it daily. Pet it daily."
That digital capability is our people.