In previous installments of our four-part series on performance management, we examined why organizations should manage employee performance on an ongoing basis, what it’s like on a day-to-day basis, and how to train managers to provide effective feedback and coaching to employees.
To wrap-up our series, we’ll look at how to use information gathered during the year to help managers and employees during the annual performance appraisal process.
Don’t Be So Quick to Ditch the Annual Review
There has been a lot of buzz surrounding the idea of getting rid of the often-hated year-end review. The idea is that ongoing performance management can replace the annual review.
Not so fast.
We know the annual review as a standalone, separate, or one-time event where managers and employees discuss performance or career goals does little to support employee engagement.
Many organizations want to adopt ongoing performance management approaches throughout the entire year, but still want a summary assessment of performance. The review should simply be a summary of the performance during that period, where feedback, goal, and development discussions have happened all year long. When approached this way, ongoing performance management actually enhances the annual review and make it more relevant in today’s business climate.
As mentioned in a previous blog in this series, the look and feel of ongoing performance management may vary depending on the unique needs of your business. Getting the conversations started about performance is only the first step. The next step is to train and encourage staff to take careful notes on feedback given and received, and how to capture information related to employee performance or learning and development opportunities.
Documenting the Discussion
Nobody likes surprises when it comes to how their performance is evaluated—nor should there be any. A study by TriNet and Wakefield Research found that 62 percent of people surveyed felt blindsided by annual performance reviews and 59 percent felt that managers were unprepared to give feedback. Having a record of performance conversations is important because it ensures that the year-end review is a comprehensive look at an employee’s year, not just what can be remembered over the last few weeks or months.
Managers and employees can benefit from reviewing the information gathered during one-on-one meetings before the annual performance review takes place. Here are some tips to help employees and managers get ready for the year-end assessment.
How Employees Can Prepare for the Annual Review
- Gather progress on goals and development plans
- Match up tasks and responsibilities against job-specific competencies
- Review performance journal notes
- Prepare a list of accomplishments
- Do a self-evaluation
- Identify career growth intentions
- Identify possible goals for the upcoming year that align with the organization’s goals
How Managers Can Prepare for the Annual Review
- Collect feedback from an employee’s peers and internal clients
- Review the employee’s performance, demonstrations of competencies, and goal achievements
- Think about goals for the coming year that align with the organization’s overall objectives
- Consider the employee career growth potential (and then discuss career growth with the employee and offer guidance on to develop an action a plan)
As long as employees and managers take careful notes throughout the year, collecting this information will be simple.
How Technology Can Help
Ongoing performance management doesn’t have to create more work than your existing annual review process, and in fact can be streamlined with the right technology.
A 2015 report by the Aberdeen Group found that companies with “best in class” talent management programs are 26 percent more likely to be using performance management software. Performance management software can go a long way in helping organizations make ongoing performance management a natural fit for their businesses by focusing on engaging and aligning employees to achieve strategic outcomes, not just automating paper processes.
With features that help create and support personal and organizational goals, foster a culture of continuous coaching and feedback, and help staff build professional development plans that create a clear path for growth, performance management technology can enable employees and managers to have meaningful, ongoing performance and career-related discussions, and gather key business insights to analyze and measure progress.
Sorting Through the Data
As the annual performance meeting nears, information about employee performance can be collected and analyzed. This analysis is important for HR, as it provides the opportunity to think ahead and anticipate potential opportunities or challenges.
The development and investment in “people analytics” has grown from 2015 to 2016, according to Deloitte’s 2016 Global Human Capital Trends report. The survey found that 77 percent of companies believe that people analytics is important, with 38 percent say they are adequate at conducting multi-year workforce planning, compared to just eight percent in 2015.
Some useful metrics for HR professionals to consider include:
- High-performer growth rate
- Average employee performance rate increase
- Performance appraisal completion rate
- Critical competency scores
- Percentage of employees tracking goals
- Percentage of goals obtained
HR needs to measure the metrics that matter to its business, and examine the results to see where the performance management process can be improved.
The Big Picture
Ongoing performance management helps ensure employees and managers discuss learning and development, build relationships, and improve engagement. Combined with annual performance reviews, ongoing performance management helps gather key HR metrics, giving clear insight into employee performance as well as informing decisions about compensation, promotions, and learning and development plans.
Technology is undoubtedly a big help when adopting ongoing performance management, but the basis will always be improving communication and building relationships. Ensure your people are successful, and they’ll help your business succeed too.