Summary: By ensuring that you have complete buy-in from all the stakeholders involved in the process and increasing the frequency with which you conduct your appraisals, you can improve the way performance management is being carried out in your organization.
Performance management is an important HRM activity that helps all the stakeholders in the organization. However, instead of carrying it out in the right spirit, managers carry it out as a chore, and not a particularly important one at that, which negates the good it can do for the organization. When performance management is done as an obligation instead of as a value addition, its purpose is not served, and organizations are left with unnecessary expenses and a huge waste of time. In this post, we will take a look at some ways to improve performance management in organizations, and as this article states, more productive than painful.
Buy-in from stakeholders
One of the reasons performance management fails is that there is no adequate buy-in from the stakeholders involved. This could be the senior management, managers, or employees themselves – if any of these stakeholders do not take the whole process seriously, or if they lag in their tasks, the entire exercise will be wasted. Therefore, the most important thing is to ensure that all these stakeholders buy into the process. They should recognize the value of the process and exhort one another to complete tasks, not hold back.
Use a system apt for your organization
One mistake that organizations do is to adopt a particular system for performance management just because it has been proved somewhere else, and they think it might work great for them too. However, just like a number of other business factors, HRM is also different from organization to organization, and what works in one place might not work in another, or might not even be apt for these conditions. Take the Bell curve method for instance – this technique might be useful for large-sized organizations in quickly sorting employees according to their performance, but if you are a small organization, this might not be the method for you. You might want to recognize and reward employees individually since they might have taken on more work and responsibilities. To conclude, figure out what your goals are, and pick a system that helps you implement a performance appraisal program to meet these goals.
Should they even be annual?
There is a great need to relook at the way appraisals are carried out in organizations. Generally, appraisals are done once a year, with little to no activity in terms of performance management in the remaining time. This allows lethargy to creep in, and does not help you weed out bad performance for a very long time. Since many organizations have performance improvement programs for their employees, you will be carrying employees who are not contributing to your organization on your payroll for a long time without even realizing it. So, think about it. Should appraisals be annual? Wouldn’t it be better if the appraisals are conducted more frequently, say once every three months, so that performance is recognized and acted upon immediately? Wouldn’t it make more sense to have appraisals frequently, even to the extent of appraising a project team as soon as the project has been completed?
Well, you say, what about the expenses, and what about the resources required? If resources are being dedicated to these activities, what real work is going on? The answer is that the expenses are not prohibitive, and if HR software is used, you don’t even need a lot of resources since many of the tasks are carried out by the computer. Since you can also automate much of the process, you will be able to make your employees more productive. Managers also need to spend less time on these tasks, which allows you to increase frequency without many issues.
One of the dodgiestyet most important aspects of performance management is goals. Everyone knows that goals are important, and everyone knows that it is important to have unit-wise, functional, team-wise, and even personal goals and measure their actual performances against these goals so that their performance can be understood. But what really happens in organizations is that lofty goals are set with no thought as to how to go about attaining them, which confuse employees further. They just want to do their work and not think too much about all of these. As one can expect, this helps no one in the organization. Therefore, it is essential for organizations to have specific and attainable goals that encourage and motivate employees to achieve them. Also, it should not stop there – these goals should be conveyed to the stakeholders so that they can do their part in achieving them.
Another important aspect of the performance management process is the feedback mechanism. Appraisals are carried out so as to understand how well the employee has been able to achieve his or her goals, and what should be done to either keep the performance up, or improve. The exercise also helps in understanding areas of improvement, and goals for the forthcoming period. All of this cannot be done if these is no feedback mechanism in place. Feedback in organizations is given by rote, in an obligatory manner instead of with any sense of performance or action. Sometimes, this feedback is not even recorded, and both the manager and employee forget the same once they get back into the rut. Therefore, a strong feedback mechanism that compels both parties into action is a must for effective performance management.
So you created an appraisal program and collected a ton of data. Now what? Do you have the systems and tools in place to analyse this data critically and gather insights? Do you have a way of conveying these insights to the pertinent stakeholder in time? Data management is one of the issues associated with organizational performance management. Organizations don’t know what to do with the ton of data they collect. If they use an analytics or a performance management software solution, they can simply pop the data in, and churn out insights. Data management is simple and useful. There is no need to worry about the complexities and not take advantage of the benefits the software offers.
One sure way to improve performance management in your organization is to adopt technology, either in the form of a standalone performance management software application, or a robust HR software solution with an integrated performance management module. Either way, you will be able to enjoy the benefits the software offers, and make your performance appraisals much more meaningful and effective. With SutiHR solution, you have automation, which straight away cuts down the efforts and resources you need to put into performance management almost exponentially. Further, the software will be of great help to HR professionals – it equips them will everything they need to make appraisals more useful for the organization. It also comes with templates for quicker set up and better delivery.
One key aspect of the process that technology helps manage is communication. Often, performance appraisals become a matter of communication – you seem to need to goad employees into completing their appraisals in time. They seem very reluctant to complete their appraisals, which might be due to their workload. They might not want to complete big questionnaires which they perceive to be a waste of time. It is incumbent upon HR professionals toensure that the process is being done right, and in time. However, is this really where you want them spending their time? Looking up questionnaire after questionnaire to see who have completed their appraisals and who have not? Would it not be wise to leave it to a program, which assesses whether appraisal forms are filled in or not, and ensures that they are filled in by communicating the same with the pertinent employees, and hounding them with reminders and mails till they complete their appraisals.
All in all, performance appraisals are very important for organizations since they help improve the performance of employees, and performance software and other best practices help organizations gain significant benefits from appraisals.