Audit your current system
Before you build launch a great new system, you need to know where you're starting from. Auditing your current system will help you focus in on and identify the key areas where your efforts will make the greatest impact.
- Identify and involve key stakeholders: A performance management program impacts everyone in the organization, from last week's new hire to the CEO. That's why it's crucial to gain buy-in from all levels. Learn the history of your current program, identify its key stakeholders, and get their input. They will be instrumental in the success of this initiative.
- Structural Analysis: Just like in building construction, it's necessary to have a solid understanding of the foundation you're building on. This can be enormously helpful in designing the blueprint for a system that is built to last. Look for answers to questions like:
- Where is the current program already working well?
- Where is the current program falling short?
- Which areas can be improved immediately, and which will require more time and effort?
Meeting and exceeding employee expectations
Make sure that any new performance management initiatives work to satisfy the needs and expectations of modern employees.
- Autonomy: Including employees in goal setting is one of the simplest ways to infuse autonomy into your performance review process. We outlined several other ways to accomplish this here.
- Purpose: Your performance management system should help to illuminate the purpose behind an employee's contributions, and support them in achieving it.
- Timely Feedback: Timeliness and frequency are some of the most recognizable hallmarks of effective recognition and modern performance management systems. Even if you choose to keep a longer period between formal reviews, the feedback given and received during 1:1 meetings or other informal feedback sessions in the interim is priceless.
- Mastery: Mastery is one of the key factors of engagement and job satisfaction. Make sure your program provides your team with opportunities and the necessary support to master new skills.
- Growth: If your system isn't helping employees grow, both the employees and the organization are missing out on the potential benefits of a performance management program. Make sure your program supports growth, development, and career advancement.
- Transparency: Transparency is crucial to the success of a modern performance management system. The most effective systems are as clear and transparent as possible about everything from compensation to career pathing.
- Human-centricity: You're developing a system for human beings, not robots, and the elements of your system should reflect that.
- Fairness and Equity: This should almost be a given, but there are countless performance management plans that aren't fair or equitable. Inequity is almost never intentional, and that's another reason why it's so important to communicate regularly with and solicit feedback from key stakeholders.
- Separation from pay: Although historically, the performance evaluation has often been tied to pay, this often creates a high-stakes environment where both parties focus on ratings and compensation, and genuine performance improvements will be harder to come by.
- Technology: Make sure you're using technology to your advantage. A cornucopia of new tools are available to help you achieve every goal in this guide.
- Design: Modern employees are accustomed to interacting with consumer-oriented software, and systems that are meticulously designed to provide a delightful user experience (UX). Think about the user-friendliness of your system. If it's painful participate in your performance review, don't expect anyone to look forward to it.
- Integration: Consider how your new system will integrate with any other systems you're administering. For example, you can help combat recency bias by integrating your recognition program with your performance management software in order to provide more details on an employee's daily contributions.
- Communication: As with any major initiative, communication is key. This doesn't mean simply broadcasting information - it's just as important to solicit candid feedback, so the system has an opportunity to improve.
- Iteration: Remember that almost nothing comes out perfect on the first, second, or third pass. Finding an optimal solution comes from a process of continuous iteration and feedback. Imagine if Facebook had never grown past its first iteration.
It's time to get started. You're ready to design and develop a modern performance management management system. You can review this guide anytime for tips on specific areas. It may sound like a large task, but the easiest way to move a mountain is by picking up a stone.