SVP strategy and consulting Workhuman
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The 3 Cs of successful performance management

14th Feb 2020
SVP strategy and consulting Workhuman
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When it comes to performance management, the traditional once-a-year review is becoming less and less common. In 2019, only 54% of companies surveyed say they used an annual review, compared to 82% of companies in 2016, per Workhuman® research.

What’s more, more than half of workers say annual reviews are not indicative of all the work they do, and 55% say such reviews don’t improve their performance, according to Workhuman’s “The Future of Work Is Human” report.

This shouldn’t come as a big surprise, as very few of us would say we ever look forward to the customary annual review, which is largely a formal, structured, and one-sided affair. While the once-a-year performance review may no longer be considered mandatory, or even useful, frequent and informal feedback is something employees want, with PwC research showing 60% of employees would like to receive feedback daily or weekly.

In order for performance management to be beneficial to organisations and employees alike, it needs to evolve in three key ways:

The first C: continuous

Continuous check-ins with front-line and middle management can make a significant impact on employee engagement and performance. According to Workhuman’s recent survey, workers who check in with their manager at least once a week are 5x less likely to be disengaged, and employees who check in with their manager regularly report higher levels of trust, respect, and engagement at work.

Instead of delaying feedback for weeks or months on end, today’s employee craves advice and critiques in real time. When check-ins are a regular occurrence, there’s more opportunity to show appreciation, build relationships, and set goals. Both managers and employees benefit from more authentic and productive workplace connections. More frequent communication builds engagement naturally and spontaneously, all of which leads to higher job satisfaction and better performance.

The second C: crowdsourced

Ten years ago, crowdsourcing – sending out a request over the internet, asking a large group of people to answer a question – was a novel idea. Today, the concept of crowdsourcing has spread far and wide, from customer-driven restaurant reviews and crowdfunding, to crowdsourced breaking news.

Crowdsourcing is a powerful way to connect people and unite them behind shared purpose; it has become one of the keys to reinventing performance management in the workplace. Annual performance reviews are top-down, and often don’t reflect the full picture of an employee’s contribution to a company over the year. By putting mechanisms in place that facilitate peer feedback, companies can get a much fuller, richer picture of employee performance. Crowdsourced feedback also helps build a sense of connectedness and trust, as relationships are strengthened through the full spectrum of feedback, including recognition.

When employees feel they are heard and valued, their commitment and motivation grows – something that improves performance for all.

The third C: coaching

The final C in successful performance management is coaching. In the old model, managers essentially gave employees a report card that represented one perspective of an employee’s performance. Today we need managers who are coaches – leaders who embrace a growth mindset rather than focus on judging past performance.

By engaging in two-way conversations that include continuous progress check-ins, recognising positive contributions, and providing constructive guidance, managers can dramatically improve employee engagement, job satisfaction, and performance.

Embracing change

Employee expectations have changed when it comes to performance management, and organisations must embrace these three Cs – continuous, crowdsourced, and coaching – if they want to stay in step with today’s human-centric work culture. Continuous, frequent check-ins make it possible for employees to feel recognised, and to receive and provide useful feedback. Crowdsourced peer feedback builds connections, and when combined with the right coaching, businesses can develop talent and motivate all their employees to perform at their best.

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