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Anna Johansson, HRExaminer Editorial Advisory Board Contributor.

The New Way to Carry Out Performance Management

Trends around performance management are always changing. The newest trends are defying long-held standards to try to solve some of the industry’s biggest problems.

“Managers and staff alike too often view performance management as time consuming, excessively subjective, demotivating, and ultimately unhelpful,” argues the crisis management team at McKinsey & Company. “In these cases, it does little to improve the performance of employees. It may even undermine their performance as they struggle with ratings, worry about compensation, and try to make sense of performance feedback.”

The McKinsey staff encourages companies to look ahead of the curve where real progress can be made. Performance management no longer means standard yearly performance reviews and rote feedback. It’s taking a more effective approach through regular check-ins and consistent management tactics.

Understanding where performance management is heading gives departments the opportunity to jump ahead of the curve and hail in an era of stronger change. Over the next few years, here are some performance management trends that will begin to take shape.

More Usage of Data and Machine Learning

The use of data and artificial intelligence to make sales and marketing decisions is nothing new, but it hasn’t been used to its full potential. Now, performance management personnel are recognizing the benefit of collecting data to see how their employees are performing as well as gain feedback on how to improve processes.

Now, a variety of software and online programs are emerging to use machine learning to recognize daily performance. For example, performance management software like BetterWorks can be used to receive employee feedback, track performance numbers, and offer coaching and recognition. Software like this can make a real difference in promoting engagement and satisfaction in the workplace.

Transparent, Team-Driven Performance Reviews

In the old model, the boss or project manager did an annual review of employees to encourage improvement and recognize achievement. The dynamic is changing now, however, and it’s being handled more often by teams.

Teams create transparent goals and work together to fill their parts and mark their progress. They build in surveys and feedback portals so teams can continually improve their processes. It’s a much more holistic and effective method of monitoring performance.

Mainstream Performance Coaching 

Written performance reviews are phasing out in favor of performance coaching. It’s very common in businesses, particularly at the corporate level, for managers to write up a performance review, whether good or bad, and leave it up to the employee to make changes on their own. This supposedly taught self-reliance, but it often led to the employee making changes in a different direction than the manager intended.

With the newer trends, managers take on the role of coach rather than silent leader. Their aim is helping employees develop certain skills, since 78 percent of employees say they’re more likely to stay with an employer if they actively help them in their career journey.

Focus on Strengths

A Gallup team developed a new curriculum for helping managers and employees understand their roles and achieve their potential. It’s focused on defining employees’ strengths and using those strengths to achieve a stronger workforce.

They have a series of books, the most famous of which is called “Strengths Finder 2.0.” There’s also a strength finding test that defines an individual’s strengths into several categories.

Managers who want to use the strengths finder to its greatest potential will compare strengths of their employees and put each member of the team to work where they can do the most good. When allowing employees to work with their strengths, they experience higher satisfaction at work and are more likely to stay engaged in the office.

Whether or not you adopt these new trends, you must admit that performance management is changing. There’s a new dynamic for managers and team members alike, and those who use it to their advantage will experience greater progress as a result.

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