Old ways of carrying out performance management involve a rigidity, an inflexibility and level of formality. The limitations of standard-issue software for it, typically a part of end-to-end suites for human capital management (HCM), have generally reinforced all of this to encourage and perpetuate an ineffective, annual approach to assessing employees’ performance. The focus is top-down assessment, and the treatment of employee performance has ultimately turned into a policing exercise that people have come to dread. Historically, this has delivered little value to the company and always been at odds with the earnest intent most organizations have in assessing their employees’ performance: to promote better performance in a positive way (3Sixty Insights 3SIAG2214 – “The 3Sixty Insights Human Capital Management Themes for 2022,” January 2022).
Enter continuous performance enablement, the idea that the issue of employees’ performance on the job should involve a regular cadence of conversation between them and their managers in the flow of work. Continuous performance enablement is an idea and process that conventional performance management, the systems for it, and the annual performance review just do not accommodate or facilitate. Taking the idea of “management” out of “performance management” is about acknowledging that the traditional concept, that managers are there to facilitate some form of hierarchical intervention or dynamic to monitor and boost the performance of the workforce, is an idea misplaced. Broken, the approach has failed to deliver any such result. And it shows. The traditional performance review process is time-consuming, backward-looking, and frequently tied to static goals that have no basis in reality once the end of a quarter, six months, or year comes around.
“Sustaining higher levels of employee engagement and retention during these times requires that HR leaders rethink their processes to be more forward-looking and employee-centric. Many factors impact employee engagement, but an essential building block is to deploy technology that empowers managers to show empathy and have meaningful conversations with their employees; organically and in the flow of work,” says Doug Dennerline, CEO of Betterworks.
Comprising more than just technology, continuous performance enablement is backed by expertise and proven methodologies for encouraging exceptional adoption. Having a performance review process is a choice, and many are opting out altogether. The way forward, to practice continuous performance enablement, is to acknowledge that all-in-one HCM solutions are better together with their standard-issue performance management module swapped out for a progressive, modern solution that can facilitate and accommodate continuous performance enablement.
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