The Evolution of Performance Management: Towards Agile

The importance of achieving agility

In the past, performance management has carried the reputation of a daunting task that neither managers nor employees looked forward to or saw much value in. Annual reviews were the dark cloud looming over organisations at the year end, full of paperwork and meetings keeping every member on their toes and questioning where they stand. However, with the evolution of performance management systems through the years, agility has become a priority and more HR departments are seeing the importance of achieving agility and adopting new and improved systems.

Future-focused performance management

Agile organisations and systems are highly competitive, innovative, and are quick to adapt and respond to change. A focus on how employees can contribute in the future, rather than how they have performed in the past, will help to ensure that organisations are never remaining stagnant and are always looking toward the future. This mind-set will help you evaluate employees more effectively and efficiently.

Frequent conversation between manager and employee

When the performance review is a more frequent conversation between managers and employees, relationships are built, trust and respect can be established. If the conversation revolves around the employee and how they are contributing to the organisation, both parties stop fearing the review process and begin to see it as an opportunity for engagement and growth.

Technology adoption for outcome-focused performance management

In this new, more agile organisation, it is important that performance management shifts in focus from process to outcome. By simplifying the process and becoming more user-friendly, managers are able to actually focus on what really matters – the employees. Up-to-date HR technology allows managers to keep up with the production of meaningful information so that they can pay attention to driving performance outcomes, not focusing on processes and paperwork.

Employee accountability

Cy Wakeman (Contributor to Forbes) discusses the employee value: current performance plus future potential minus emotional expensiveness. It puts the responsibility in the hands of the employee, rather than the manager, to determine what the performance review will look like. The results will be a reflection of an employee’s own hard work rather than a reflection of a manager’s ability to hold an employee accountable for basic responsibilities.

This will require employees to adopt a new mind-set and focus on initiating conversations, requesting feedback regularly, and making adjustments as necessary to ensure that there are no surprises and they are staying in control of their performance. At the end of the day, it is the employee who is primarily responsible for the outcome of a performance review, not the manager. By enforcing this practice and mind-set, organisations will continue towards agile.



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