Performance management: Shifting the conversation



Are your employees meeting their goals? Is their work improving over time?

By shifting the conversation away from systems and processes towards the individual, our employees understand their strengths and how to use them to achieve their clearly defined and agreed priorities. We have heard from our staff that through receiving regular coaching and feedback, as well as implementing specific actions, they are able to achieve expectations, find ways to enhance their performance over time and grow.

Our people say that receiving real-time feedback on an ongoing basis allows them to know exactly where they stand. Performance, alignment and focus improve when a team has understandable objectives.

How do you understand where your employees are succeeding – and falling short? How do you keep track of your employees’ work, identify where they need to improve, and ensure they’re growing with the organisation?

Through regular meaningful conversations with key stakeholders, we can quickly assess areas of improvement and where interventions are needed, steer our people back to success. In addition to direct supervisors, our people are assigned a career counsellor who coaches and guides them on actions to grow.

Being a data-led organisation, there are integrated tools that can be leveraged to track real-time data and insights that enable transparent and meaningful conversations.

How have you tackled performance management in your organisation? Such as: set clear employee goals that align with company objectives, understanding performance analytics, overcoming and avoiding burnout on your team?

Accenture’s performance management model had effectively driven a high-performance culture for many years, but as our business evolved and diversified, we needed a change in our performance management model. We could no longer evolve the performance management model we had, and had to completely rethink it.

We wanted our performance experience to be simple for our complex, diverse organisation; people-centered for this digital and social era; flexible for varied needs across our unique and distinct businesses; and collaborative for our highly networked organisation.

We asked ourselves the question on how we help our people achieve their best performance and through the research done, we understood that great performance happens when people bring the best of who they are to what they do.

Our approach to performance management is one that focuses on the individual leveraging off their strengths to achieve clearly defined priorities. Through regular feedback combined with focused actions, we believe our people can achieve their full potential.

Our leaders create priorities that are visible across the organisation and that are aligned to the overall business strategy. This fosters a collaborative and transparent culture that results in an alignment of goals being driven through all facets of our organisation.

We also understand the importance of creating an environment where people can bring their whole selves to work and the importance that a collaborative engaging environment has on increasing performance. Our truly human approach encourages us to take care of ourselves — body, heart, mind and soul — so that we can stay energised and be our best, both professionally and personally.

Technology plays a key role in supporting this; however, how we leverage off this can significantly impact the overall success of this change. Using technology to support insightful conversations and creating an engaging environment is the shift required.

Which secrets to performance management can you share with the HR community?

When it comes to performance management, employees are facing a disconnect between the technologies available to them in their personal lives and those at work. We live much of our lives through social media. We are able to react to things almost instantly, as they happen. But when we enter the workplace, it feels as if we are going back in time.

We use performance management methods and tools that are mostly retrogressive — written or oral reviews with occasional ad-hoc conversations. Remediation takes place months after a particular behaviour occurs. Training interventions take so long to schedule they end up being irrelevant.

But good news is at hand. Performance management is coming to life through advanced digital technologies that are revolutionising workforce management as we know it.

Through analytics and machine learning, a new generation of workforce technologies is helping leaders guide workers in a more timeous way — and helping people take a more active role in managing their own performance and careers.

New tools and apps help people readily find learning sources and mentors, supporting just-in-time skill building, collaboration and real-time feedback. Technology-enabled performance management is far more comprehensive and holistic. It’s focused on maximising people development, improving the performance of individuals and the entire organisation. It is the future of work.

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