Webinar reveals how to unlock growth in your people, using technology as the enabler

Behaviour should be driven by meaning, purpose and pay-off for each individual under “performance engagement”.

The concept of performance management is taking on a new hue, with the historic compliance-based approach moving to a human-centric approach using the power of conversations to connect with employees.

This was revealed during a CHRO webinar, titled Performance management reboot: Unlocking growth through meaningful conversations.
Carol Koffman, head of performance management at Standard Bank, set the scene on the financial institution’s journey to employee growth and performance being driven from within, using technology as the enabler for change.

“Performance management is a loaded topic that has been spoken about almost as an annoyance or a puzzle. The landscape, research and articles have tended to stay in the realm of ratings and formulaic descriptors. Discussions were singular and ringfenced, with employees and business not sticking to what they decided,” she explained.

That system is now being changed entirely, largely due to a better understanding what the concept of performance management means to an organisation.

“We have been really successful in defining the philosophy. There is no policy. The philosophy tells you what it means and the purpose, which is all underpinned with guiding principles on what is important to us. This is why I like to talk about performance engagement rather than performance management,” Carol added.

Meaning, purpose and pay-off on an individual level, all of which are business directed, are important factors to take into account.
“It should be self-directed and self-owned. It’s not an event that happens at the end of the year, where the person must gather evidence and justify what they have done. It’s something you do every day,” she advised.

In addition, attendees were advised to look at performance management as a coaching and learning process, rather than a compliance, “big stick” approach to managing employees.

“When we look at the landscape of performance management and why it doesn’t work, we find that there is a stigma or historical notion that it is about catching people out or a process to manage poor performance. Once you move to a growth concept mindset then you can see a better version of who you are, contribute to the organisation and stay relevant,” she explained.

In this context, a differentiation was made between employee relations and performance management.

Mindset change
So, when performance management doesn’t work or reaches a conclusion, then it loops into the employee relations or dispute issues around conduct, discipline, pay and ratings.

“There’s a big mindset change that needs to be made,” she noted.

This also applies to leadership in an organisation, which then starts to see its role as that of an influencer and coach.

“Leaders must be accountable for what they want to drive. They have to lead by example in terms of how the philosophy is implemented through continuous engagement and conversations, with the technology enabling the process,” Carol explained.

She further provided a practical example of how values-based behaviour metrics have been incorporated into performance management.

“For example, as I am talking now, I can send a feedback note through Outlook and tag behaviour that I have seen on this webinar. The individual tagged can like it and share with the rest of the organisation. It then becomes part of the conversation and is visible to everyone in the group,” Carol explained.

The values-based behaviours incorporated into the performance management system has associated descriptors so all employees have the same understanding.

“Our Tandem has rich data, which is always on and accessible from any device, integrated with other data sets on employee engagement and business performance. Performance management can now be seen as an enabler of ROI on human capital and how it contributes to the business,” she added.

Aisling Teillard, CEO of Our Tandem, added that the flexibility of a performance management system should be an important consideration.

“Previously, performance management was more a compliance orientated tool that forced the use of the same framework. It is no longer about one method fits all and performance management doesn’t have to be the same for everybody in the organisation,” she said.

This is why it is important for an organisation to spend time on the design phase, understanding the business, the culture, the current situation and future requirements.

“In manufacturing, for example, there may be practical considerations like time and access to computers. In this scenario, you could use an app, and audio and deliver feedback on a different basis compared to other divisions in the organisation.

“Then there may be intergenerational workforce demographics to consider. Some profiles need more feedback than others. The data starts to show us useful information and we can then build a minimum viable product for consistent standards and the data can help to map out the employee experience, which will be different for a graduate compared to an employee who has been at the company for 10 years,” she explained.

According to Carol, the system has already started delivering insights on its 46,000 employees, further driving right behaviours.

“We are now also using nudge theory based on behaviour science principles. When the data shows that people are not having frequent conversations or approving goals, it sends nudges and coaching tips on feedback, phrasing information, etc. In this way, we make our performance management solution relevant, and not judging people or trying to make them look bad,” she said.