Performance Management Best Practices for 2016 and Beyond

September 16, 2015

An increase in career mobility in the modern workforce has led to a change in the way organizations need to approach performance management. The generation of corporate movement is upon us and whether you believe it or not, your company is participating. In this climate of free agents and career movement companies need to rethink their talent and performance management approaches to better attract and engage top talent.

Historically, HR departments emphasized data as the backbone of performance management. HR tools were implemented to assist companies with the collection and analysis of data across several fields. The data gathered in each of these categories would help managers tell their employees what areas they needed to improve upon and how it affected their compensation and mobility. 

The above image represents the reality of today’s HR systems: the integration of all these areas of data into a single connected view of employee performance.

Yet this connected data reality isn't enough for companies to engage their employees. Generation X and Y want to learn, they want to be empowered and they want to move jobs more frequently.

Performance management goals have shifted: the emphasis is now on developing your talent, a focus which aligns with the desires of the new workforce of generation X and Y, as well as the shortages of talent. Your HR, data collection, and performance management techniques should be designed to support this goal of developing and engaging employees.

Creating the Irresistible Organization

Why does a focus on talent development make sense for this new approach to performance management? It creates an organizational culture that attracts top-level talent. When high-performing employees know that an organization's management encourages them to learn new skills through mentoring in a positive and meaningful environment, they want to work there and they want to stay there and grow.

Josh Bersin calls this type of company a "Simply Irresistible" organization.

To succeed in the current era where employees are increasingly on the move, you should apply these five concepts to your performance management structure.

The cultural emphasis needs to focus on empowerment, not “performance measurement”.

Let's go through each of the five attributes of the irresistible organization and discuss how you can embrace them into your culture to attract top talent:

  • Meaningful work: employees should be managed with enough autonomy to apply their talents in a unique way. There should be plenty of room for them to inject their own creativity and truly own the projects that they are assigned to.
  • Hands-on management: the goal here is twofold: first, you must manage with transparency. Be upfront and clear about what is expected from your employees and what you will provide. Second, you must incorporate coaching into your management, which means you help employees improve their skills. This is usually done through the creation of a formal mentoring program where employees can choose to develop skills from other areas of the organization and from the management team.
  • Positive work environment: Emphasize and frequently recognize the positive elements of what your team does. In simpler terms: more carrot, less stick.
  • Growth opportunity: this idea doesn’t necessarily refer to growth within the organization, although it can. Your management style should help employees grow through on-the-job coaching and support as well as self-directed learning initiatives.
  • Trust in leadership: for an employee to believe in what an organization does and truly commit to its mission, they have to trust that its leaders are doing the right thing. You should manage in a way that builds this trust by being transparent. Let your employees know that you are invested in their development even though you understand that they won't be with your organization forever.

Keep in mind that this approach to performance management and the cultural shift toward employee transparency and empowerment doesn't end when an employee leaves. You should stay connected to every employee who has worked at your organization by developing an engaging alumni network. Creating programs to facilitate a seamless transition into alumni status will allow you to reap other benefits of alumni engagement.

When your culture and your attitude toward employees focus on growth in a positive environment where employee goals are simple and transparent, it makes your workplace a magnet for the best and brightest employees.

For more information about how to use mentoring to improve employee engagement, download Insala's new 2015 Mentoring Benchmarking Survey Report.

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