Like many elements in Human Resources, practices in performance management are evolving. Technology advancement has led to the automation of certain functions, which allows for more organizational focus on growth. Additionally, COVID-19 has uniquely impacted how we address performance management. Some of those impacts may be long lasting. Elements in performance management we will discuss in this Astronology® include the following:
- Ongoing Feedback vs. Annual Reviews
- New Hire Onboarding
- The Human Experience and Mental Wellbeing
Ongoing Feedback vs. Annual Reviews
As mentioned in our June 2020 Astronology® article, increased communication results in higher engagement and higher morale at work. As a result, many organizations are shifting away from traditional annual performance appraisals and are adopting a continuous feedback approach. The ever-growing workforce of Millennial and Gen Z employees makes the shift necessary, as these groups are accustomed to constant feedback and response. In fact, ongoing feedback creates a constant dialogue which helps leaders address employee uncertainty and provides the necessary tools for employees to improve their skills and develop in line with an organization’s goals.
More evidence that organizations are slowly moving away from the “one-and-done” evaluation model includes a comparison of Workhuman survey results from 2016 and 2019. The 2016 survey reported an estimated 82% of workers saying their company conducts annual reviews. However, three years later the same survey reported only 54% of workers saying their organization uses annual reviews. Rod Adams, US And Mexico talent acquisition leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers, mentions in a SHRM article, “At PwC, we believe in the power of frequent, informal feedback. Allowing for regular feedback conversations, versus the traditional annual review, helps individuals to maximize their strengths, quickly close gaps, and drive learning and development in real-time throughout the year.”
The COVID-19 pandemic compelled organizations to find ways to keep their teams motivated even while under the emotional, mental, and physical strain of the global pandemic. One such attempt was increasing the frequency of communication among workers and leadership. Some organizations had daily team lunch check-ins; other organizations held weekly happy hours. In addition, some organizations designed weekly one-on-one meetings ranging from 15 to 30 minutes to go over project necessities & successes and to address performance issues. Some organizations have found the practical value in these weekly meetings and, as a result, plan to continue these one-on-one meetings even after everyone “returns to work.”
New Hire Onboarding
A major challenge HR leaders and managers are facing is onboarding new hires during a pandemic. While the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been helpful in giving guidance on how to handle the legal aspects of onboarding, such as completing the I-9 remotely, there are still onboarding processes that were normally done in person that now must be done remotely. Automating as much of these processes as possible will save your HR team a lot of time, ensuring enough time to better explain policies, culture, and expectations, instead of just routine paperwork.
The Human Experience and Mental Wellbeing
According to a December 2020 report from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, 3.5 million people, or 2.3% of the workforce, quit their jobs in 2020. Why? With the shift to remote work, organizations discovered they were often blind to the challenges their employees were facing. Oftentimes they were not aware that adjustments were needed in order to keep employees engaged. Management and HR leaders have to remember the human experience and provide some form of mental wellbeing. As mentioned earlier, continuous feedback and increased communication will allow leaders to see where they can help their employees champion their “new normal” and set goals in order to remain engaged with their organization.
Prior to the pandemic and the resulting rise in remote work, businesses had a number of options to help employees maintain well-being, through programs such as free gym memberships and healthy eating options in the workplace. Organizations have continued these initiatives on a digital level by investing in virtual classes and online mental health workshops, and by making a variety of online mental health resources available to their staff members. These remote wellbeing resources keep employees engaged and motivated.
What new performance management practices has your organization adopted due to our current world circumstances? Are there any new adjustments mentioned here you would like to see implemented at your organization? Share your thoughts in the comment box below!