Starting continuous performance management can be difficult to do. While it can have huge benefits on your company's culture and improve employee effectiveness, most people don't know how to start using it in their company.
As with most things, the best way to achieve success is to get the upper management on board! When the leaders are all invested in the success of Continuous Performance, the employees will follow their example and get excited about the process too.
It is important for managers to grasp the vision and purpose of Continuous Performance because they will also be using this process to help them evaluate themselves and progress along their own pathways.
Change is hard! Initially, it will be rough because people are used to doing things a certain way, so it’s important to know the benefits and impact on the long-term health of the organization.
As you start to enact continuous performance, here are some ways to help get your managers on board with change.
Help Management see the Benefits
Share the benefits of continuous performance management! Continuous Performance will give your managers multiple ways to drive results while staying on budget and schedule. These benefits include:
More Engaging Communication: Managers are able to communicate with employees in a more interactive way and both sides will be able to give and receive relevant feedback. The entire performance management cycle more effective and sustainable as both sides benefit from regular conversation.
Nelson Sherwin, Manager of PEO feels that continuous performance helps communication in the workplace. He says,
"We’ve switched to an approach where we have frequent “mini” discussions, in an informal setting. I approach employees with many of the usual questions or categories and provide feedback as we go, in order to ensure maximum efficiency. Open, transparent communication is such an important part of management, so I’m happy to be constantly communicating with everyone and letting them know what’s working, what isn’t, where they’re excelling, and what they need to work on. I personally believe the changes have been positive since we’ve implemented this, and the feedback has been nothing but positive from the employees."
Efficient Problem Solving: Instead of all the praise and critique being crammed together in an annual or semi-annual assessment, problems are addressed as they appear and change is implemented as soon as possible. This allows the company to focus on future opportunities instead of gathering all the problems and mistakes that accumulate over the year.
Accurate Performance Info: Employees know exactly where they stand and because they will receive meaningful encouragement or guidance based on their day-to-day task completion. Managers have a more comprehensive picture of the employees’ ability and performance. Course adjustments can be made in a timely manner allowing for improved performance and engagement with employees.
Identify Missing Roles and Skills Quicker: Continuous performance allows managers to detect whether employee performance is not improving because of lack of skills or gaps within the organization. Once these are identified, the company can implement training to develop the employees or hiring to fill in the needed roles.
Generally speaking, Continuous Performance will allow managers to fulfill their roles and responsibilities better. With a clear system of gathering and using feedback, managers will be able to lead their team more efficiently and confidently knowing what is needed to help employees achieve their goals. The consistent review process will remove the need for the traditional annual review and allow managers to focus on helping employees grow for the overall success of the company. No matter how good performance is, there is always the potential to improve it with change.
Besides showing the benefits, it can also be helpful if upper management is clear on the dangers of not having a continuous performance management program in place. Walk them through how not implementing CP will negatively affect the organization's capability to evolve and remain competitive in a quickly changing industry.
Adjust the Frequency of Review
Doing an annual performance review with employees is already hard enough, how can managers be expected to be excited about continuous performance reviews all the time? This can be a difficult thing to adjust to, so don’t expect perfection right from the start.
It can be helpful to start continuous performance at a lower frequency and then slowly increase the level of feedback and communication as the managers become accustomed to the processes.
Having proper automated software to schedule out notifications and remind them when a review is needed can be very helpful. Automation of this process will allow managers to easily collect feedback and find time to process it. Establish a set schedule to help clarify expectations and get them into the habit of continuous performance.
Keep up Communication with Managers Throughout the Process
Throughout the course of the of implementing continuous performance into the company, it is critical to keep a dialogue going with the managers. Engage them frequently to see how they are progressing with making the changes and address problems that may have come up. Empower your managers by showing that you truly care about their opinions and trust in their ability.
As the purpose of CP is to gather and use employee feedback, be sure to get your manager’s feedback as well. Show the benefits of continuous performance by welcoming their feedback in the implementation process. As you gain insights from their perspective and adjust your approach, you will be strengthening their resolve to sustain the change.
As your management team begins to see results from continuous performance, encourage them to share with each other what they are doing to help employees adapt to the process. Encourage communication between different departments as results will vary from team to team. As your managers network with one another, they may discover new ways to improve the acceptance rate across different departments and teams. Cross collaboration and communication between managers will allow everyone to access a greater number of methods to help deliver the best results. The process of continuous performance will make your managers accountable to you and upper management just as it will make employees accountable to them.
Be Transparent Throughout the Process
As your company adopts to continuous performance, be sure to share not only the successes but also the problems that may come up. Not every manager will be able to adjust to the process right away. Being transparent with your employees will allow them to more comfortable about sharing the challenges they run into with you. This will allow you to get a clear picture of the issues and help you resolve them more quickly.
Besides that, by committing to be open and honest, you will build up your manager’s trust and goodwill in you. They, in turn, will follow your example to manage their teams with the transparency and accountability that is needed for continuous performance to succeed.
Utilize the CHRO
There are two key people in the organization from whom employees want to hear from about the change: the person they report to and the leader at the top. It can be hard to implement change if upper management is saying one thing while the employee’s manager says something else. Leadership should be united and clear about the features and qualifications of performance management.The CHRO is usually the role that deals with managing human resources. CHRO manages organizational development and implementing policies of change to improve the overall efficiency of the company. By getting the CHRO on board, you will better be able to create a united front from which to work from. Starting from the very top will lend more credibility to the process of continuous performance with all levels of management and employees too.