October 12, 2020, Comment off

Did Your Performance Management Process Change During COVID-19? Should it?

If we have learned anything from the past seven months, we’ve learned flexibility, pivoting, agility and resilience. With many employees still working remotely and with less frequent occasions to interact with their managers, tracking performance goals determined at the beginning of the year has become increasingly difficult. The pandemic most likely created a shift or change in your company’s business objectives that rendered old metrics invalid and unattainable.

Typical performance management systems don’t always address uncertain times. Fortunately, we aren’t in a pandemic very often. However, other disruptions to a business or the industry your business is in create turmoil for performance management systems and ultimately, productivity and morale.

What Options Should Companies Consider?

Here are three essential characteristics outlined by the Gallup organization.

Agile Goals

Performance management should be filled with ongoing opportunities for collaboration and adaptation throughout the review period.

Ongoing Conversation

Rather than receiving feedback once a year, managers should have and encourage a cadence for conversations, prioritization, and outcomes.

Dynamic Adjustments to Accountability and Incentives

Clearly defining expectations and creating flexible and task-based metrics as work or the environment changes helps employees understand what activities are most important to the company’s success.

Gone are the days of ‘setting it and forgetting it.’ According to Ben Wigert, director of research and strategy, workplace management and Heather Barrett, senior consultant, both with Gallup “Static performance reviews, annual goals and infrequent feedback never really cut it before the crisis, but they certainly won’t cut it now. It’s time to make a change.” They go on to say ”Now is the time to honor everyone’s contributions and challenges, and talk about how we’re going to move forward together…It’s time to burn the boats, leave old performance practices behind, and create a performance management strategy that is adaptive, responsive and calibrated to the new workplace.”

Your employees are your greatest asset and they bring their very best to work when they feel connected to the team and the mission, have ongoing conversations with their manager on strategic priorities and insights, and receive timely feedback and evaluations. We are still in uncharted territory. Seeing your workforce through this new lens can improve employee engagement and increase productivity.