Jason Averbrook, CEO and Co-founder of LeapGen, and Laura Seamans, VP of Organizational Effectiveness for ACT, recently shared their experiences and insights during a webinar called “Workplace Engagement Decoded” moderated by HighGround Chief Engagement Officer, Andee Harris. During the session, Andee walked through some findings from a recent HighGround data study that surveyed employees and managers, asking them to score the efficacy of current performance management processes.
Even though the HighGround study found employees and managers prefer a more frequent cadence for performance conversations, a poll of webinar attendees revealed that 44% of respondents still have performance conversations just once a year. So how can HR and organizations deliver the ongoing approach that managers and employees want? Laura and Jason gave this advice:
A One-Size-Fits-All Approach Will Not Work.
What do DNA and peanut butter have to do with performance management? Jason explained companies each have a “unique DNA signature” and because of this, they can’t expect another company’s strategy to work for them. On top of that, he said some organizations mistakenly embrace “the peanut butter approach,” where one blanket process applies to every department, location and team.
The takeaway? The transition to ongoing performance management can and should be exclusive to your company. Going even further, every team has different needs and work styles. Sales works differently than finance so goal-setting, feedback and coaching conversation cadences should be different for each. Laura advised attendees to “meet people where they are” and tailor processes to help boost internal adoption.
If Something Doesn’t Work, Change It.
Laura stressed that adjustments to your original strategy should be expected and embraced. “It’s not a linear or prescriptive approach,” Laura explained. She and her team continually monitor whether or not new processes are working. If they find quarterly goals make sense for one department but not another, they adjust. These real-time adjustments were possible because they had established a dialogue early in the transition. In fact, Laura’s team met with almost 300 internal stakeholders before the launch. Their performance management processes are now agile, and so is their maintenance of the program.
What We Learned
So while there might be a gap between what employees and managers expect from performance management processes and an organization’s ability to deliver it, change is possible. Laura and Jason provided reassurance and firsthand examples to lead more companies toward ongoing performance management improved employee engagement.