The HR world is changing fast. Tech is changing, talent is changing, and the future of work will look starkly different than in decades past.
Understandably, many business leaders are rethinking their performance management systems in an attempt to modernize their approach—and there's no shortage of tools out there to help them do it. But 'new' doesn't always mean 'effective'.
Before you embark on a complete overhaul of your performance management process, make sure you have a system that is extremely easy for your people to use. Because a performance management solution your employees actually enjoy using is the only surefire way to make sure reviews are happening when they're supposed to.
Communication vs. consistency
We all know it's important to rally your people around your goals, but too many business leaders launch a new initiative, then go straight back to the same old habits.
Even if you did a stellar job communicating the vision behind your performance management upgrade, your people need to see strong, consistent action to back that up. And that kind of follow through can't happen if your appraisal tools aren't adapted to the day-to-day rhythm and workflows of your office.
Choosing a performance management system that enhances your current best practices is crucial to ensuring reviews get done on a regular basis. A great performance management tool should be dead easy for your people to use and keep using. And as a big cherry on top, a user-friendly system that's a total breeze to use is a much easier sell internally.
Because as awesome as your vision is, most business users are caught up in the daily pressures of goals, deadlines, etc.—they won't always stop to think about why performance reviews are important. What they really want is a fast, easy way to give feedback and a tool that’s fun to use.
Features vs. everyday practicality
Most performance management systems are built around the "hottest new idea in talent management", without deeper consideration for how an organization will actually use the tool day-to-day.
But limiting your performance management process to the latest HR dogma can definitely impede your success in the future when the CEO wants to try something else. On the flip side, many software vendors (especially expensive enterprise products) have adapted to the needs of IT buyers, while overlooking the needs of the business end user. Instead of building for optimal usability at the ground level, they accommodate requests for complex features and requirements, even if those requests are only useful for a handful of users.
Product teams end up having to pile on extra features in order to please a select few clients. The result is a clunky, complex, and difficult to navigate tool—one that most business users conveniently "forget" to use it.
Great performance management software will be lean, dynamic and flexible enough to adapt to the real-world workflows within your organization—all without ever losing sight of the most important goal: Making performance reviews easy and effective for all business users.
The importance of ease of use
According to McKinsey, only 52% of executives said the way they spent their time matched their organizations’ strategic priorities. Managers typically spend 30-60% of their time on administrative tasks and meetings, when they could be using that time to coach their teams or make progress on big picture projects that drive value to the company's bottom line.
Employee performance is at the core of any winning business strategy, and if you want to make sure it's playing out how it's supposed to, it's got to feel like a joy, not another admin headache. That means it must be fun and simple to use.
After all, why even have a performance management system if no one's using it?