Read onto find out the truth about e-performance management systems.
Computer says yes
Performance management can be made much easier, more effective and more motivating by the use of technology. Unfortunately this can mean that the performance management process is driven by technology rather than the performance needs of the organisation and the development needs of the individuals. Make sure that the solution you choose puts performance rather than developers at its heart.
There’s a lot to be said about performance management systems, but not all of it is helpful or relevant. Watch out for people who tell you everything and anything about performance management and the technology that supports it without focusing on your needs. It’s your organisation’s performance that needs managing, focus on that rather than what the vendor wants to tell you.
The dark side
Performance management systems can be a powerful organisational development tool, they can also be used destructively. Make sure that everyone is clear about why you are developing a performance management system, and what it will be used for. Be clear about who will have access to what data and why at the outset and there’s less chance of your performance management system going astray.
The kitchen sink
The internet is big, very, very big. It contains lots of information, lots and lots of information, more than you could ever want, and more than you could ever make sense of. Just because your performance management system is online doesn’t mean it has to do everything. Think carefully about what you need to really improve before designing your system. Make sure that differing needs from differing departments and individuals are carefully considered before adding extra functionality.
Communication is vital for the success of any organisational development project and online performance management systems are no different. Managers may look forward to a new life where they don’t have to talk about performance, but your system should enable dialogue, not delete it. Make sure that you’ve planned support for managers and made clear their responsibilities.
Who says I’m paranoid?
Employees may fear the introduction of an online performance system, it can feel rather ‘Big Brother’ to have all of your performance and development information held in a database. Before implementing an online system, make sure you have a clear communication plan to explain to employees what is happening, why, and how it will benefit them. Be prepared for resistance and provide opportunities for questions and debate.
Online performance management systems can present attractive charts and reports, with traffic light systems and plenty of dials. Unfortunately sometimes these take precedence over what really matters – useful information that helps people understand and improve their performance, manage their teams and plan for the future. Be careful not to be seduced by graphics, and to focus on how information can be used.
Tick VG gold star
Designing, setting up, and rolling out an online performance management system is an interesting, engaging and exciting project. Unfortunately this can mean that as soon as it’s deployed to the business it’s celebrated then forgotten about. Plan time and resources to support people once the system goes live and be sure to put in place a review plan to ensure that everything works and that amendments can be made as the business grows and changes.
Designing a system that works for you is time consuming, but it’s time well spent. An off the shelf system may work for other people, but might not hit the spot for you. If you’re collecting data that you don’t need and producing reports that no-one needs then you’re just processing rubbish, which is an expensive activity and won’t feed your performance.
Claudine McClean MCIPD, is the Lead Consultant at Predaptive OD.