How to drive culture, set clear goals and build continuous feedback into a business performance management system
There are a wide variety of types of performance management system available to businesses. Understanding what drives the company helps business leaders to choose the right approach with the right tools.
A business performance management system is ideal for companies looking to improve insights into the architecture of the organization. Such a system helps to clarify goals within the context of the company’s overall strategy. This helps ensure individuals and teams continue to grow on a path that is aligned to the core vision.
Understanding the organization – mission and culture
Corporate culture is the only sustainable competitive advantage that is completely within the control of the entrepreneur. Develop a strong corporate culture first and foremost.David Cummings, Co-founder of Pardot
Definitions of a company’s culture can often be difficult to pin down. Culture reflects the core beliefs of an organization, and as such is prone to change over time and a company grows. Taking the time to articulate the core values of an organization can help achieve much greater alignment between employees and business owners.
Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, explained how “changing the culture – opening it up for quantum change – means constantly asking not how fast am I going, how well am I doing versus how well I did a year or two before, but rather, how fast and how well am I doing versus the world outside. Are we moving faster, are we doing better than that external standard?”
Defining the company’s core values
The first thing to understand about company values is that they exist within the core framework of the organization. Whether or not they have been successfully articulated, these values guided the establishment of the company. As such, the leadership team is in the perfect position to discuss exactly what these are and how they can be expressed.
Some examples of core values are:
- Continually striving for perfection
- Doing the right thing
- Leading with compassion
- Encouraging individual ability and creativity
- Treating everyone with respect
- Oriented toward growth
- Encourages teamwork
Whatever core values are selected to best represent an organization, they should underpin the fundamental “why” of the organization’s purpose. Culture shouldn’t simply represent the “what” of a company’s surface functions but instead, reflect the ethos which drives the engine.
Promoting core values through a business performance management system
Once the core mission and values have been determined, they need to be clearly expressed throughout the workforce. This can be achieved through:
Customizing your performance management tools and branding across the app can help boost the visibility of cultural values. Make sure these are consistent across processes and throughout a multi-channel communications platform.
The ideal time to articulate cultural values is during the onboarding phase. New employees need to be immediately brought up to speed on what is expected of them. Onboarding provides an opportunity for HR leaders and managers to deliver the necessary documentation which outlines the core mission and expected behaviours.
Company news feeds.
Are the values of the company changing over time? What successes has the business experienced it can share with the workforce? A digital news feed allows leaders to promote positive messages about the company’s achievements and celebrate the wins which foster enthusiasm.
Putting culture feedback systems in place
Defining and improving company culture is a process that should involve everyone in an organization. Culture feedback mechanisms can be used to bolster alignment and give business leaders additional insights into how their mission and values can be updated to better reflect individual and team experiences.
Performance management tools can allow HR administrators and managers to set up customized employee sentiment analysis, for instance, Employee Net Promoter Scores (eNPS). Data from these surveys can assist with the realignment of core values, identifying problem areas that need to be addressed.
Business performance management system – an overview of company resources
Maximizing the raw potential of an organization requires a deep understanding of its constituent parts. A production line needs a complete inventory of the resources available. Similarly, business leaders and executives need an overview of their company’s people resources.
A performance management system can bring into play tools that offer this necessary overview of available human capital. From this, HR leaders and managers can allocate the necessary resources to further drive performance and gain optimal results.
Building a people database and organizational charts
HR administration tools allow users to build a people database, bringing pertinent information about an employee’s records under one roof. Combining this with comprehensive departmental and organizational charts puts the individual into a broader context.
These charts give HR leaders and managers insight into the organization’s composition at a glance. The distribution of roles and abilities can be viewed in real-time, with smart filters honing in on specific parameters. Performance management tools allow users to tailor charts according to the requirements of their organization’s structure.
Understanding how skills are distributed throughout the workforce
Organizational charts and people databases can be further augmented with the introduction of skills databases. Coaching and mentoring decisions are greatly improved when managers are able to quickly identify existing employees with the right talents.
Likewise, decisions about where to allocate resources for training and development can be made confidently. Skills gaps that may affect under-performance are understood, and complimentary talent stacks found in high performing employees can be replicated.
Selecting goals and consolidating data
Goals and objectives are necessary to focus individual and team energy and resources in the right place. They can also help ensure employees are aligned in their ambitions with the business, so that individual and company objectives work together in tandem.
Goal alignment – bringing the employee and company towards a shared vision
Aligning the employee’s expectations with the culture of the company is the first step towards achieving the best results. Bringing an additional layer of alignment to their goals and objectives is the next step towards achieving company strategy.
Start by creating meaningful goals which bring the employee’s professional development in line with the business’s core objectives. This will help them to prioritize their existing work to improve retention and execution. Setting goals that allow the individual to feel connected to the company’s mission creates investment and responsibility.
The onboarding phase allows HR leaders and managers to clarify the nature of their role in the company. By working closely with employees when setting goals, organizations are more likely to outperform the competition.
From objectives and key results to key performance indicators – setting the right metrics for success
Understanding how effectively progress is being made towards these goals requires clear metrics. These objectives and key results (OKRs) and key performance indicators (KPIs) can be tracked in real-time through performance management tools.
Some questions to consider when establishing these metrics include:
- Do they offer consistent insights into operational aspects of the business?
- Can this data be gathered in a timely manner?
- Are they designed to reflect the effectiveness of the business?
- Can this data be analysed to identify emerging patterns or trends?
- Is this information presented in a useful manner which can assist management in decision making?
Positive answers to each of these questions is important, regardless of whether these metrics relate to financial or non-financial terms. Clarity of goals ensures that a business performance management system is oriented towards delivering the best data possible.
The data gathered then needs to be understood if it is to be effectively acted upon. Performance management software provides the tools for breaking this information down into its useful constituents:
Consolidating and understanding data with analytics and reporting
There are a number of tools and techniques HR leaders and managers can use to better understand performance data. When used in combination, they offer a holistic overview of performance leading to actionable insights.
Tools for understanding metrics-based data include:
- Performance analytics and reports. Managers and team leaders can break down performance-related metrics via analytics and reports. These can be auto-generated so as little time as possible is required to process. Short- and long-term objectives can all be tracked to help keep employees focused on what matters most.
- Employee analytics and reports. If an employee is struggling to complete work by deadlines or facing other challenges affecting performance, HR tools can be utilised. Employee analytics and reports can hone in on absence and sickness patterns which need to be addressed to improve performance.
- Visual dashboards. The broad spectrum of data available to leaders and managers can be overwhelming. Visual dashboards can be customized to give insight into the relevant data and allow for a focused response.
Motivating better performance with regular feedback mechanisms
I strongly believe that missionaries make better products. They care more. For a missionary, it’s not just about the business. There has to be a business, and the business has to make sense, but that’s not why you do it. You do it because you have something meaningful that motivates you.Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO Amazon
The ultimate goal of data-driven decision making is to drive better performance. This data allows managers and employees to see precisely the aspects of performance which need to be addressed. Articulating this information clearly and concisely can be achieved through continuous feedback mechanisms.
Implementing continuous feedback processes
Continuous feedback can be accomplished in a variety of ways. When dealing with under-performing individuals, managers may wish to increase the frequency of feedback to keep a closer eye on progress.
At the same time, the high performing A-players within an organization shouldn’t be neglected. Understanding what drives good performance is just as important as rectifying negative behaviours.
Managers can gain these insights through continuous conversations. Ongoing feedback through regular check-ins and one2ones can:
- Build better engagement and strengthen relationships between managers and their employees. With the rise of remote working, keeping connected with staff at a human level is increasingly difficult.
- Improve job satisfaction. When employees receive feedback regularly they have a much clearer idea of their performance strengths and weaknesses. Knowing that their manager is taking an interest in their development boosts confidence.
- Lead to more efficient processes and outcomes. Regular feedback creates fewer opportunities for miscommunication and greater opportunities to take corrective action. It’s a fertile ground for discovering performance “hacks” which can get the job done faster.
Celebrating great performance with awards and recognition programs
The article from Gallup, The Power of Praise and Recognition, outlines the great costs to businesses that fail to recognize and engage their employees:
“Our estimates suggest that there are more than 22 million workers — in the United States alone — who are extremely negative or “actively disengaged.” This rampant negativity is not only disheartening, it’s expensive: It costs the U.S. economy between $250 and $300 billion every year in lost productivity alone. When you add workplace injury, illness, turnover, absences, and fraud, the cost could surpass $1 trillion per year, or nearly 10% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP).”
A business performance management system can radically counter this negative impact through a range of tools. Such tools can help increase productivity and engagement while improving loyalty and employee retention.
- Awards and recognition. Allow managers to offer rewards which employees can view in performance management dashboards. Peer-to-peer rewards schemes add an additional layer of visibility and can highlight great work management may have overlooked.
- Success circles. Bring an extra level of visualization to competencies with success circles. These pie charts are broken down into core competencies and achievements to give a clear representation of performance.
- Performance leaderboards. Create healthy competition with performance leaderboards. These help boost recognition and encourage replication of successful behaviours.
Integrating learning and development into an employee’s daily workflow
People skills databases and organizational charts can be used by HR leaders and managers to help guide decisions around learning and development. Understanding where skills are lacking – and which employees are competent in which skills – allows leaders to connect talented individuals with those who need help.
Learning and development can be integrated into an employee’s daily workflow in a variety of ways. These schemes should:
- Help ensure their personal development and unique set of skills are aligned with the organization.
- Be considered organizational priorities. Driving professional development, including consistently working towards training new leaders and managers.
- Efficiently allocate any training resources to the maximum number of relevant employees.
- Encourage peer-to-peer training and mentorship programs.
- Maximize performance management tools to create archives of resources, for instance to be used as part of onboarding.