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Reinventing Performance Management Is More than Simply Ditching Your Appraisal Process

It’s very easy to say ‘let’s ditch the annual performance management appraisal process’, but what does that really mean? What should it look like? Where should we start? It’s not an easy transition and to change a major human resources program like performance management, we need to be sure of what we do want and what we don’t want to find the right solution. We also have to think about the other programs linked to performance management, like compensation, development, and feedback.

For too long we have relied on an annual performance management appraisal process that has included a six-month review, with this only producing sub-optimal performance outcomes for the organization. We have reported before the cost, the time spent, and the bottom-line results being less than desirable. Mercer reported that even though there is very little appetite for annual appraisals many companies are still not sure of what to do and how to change. The existing legacy technologies and programs are not evolving fast enough either for companies to see a real shift in what they want.

Enter Emotie! We have brought to the market a new way for performance management, or in our case a disruptive performance management approach by turning performance on its head. When we embarked on our passion to change performance management, we started with a blank sheet of paper and asked ourselves these questions:

  • What is our case for change?

  • What needs to change?

  • What must we keep?

  • What works well?

  • What does not work well?

  • What’s critical for business performance?

  • What’s critical for managers and employees?

  • What are the key interdependencies?

For us, the performance management landscape is broad and by searching for the right answers to the questions above we are well on our way to making a change. In addition to the questions there are three areas for us all to work through to ensure we don’t repeat the same mistakes and not get it right for all concerned.

One size does not fit all

We are no longer in the cookie-cutter phase of performance management. The typical annual appraisal process is no longer the best choice for the future as we have discussed. What works now for one organization may very well not work for another. Flexibility and scalability are very important components of any new process. For example, some organizations don’t want to measure performance against goals and objectives and have moved away from that altogether. Others have implemented a hybrid of the annual appraisal process by simply adding in more regular check-ins.

In any change being made, it's good to take a step back, review the situation, and see what is going to work best for your organization. We certainly believe it has to include more than frequent check-ins. It has to engage employees and managers and produce high-performance outcomes.

It’s more than an appraisal form on a technology platform

This is what not to do…find a solution that looks like a form on a technology platform that does little more than automate the process in a somewhat user-friendly way. For people who have managed performance and had it done to them, like us, we want more than a time-consuming technology. We don’t want to see lots of data fields to complete. We need more than this and we know that the performance does not improve by automating the appraisal form.

Think about what needs to change…and a clunky, time-consuming process is at the top. This was certainly one of our key factors for change. Don’t make the same mistakes, think outside the box and be very clear that a word or excel document does not make a case for change.

Consider the whole person

At Emotie, we consider the whole person, not just an employee’s performance results. This was and still is a key driver for us. There are direct correlations between performance, engagement, and employee wellbeing. If an employee is performing well, they are generally feeling good and feeling motivated and engaged, and vice versa. As organizations, we can no longer sit on the sidelines and hope our employees are feeling ok. There is so much information now about mental health in the workplace, so the question to ask now is ‘how can managers support their employees to be the first point of call to know if an employee has the energy to perform, is feeling ok and is fully engaged in the process or not’.

Whether you are starting this journey for change or need to further improve your performance management initiative, there is always more to think about to ensure we are doing all we can to manage the whole person and bring about change for the better.

We are continually evolving our thinking and will continue to do so for the long term to ensure performance management is better for all concerned. We have made a major leap forward to combine performance management with employee engagement and wellbeing to bring about a more unique manager and employee experience to produce stronger performance management outcomes. And now we are further developing our blue sky vision for greater things.


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