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Using Innovative Performance Management Strategies to Empower Your Workforce

5 minute read

Members of a recent focus group discussed the importance of choosing the right HR and payroll solutions, and why it’s advantageous to create a learning organisation to enhance performance and talent in today’s dynamic organisations.

Let’s think about Peter Senge, Founder of Society for Organizational Learning for a moment. He is known for his work on learning organisations and systems thinking, and he is the author of works such as ‘The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization.” In this book he outlines five disciplines integral to creating learning organisations.

While artificial intelligence tools such as generative AI may help to support organisations and individuals, at the core of a learning organisation – one that constantly adopts a process of ongoing learning and innovation, is people. That includes its customers and partners. Let’s also not forget payroll and HR solutions. It’s not just about sales and marketing. However, digital tools play an increasingly important role in making sure operations run efficiently. This includes solutions to managing employee and corporate performance management.

DEFINE PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT                                                               

Such tools need to benefit individual employees, their teams, and the business as a whole. Our partners at OneAdvanced say that it’s important to define performance management – breaking it down into two categories. One is performance enablement, which they explain is about creating the conditions for your employees to thrive using the performance behaviours: e.g. goal, setting feedback, and having good quality conversations with your manager.

Then there is performance measurement, which traditionally many HR teams are focused on through the likes of an annual appraisal, for example, where you're trying to measure performance to drive critical decisions around your business, whether that's defining how you allocate pay and your budgets around pay, succession planning, or learning and development plans.


The trouble is that performance management makes most people shiver. Analysts at Deloitte, for example, say that 82% of organisations believe that performance management is not worth the time. Managers dislike it because they say it's too time consuming. Likewise, employees find it unfair. But when you get the balance right with performance enablement as well as performance measurement, OneAdvanced finds that top performers set 1.2 times more goals, and there is a significant amount of work with customers to understand the impact of them. The top performers are also more confident, engaged and have more conversations with their managers.

Here are some other findings from the focus group:

  • People who exit a business are two times more likely not to have set any goals or received any feedback.
  • Engaging with continuous feedback, agile goal setting, having good quality conversations, means that employees are likely to remain within the organisation, and perform within the organisation.
  • Digital tools are fast becoming the norm. Yet many customers are often doing things completely or partially in a hybrid fashion on paper, even though there is a mobile app for almost everything you can think about.
  • Millennials and Gen Z are stepping into the world of work and they have different expectations. Currently they account for around about a third (38%) of the workforce, but that’s going to increase to 58% in the coming years. They desire greater levels of flexibility and better balance between work and life. They also desire greater levels of communication and connectivity with their peers to build strong relationships in a modern hybrid working world.


People will always look for a convenient path. So, consider getting rid of the need for your people to use multiple platforms such as WhatsApp, Slack, or Google Docs... In other words, organisations should help to simplify their employees user journey experience and get them onboard with the digital technologies that the business wants them to use.

From the focus group, we identified that one big challenge is the use of completely separate performance management systems. The types of solutions currently being used include Talent Guard – a learning solution that is used for performance management. However, there is a preference from users for everything to be in one place – including for talent development reviews, and for putting structures in place to support regular conversations between employees and their managers.

Another common solution discussed in the focus group was SuccessFactors, Personal Development Review (PDR) but the panel said they want to move away from it as it is not very agile.. They want a digital tool to record outputs, and objectives. Additionally, there is also a need for functionality around continuous performance management, which supports more agility.. With PDR, gaps in data in the system also make it harder for users to make informed decisions, which is challenging.

Our panel discussed how their internal colleague surveys have shown there is a strong view that people are having continuous performance conversations, but with no real oversight of them, therefore either the conversations are predominately verbal or unrecorded.. The panel expressed an interest in moving towards a technology solution that brings together feedback, performance metrics, upskilling, communication and data insights.


A large challenge in businesses implementing performance management tools is to strike a balance between the level of consistency in performance metrics across individuals. How can you really validate one person's brilliance against someone else’s when each individual will have their own very clear goals, targets, metrics and so on, so forth? The metrics could be unfair to certain people. In fact, 61% of a performance rating is about the rate, not the it. That's why continuous performance management is so important. It allows for regular feedback and goal tracking so that these metrics can be personalised or tailored to each individual. So, if you're going on a performance management journey, start with defining what talent means in your organisation.

Share that widely amongst employees and managers, allow feedback, encourage conversations, set goals and objectives to encourage the right behaviours, and document them in a digital system. This will enable managers to provide employees with substantial information about their performance over the course of the year, and ensure that the performance rating is more equitable, while utilising a performance rating that is completely objective.

In conclusion, if supported in the right ways, employee experience and organisational learning can often be intrinsically linked to high levels of performance – of individuals and of the organisation itself. Technology can help to transform this experience by keeping a record of feedback and conversations that could lead to teams and their organisations building solutions. This might be apps or more human solutions based on employee wellbeing. With knowledge, there can be continuous improvement, development, and learning all around. Ultimately, creating a positive employee experience is not only beneficial for your people but also for the organisation's bottom line.


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