Commercial

Performance Management in the Era of Remote and Hybrid Working

Athena Commercial
April 28, 2022

Hybrid working is now becoming commonplace within many organisations. Following the national lockdown, many were forced into this, but many also found that remote working had a plethora of benefits, namely cost saving but also, surprisingly, productivity. Employing remote working within your business comes with advantages like this as well as the ability to widen your talent pool, but it does also come with its disadvantages too. According to research, 32% of workers in the UK feel unable to switch off during their personal time due to feeling as if they’re not productive during the day. Performance management can also be a complex issue when not conducted correctly, and research demonstrates this. With 18% of UK workers feeling as if they are under surveillance, it’s clear that for a number of businesses, the complex issue of performance management has been intensified even more.

What is performance management?

Those in the workplace whom are responsible for ensuring optimal organisational performance will have potentially heard this phrase before.Typically undertaken under HR, but also expanding across many other business departments, performance management is the act of ensuring that the work force is leveraged to deliver value that aligns itself and works towards the business’s objectives. According to the CIPD, performance management is defined into three elements:

1)   The establishment of objectives whereby individuals and teams can understand their role in contributing to the organisation’s mission and strategy

2)   Improving performance across the organisation whether it be as an individual or a team

3)   Holding individuals and teams to account for their performance through reward or penalty

 

How can performance be measured effectively? 

SMART Goals

To manage performance effectively, metrics need to be specific.Most are aware of the acronym SMART, which refers to setting optimised objectives – and it still rings true. The measurements firstly need to be specific, as there is typically no “one size fits all” metric that can be introduced across all departments. So, for instance, performance measurements for sales teams would likely involve meeting quotas, sales volume and revenue growth. Whereas someone in production may be measured on the amount of products they make, waste percentage and efficiency.

They, of course, have to be measurable, which goes without saying. However, often many senior managers believe that they are measuring performance, but in reality, they’re not. For instance, measuring the number of hours an individual works doesn’t necessarily measure the performance, as while they may be working more hours than most, they may not be as productive as most too. Goals also need to be attainable, realistic and timely too, as do any KPIs you set for employees.

Universal Domains

According to Gallup’s extensive research, there are three domains in which success can be predicted. These include:

• Setting targets and achieving them (work)

• Working effectively with other colleagues (team)

• Interpreting work into its results (customer)

This framework of an employee’s work, team and customer are believed to be a key way in which performance can be managed across the business, which includes all departments.

 

Regular Conversations

Performance management was always a complex issue but it was made easier by the fact that senior managers could check in with staff at the water fountain or pop over to their work station for a quick catch up. Of course, now that working from home has become a favourable option, the ability for these quick check-ups have ceased, making the ever complicated performance management task even more complicated. This is why it’s important to incorporate regular conversations with your staff working from home. Staff can often feel isolated at home which can hinder productivity, hence it is vitally important for managers to regularly check in with employees and discuss their priorities, challenges, wellbeing and development. It is for this reason that many have adopted a hybrid method to working from home with specific office days and working from home days as part of the working week.

 

Regular Feedback

Likewise, with it being difficult for senior management to checkin with employees, it’s equally difficult for employees to check in with senior managers. That’s why it is essential that senior managers are on hand to provide regular feedback. We’ve all misunderstood an email from time to time, but often this can get rectified with regular feedback. If an employee doesn’t have regular feedback, they may be left working on a task and wasting a lot of time by either misunderstanding the request or simply committing more time than necessary. It’s therefore really important that senior management teams are on hand to nip the lack of (albeit unintentional) productivity in the bud with regular feedback. Moreover, this can help with motivation and job satisfaction; a study by Clutch revealed that 68% of those who receive accurate and consistent feedback from their manager reported fulfilment in their job.

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