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Performance Management Trends That Lead to Increased Engagement

Gone are the days of the annual written performance review and a one-time meeting between employee and manager.

Trends in human resources and performance management are moving towards programs and practices which emphasize ongoing communication and creating more of a connection and collaborative environment with employees. However, despite their evolution, performance management programs are still the key to employee engagement, productivity, and development. Employers are seeking to build a stronger bond with their employees; a connection which ties employees to the vision and mission of the organization and 89% of HR leaders believe that continuous feedback is the key to doing this and thus, one of the keys to success.

The Performance Management Revolution

As employers look to strengthen their connection to employees, continuous feedback is at the forefront of current performance management trends. With the unemployment rate at a 50 year low attracting and retaining employees is imperative.

To hire, attract and retain top talent, employers are using their performance management programs as a tool to foster a strong culture of employee engagement. With engagement being a top priority, continuous feedback becomes paramount.

Constant touchpoints with employees will link employees to the organization and show employees that their employer truly cares about their wellbeing and success. It also highlights how employees’ contributions make a difference within the organization – the main driver of employee engagement.

In the past, continuous feedback was left up to chance, falling into the hands of managers to talk to their employees as they felt necessary. Some managers excelled with this level communication and developed substantial relationships with their employees and others did the bare minimum, completing the annual performance review, filing it with HR, and never addressing performance again until the following year.

Staying Ahead of the Trends

Now, forward-thinking companies are formalizing programs to ensure all managers are giving, and all employee are getting, concrete continuous feedback. A 2017 report by Deloitte on Global Human Capital Trends found that the number of companies taking stock in their current performance management process and innovating these programs is on the rise, with 70% of companies looking to update their programs.

As part of these improvements, the vast majority of employers are looking to incorporate continuous or ongoing feedback. These programs can vary depending on the goals of the company. Some companies use a system of written “mini-reviews” to check-in at set times with their employees, whether that be quarterly, monthly, or driven by business initiatives, such as by a specific project. Other companies are using recognition programs as a way to ensure the employee-manager connection. In doing so, managers can highlight when employees have successes but can also address where they see development opportunities as well. This style of feedback provides timely acknowledgment or recommendations regarding specific behaviors.

Feedback That is Meaningful and Human

With the movement toward continuous feedback, there has been an increased emphasis on the quality of that feedback. To drive employee engagement, productivity, and overall satisfaction, feedback and recognition have to be valuable, specific and timely. Research has shown us that employees, especially millennial employees, want to feel a connection to the company and their work. Giving good feedback, even if it’s constructive, helps drive that connection. Empty feedback that doesn’t provide specific examples can feel as though it lacks merit. Employees want to understand what the feedback means and the “why” behind the advice. This information can tie them directly to the goals of the organization and deepening their connection and ability to make an impact.

Often managers are promoted to their positions because they are good at what they do. But they may lack the managerial skills to give feedback and engage their employees. With the growing importance of continuous and solid feedback, employers are taking action to ensure managers are trained and equipped with the skills necessary to use performance management to drive employee engagement.

Performance Management is One Piece of the Puzzle

Employee engagement is driven by an employee’s happiness and ability to be successful. Feedback alone, can’t drive engagement; it is one piece of the performance management puzzle. Training and development programs which align and support the performance management program help to solidify employee engagement further. As the workforce evolves, millennials strive to increase their skills, grow and enhance their knowledge, training and development programs are going to increase in importance and will help to support the feedback employees receive and the supporting development programs.

As the performance management evolution continues, so does the by-product of a more connected, engaged and productive workforce. Employees with a true connection to the company are driven to success, and those companies with progressive performance management programs will reap the benefits.

Learn more about how to adopt a performance management program that helps you meet your business goals and contact your OneDigital Consultant today.