November 6, 2017

6 critical capabilities to make continuous performance management work in your organization

BY: Charles Watson
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We’re into the full swing of Q4. This is a time when projects ramp up, teams get built and rebuilt, hiring starts back up and it is critical to know who your top performers are, where there are trouble spots are and which team members have specific strengths.

This enables companies to organize project teams, focus development investments and be much more agile, which is critical in the current business environment. Organizations also starting end of year appraisals to determine promotions, pay increases, development areas and even more serious actions, but for all of these, you need rich, objective data on employees and managers.

Many HRDs we work with are increasing their drive on two dimensions - toward a more ongoing way to improve employee performance and develop talent; and to improve employee experience and give employees more control over their careers. This appears to be occurring much more broadly that just the companies we work with - in a recent Deloitte study (Rewriting the rules for the digital age, 2017 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends), 79 percent of executives rated improvement of their performance management as a high priority. This trend has moved out of the early adopter stage – its in full swing. In the same Deloitte study, it showed that there are clear results from moving towards a more continuous, interactive performance management process – 90 percent of companies that have redesigned performance management see direct improvements in employee engagement, 96 percent say the processes are simpler, and 83 percent say the quality of conversations between employees and managers is going up.

That is all good news, but the story doesn’t end there. We’re also hearing that even when they’ve achieved the challenging cultural and process transformation to move toward a more continuous performance management, there is another wall to climb. They are telling us there are a glut of performance management and talent development solutions on the market, but there aren’t solutions to easily capture performance ratings, ensure that discussions are occurring and ensure that those discussions are good quality. Many large organizations are happy to deploy something to show that they are taking action, but to complete the transformation through culture change, process change, technology deployment to positive results for employees and management, adoption has to be high. This can’t be driven solely by a stick, there has to be a carrot. The tools have to be modern, easy to use, multi-channel, mobile first, intuitive and useful for both management and employees. Building a rich, objective data set about the employee and manager and for employee and manager starts with 100% adoption.

We originally created TalTrack in response to these gaps in the market for an innovative, easy to use, full featured solution to support enterprise continuous performance management. As everyone is planning for 2018 and beyond, we’re really excited to tell you about our TalTrack Autumn 2017 release.

This release includes even more unique, innovative and easy to use capabilities that further align employees and employers, and build a rich data set for making objective, targeted investments in employees and managers and give employees more control of their career.

360 Feedback – TalTrack users have always been able to give colleagues unsolicited feedback for a job well done or for areas of improvement. This is critical to develop a full, objective view of each employee and a great way to give praise in a way that will have longer term impact. With TalTrack’s new 360 degree feedback capability, managers can use TalTrack to solicit feedback on one of their team members. The managers can quickly select relevant company employees or external parties, then TalTrack sends a short form to solicit feedback. This feedback will be submitted directly into the manager’s view of the employee record and can also be shared with the employee. This is a powerful and easy way to increase the rich, objective data pool on each manager and employee to help make decisions on development areas, promotion candidates, project teams and other critical decisions.

Align goals with corporate and/or department goals – capturing goals on TalTrack has always been easy and intuitive and TalTrack users have always been able to align unsolicited feedback with Corporate Values. In the Fall 2017 release, we are making goals even more powerful by exposing corporate and departmental goals that individual goals can be aligned to. This enables cascading goals and much better alignment by simply selecting which ever corporate and/or departmental goal(s) the individual goal is aligned to. Now organizations can communicate the corporate and departmental goals directly to employees and have a much more meaningful way to align employees to their impact across the organization.

Improved reporting and dashboards – TalTrack has always had a strong reporting capability and with the Fall 2017 release we’ve significantly improved our dashboard. TalTrack captures data with every interaction including elements like rating progress against goals, if a review has occurred on time, rating by an employee of the quality of discussion with manager, praise received from colleagues and many other interactions. This creates a rich data set about the employee and manager which can be viewed within TalTrack reports and dashboards or exported to ERP or HRIS. With this rich data set, the business can understand who's performing well and where trouble spots are, make better informed, more objective people decisions.

Appraisal capability – TalTrack can be used either used as a complete, stand-alone continuous performance management solution or easily integrate with your existing appraisal process to move you towards more regular check-ins and continuous performance management. In the Fall 2017 release, we have significantly improved our appraisal capability to generate an end of period (quarter, year, any period) preliminary summary of all performance and development information from internal and external sources. That preliminary summary page will also solicit additional information from the manager to summarize that period, prepare for the next period and can request a checkpoint on candidate promotion, raise or development readiness. That final summary can be printed, exported to other systems of record for compensation or other or just kept within TalTrack. This significantly reduces or eliminates the large end of year burden of developing appraisals and dramatically increases the impact of the discussion and decisions.

Improved notifications – TalTrack notifications have always been multi-channel and multi-device and are a crucial part of ensuring that goal progress ratings are happening, discussions are happening, feedback is happening and any other critical interaction with TalTrack is happening through email, mobile and in the TalTrack app. These are easily user configurable. In the Fall 2017 release we have made them much easier to customize to align directly with a corporate lexicon for internal communications.

Employee feedback on quality of development discussion – In TalTrack, during development discussions, manager and employee collaborate on the review, rating and next steps of an employee’s performance against goals. When the results of that discussion are submitted, employees can be prompted to rate the quality of the discussion with their manager. This rating can be confidential and received only by HR. This is critical to understand how managers are progressing as managers and helps to pinpoint top performers and trouble spots.

About the author Charles Watson

Watson leads the TalTrack team and is a proven marketing and sales executive with over 25 years’ experience developing and managing results oriented, customer-focused and revenue driven teams. He is an operational and innovative partner to HR on critical and complex organizational and leadership issues such as employee engagement, talent development, corporate values, acquisition integration and cultural change.