December 15, 2017

TalTrack’s performance management trends for 2018

BY: Ben Dansie
white curved edge

TalTrack has been working with some of the world’s biggest brands on their continuous performance management and employee engagement challenges during 2017. Here is our take on how simplicity is replacing process and how experience is the new force changing organizations from the inside out.

Large organisations are realising Continuous Performance Management is the way to improve employee engagement

HR is no longer about top down flow. The Annual Appraisal was the “designated moment” when corporation had its annual “we care” moment with workers. Information about personal development now moves in all directions. As the Harvard Business Review noted: “With their heavy emphasis on financial rewards and punishments and their end-of-year structure, they hold people accountable for past behavior at the expense of improving current performance and grooming talent for the future”. Continuous performance management tools really can help bring light to how workers are feeling about themselves and the future – in terms of alignment AND engagement – that makes it almost impossible for managers to ignore. That’s a big step forward.

Employee engagement is still, amazingly, at a fairly early stage but at least organisations are beginning to get a degree of visibility across the many moving parts: from recognition, reward, culture, mentorship, equality, engagement and especially for 2018 – wellbeing. As Marketing Week says in its own 2018 trends report: Unless employers focus on building cultures where people can thrive and there is parity between physical and mental wellbeing, they’ll lose talent.

What employers are finding harder is identifying the right channel to build deeper, more meaningful relationships with colleagues beyond the transaction day to say. In 2018 we predict the regular check-in between manager and employee will be a new front in improving engagement.

Focus is moving towards quality of 121 conversations

The annual appraisal was, (for many still is) an immense chore. Managers often scared of looking like amateurs. Employees struggling to see beyond how could it not be about pay. One of the critical advantages of regular performance management is it moves the conversation away from pay and promotion and more onto the individual’s, day to day, week to week, development. As the CIPD say “At the core of effective performance management are frank, yet supportive performance conversations that include ongoing feedback. Occasional processes, such as annual performance reviews and pay setting, can be useful, but shouldn’t be the main focus”.

Conversations become about quality, about reflection, about real time observations that are linked to goals, OKRs, and KPIs. Behaviour is not changed by a single annual ‘headmasters report’, more through a more structured relationship between manager and worker.

I’ll have fries with that appraisal

How work gets done is changing dramatically – today’s workforce are mobile, social, and collaborative. HR used to be all about process efficiency for the enterprise. Millennials have well and truly busted that misconception wide open. The companies that are winning are putting the employee first. As Forbes writes, leaders like Sjoerd Gehring at Johnson & Johnson are reinventing their candidate and employee experience root and branch. Workers in 2018 want to work anywhere, everywhere and the pixel that separates personal from professional is indistinguishable.

The best performance management software must work seamlessly on any device – inside the firewall, on the beach or by the departure gate. None of us think about our own personal development at our place of work. Being in the right place at the right time will make a huge difference.

Employees expect nothing less than frictionless experiences

Corporate functions like HR and Marketing used to sit to the side of ‘core’ business activities, but a revolution is taking place, driven by employees expecting nothing more than parity in the quality of interactions in their work and home life. Spotify, Amazon, Uber even Tinder have made us all realise just how easy and time-saving tech can be. The new frontier is the work place. Imagine if your office, the moment you got in your car, let you know not just which desk you’re spending the day at, but also which parking space is free.

The first wave of that revolution is about automation; more than innovation. Workers just want decades-old paper-based processes, designed to ensure legal & regulatory compliance to move from a form to a screen. Not much to ask but for many firms it’s a huge step.

We predict that the pressure in 2018 will come from the ongoing battle for talent. Contingent workforces are now the norm and achieving a degree of equality is going to require tech that let managers connect and develop their teams better than they ever have.

Effective continuous performance management software has to integrate into the HR stack

Many disparate categories within HR technology are battling for the attention of the employee engagement buyer: recognition, engagement measurement, wellness, next-generation learning and talent management, talent acquisition and assessments, workforce analytics, benefits, and even employee communications.

We predict in 2018 all these employee touchpoints will start to come together into a more connected employee experience. Only technologies that are simple and easy to integrate will get on.

2018 is the year to implement the behaviour changes that will transform staff performance. TalTrack’s unique, experience-led, performance management software is being used by companies around the world. Why not meet one of our team of experts and book a demo now.

About the author Ben Dansie

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Entrepreneurial and commercial CEO specialising in digital marketing strategy. Completed Executive Education marketing courses at Kellogg School of Management, North Western University, Chicago in 2007 and at the Cambridge University Business School (Judge Institute), 2014. Member of the CBI Regional Committee, Member of the Marketing Society, Queen's Award for Enterprise 2016. Founder and director of Omobono Ltd (Currently B2B Agency of the Year - UK & USA). Advisory Board, Check Risk LLP.