08 Sep The 7 Steps to Digital Performance Management
2021 is the year of the digital when it comes to company operations. We may have thought we were already online, and we were. But for many, we could never have imagined we would be to this extent, spending our days with video calls and emails replacing boardrooms and coffee shops. The same goes for in house processes, where the physical handover of a document is replaced with a digital one. In this article we explore the 7 steps to digital performance management.
As we continue to operate to the backdrop of the global pandemic, operational goal-posts keep changing. We need to be able to do everything we used to but online and for the foreseeable future. That’s why it’s the perfect time to take ownership and take your performance management online too. And it’s not as challenging as you might think. Let’s look at how to do it through these 7 steps to digital performance management.
You have to start with realising that manual performance management processes are no longer going to work for the people leader of today and their team. There is also no point in having part of it online and part of it in paper form with no system end goal in sight. That can get messy so accept going digital is the way forward. It’s the first step in this process. It’s not one of external action, but internal knowing. This way, you clear the way for the new process to begin.
In some businesses, this step either features further down the line or worse still, not at all. For us, this is a non-negotiable second step – involving your people in a discussion about digitising your performance management process. They are the people who will be most impacted by it, so you must include them in the process. Start the dialogue and let them lead out on it.
Having this discussion is one thing, but truly comprehending what your people need from their new system is another. It’s not about a direct transfer from manual to automatic. It’s about finding out what works for them and what doesn’t. This is a real opportunity to improve this process, utilise it.
You can bring things to a close when you all are on the same page about where you want this to go. What are the areas you and your team want to focus on? Where do you need the most support? How do you want the experience to look and feel?It’s important to agree on this. And this can come together from looking at the reasons why. Finding the right fit will aid accountability and transparency. It helps people get their work done. It supports cohesion and collaboration as well as fostering a culture of community.
It’s time to research what’s out there and identify potential partners in performance management. Find the system you need that fits the criteria you’ve figured out with your team. This task is a lot easier when you know what you are looking for and why. Determine a shortlist before moving forward.
It’s back to your people to discuss your findings and to make a decision. Engagement is key. We can’t stress enough how crucial and beneficial it is to keep your people part of this process and communicate with them. Inclusion means buy-in, but it also means you are selecting the right solution when you do.
Then it’s time to introduce the new process and get it underway. This is a one-step at a time situation. It’s a piece by piece build. We find starting with a single feature for our customers and adding in more as their people get used to the product works well. Don’t switch everything on day one or you risk overload. Work with your people on this and respond to their needs.
For example, if alignment is a key priority within your business, start with the goal setting feature. We favour Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) as they are the people-centred goal-setting option allowing for what you want to achieve as well as how you are going to achieve it. We’d suggest sharing the company strategy publicly with your people. It allows individuals and teams to align their goals with the company ones so everyone is working together, towards a shared company wide outcome.
As the initial alarm is settling, and people are in a better flow when it comes to doing their work, the imperative role of effective performance management comes to the fore. Yes, it’s up to you as a leader to lead your people during this time of continuous change. But you need to match your efforts and support everyone in achieving their goals by selecting the right solution, and it starts with a digital one.
Transition isn’t easy but making the change is worth it. The return can be seen in areas like engagement, joined up thinking, increasing productivity and saving time. This will work towards creating a better environment for your people to operate in as well as improving company culture. The 7 steps to digital performance management shared here will help you on your journey.