Seven Ways to Revitalize Your Organization's Performance Management Solution
By Kyle Toppazzini
How to aim towards the optimal return of investment in using a performance management solution? From my experience, here are the top seven ways to instantly revitalize your organization's performance management solution:
1. Conduct an organizational assessment - It is crucial to use the right assessment tool performing the right diagnostic/assessment to identify the cause(s) of the organizational problems. I typically use the following tools sequentially to conduct an organizational assessment, which include
Short interviews. At the onset, interviews should be conducted no longer than 15 minutes each with a few key stakeholders, executives, senior managers and front line managers.
- Organizational assessment survey. Surveys should then be conducted with people across the organization from executives down to your front line staff. I typically design surveys with two key characteristics:1) the surveys is short, e.g. it typically takes respondents not more than 15 minutes to complete the survey and 2) the survey covers topics ranging from how performance information is communicated to employee confidence in data quality.
- Follow up interviews. Once the assessment survey results are analysed, I will conduct follow up surveys of areas where results show significant differences from what was reported in the survey.
- Data quality assessment. I usually like to validate the results of the surveys and the interviews with what is being reported in the organization's business plans and within its management reports.
2. Conduct a review of best practices - Much can be learned by organizations that have had similar issues to yours and developed strategies to overcome them. The tricky part is finding an organization that is similar enough to your own and will release such information. The Baldrige National Quality Institute publishes a list of award recipients that have been recognized for their commitment to performance improvement. You may find a listing of award recipients at http://www.quality.nist.gov/Contacts_Profiles.htm and it might be worth the effort to speak with one of the organizations listed. I think finding an organization that mirrors yours is not necessary, you only need to find one that is willing to discuss how they overcame some of the same issues that you might have.
3. Look for a business unit within your organization that uses performance information effectively. I have yet to come across an organization that does not have at least one business unit that is effectively using the organization's corporate information. By speaking to the employees within that unit you should try understand a) what information they use, b) how they use the information, c) what they are doing differently, and d) what the noticeable differences are between the motivation levels within that business unit and others within the organization.
4. Develop a plan that demonstrates results within a short period of time. Chances are if your organization is having a difficult time implementing an effective performance management solution, there is bound to be skeptics. When you develop your plan to improve the use of your performance management solution, you will want to develop one that quickly wins the confidence of your employees. I usually work with my clients to develop a plan that produces noticeable achievements within the first three weeks and generates breakthroughs on a regular basis throughout the life of the project.
5. Get the right people involved at the beginning. I am amazed by how many projects I hear about where the "key players", e.g. front line employees, stakeholders, and customers, were not even consulted when the organization developed its performance management/measurement framework and solution. I can't stress more how important it is to ensure that 1) you know what your customers and stakeholders expect, and 2) that you have the support of those people who are responsible for delivering the results.
6. Develop tools and not reports- If you want to get employees excited about achieving organization's results don't produce reports just to meet corporate policy, provide management information to all employees within the organizations that enable them to be more efficient and effective. If your employees are given effective management tools that truly assist them and make their employment experience rewarding and fulfilling you will see noticeable performance results very quickly.
7. Develop performance improvement teams is the easiest way to get employees focused on organizational improvement. Not many organizations have this in place but the concept is quite simple. Employees meet with managers and an executive champion on a regular basis to review how and what they are doing is contributing to the organization's goals, and how they can improve that contribution by developing an action plan. Some organizations use this model and tie the team's performance to a portion of the employee's compensation.
There are many other ways to improve your organization's performance management initiative; however, I believe it is easier to achieve your organizational success with the engagement of your employees.
Toppazzini and Lee Consulting