A well-designed and executed performance management system can prove critical when it comes to minimizing staff turnover and boosting productivity. But what role does performance management software play with regard to employee engagement? In what ways can this specialized HR software integrate itself into the workings of your organization to ensure that your employees are happier, more motivated and dedicated to the organization?
Engagement is, as ever, a pressing issue. It has a direct bearing on retention and efficiency. The reasons behind this relationship are clear once you consider that an engaged employee is one that is emotionally committed to the company, its goals and objectives. Once an employee is engaged, they are far more likely to work hard for the company that they are dedicated to, and far more inclined to remain with the company for a long period as a result.
Encouraging employee engagement is an essential HR consideration, as is the role that tools and software can play in helping you to achieve this goal. Below are just a few ways that any organization can utilize performance management software to increase engagement, reduce turnover and ultimately boost productivity.
Regular, effective, real-time feedback
Disengagement occurs for a number of reasons, but perhaps the biggest reason of all is irregular, unhelpful feedback. Companies that fail to prioritize feedback or to appreciate its importance will inevitably notice a growing apathy in their workforce. The reasoning behind this is clear: without insight or advice as to their current performance, employees have no feasible way of recognizing where they are going wrong or how they can improve. This is one of the many reasons why annual performance reviews are rapidly being replaced by continuous performance management.
Software can assist in this area. Using performance management software, employees can easily elicit feedback when required and promptly receive assistance and collaboration. This feedback can come in the form of either specialized one-on-one feedback sessions with management or of a more general group discussion, where ideas are exchanged and built upon. This eases any uncertainty employees may have about their current approach and provides a digital trail of any relevant decision making, which is vital should it be called into question at a later date. Software also allows for swift acknowledgement and recognition of a job well-done. This is something not to be underestimated with respect to engagement.
Understanding of SMART goals
An employee cannot be passionate or enthusiastic about organizational objectives or company direction if they are unclear about their own personal goals and how they fit into the bigger corporate picture. On top of this, without clear, achievable and well-communicated goals, an employee is likely going to underperform. This is frustrating for both the employee and management. Managers will be aggravated that standards aren’t being met or exceeded and employees will take their ‘failures’ to heart, despite not being given satisfactory guidance in the first place. To prevent this from occurring, SMARTer goals need to be created and delivered.
Software facilitates the process of effective goal setting by capitalizing on the increased interaction and communication afforded by social media-inspired platforms. Goal setting should not be purely long-term and objectives should not be created by managers alone. Rather, managers and employees should discuss both short and long-term goals that are Specific (and Stretching), Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound—i.e. SMART.
HR managers use performance management software to track these goals. At any point, employees can update their goals and their progress towards achieving them and, if necessary, discuss a realistic adjustment to the objective. This increased involvement in the goal-setting process will ultimately impact their dedication to their own role and the success of the company.
Employees can track their personal development plans
More engaged employees tend to keep up-to-date with their personal development plans (PDPs). PDPs allow employees to be more proactive and take greater control over the direction and development of their careers by creating an action plan based on their short and long-term goals. This is a method of self-improvement that takes into account specific skills that the employee would like to develop. This process has a direct bearing on employee performance.
Performance management software provides a forum to organize and manage employee PDPs. Employees can regularly update their PDPs and HR can easily access these plans to organize suitable training and development, which stands to ultimately benefit the organization.
Greater sense of independence
No employee likes to feel that they are constantly being monitored. Granting employees increased flexibility in the way they perform will see a reciprocal increase in engagement. Micromanaging demonstrates a lack of confidence in your workforce that isn’t conducive to a happy, ambitious employee.
Software allows managers to observe employee performance from a distance, meaning that they do not feel suffocated or controlled but managers can still track performance and progress. Employees will feel that they can determine how they achieve their goals and enjoy the freedom to be creative.
Author: Stuart Hearn heads up Clear Review, a company that designs innovative performance management software. He has been working in the HR sector for over 20 years, previously working for Sony Music Publishing and co-founding PlusHR.