Performance management is evolving. We’re not the only ones who’ve noticed – as the workforce becomes ever more diverse, more executives, managers and individual employees turn to better ways of increasing engagement and acknowledging achievements. People expect more from their jobs these days than a simple paycheck – they want to spend their time working towards something meaningful and fulfilling. After seeing results from businesses like Adobe and Google, many executives switched to goal setting and ongoing performance management to support a stronger workforce.
Where Performance Management Is Headed
Recent research found 89 percent of responding businesses plan to reevaluate their current performance management systems. The majority said they began their review process within the prior 18 months. Companies realize an engaged workforce is more productive and more collaborative, and better review systems are the key to unlocking this potential.
So what does the future hold? Annual reviews between employees and managers won’t disappear completely – they’ll simply evolve into more frequent, engaging conversations. Focus in the corporate world is shifting from ranking employees in terms of performance to assessing their individual strengths and understanding where their goals align with their employers.
The future of performance management is frequent conversations containing useful feedback. Employees want to know more than just how they’re doing – they want to know how to perform better. Today’s workforce wants to actively engage in the jobs they’re doing, leaving each day satisfied and ready to return the next. Businesses support this enthusiasm with ongoing performance management and goal setting.
How Goal Setting Aligns Employee Objectives
Executives need only turn to Google to see how goal setting revolutionized the culture of employee evaluations. The company is known for using OKRs – Objectives and Key Results – to help its employees see stronger results. Each person writes down a small set of objectives and then adds a few related key results. The former are ambitious and maybe a little scary, while the latter are quantifiable, clear-cut markers indicating success.
OKRs don’t always work alone. Many companies use S.M.A.R.T. goals – targets that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound – to guide the objectives they come up with. S.M.A.R.T. goals can’t do it alone, and relying on them too heavily actually limits achievement. However, when used as part of a collaborative performance management effort, S.M.A.R.T. goals and OKRs revitalize employees.
OKRs and SMART goals coordinate these objectives and bring everyone together. Individuals add their own ideas for professional development and connect with managers to discuss their progress through ongoing conversations. By combining goal setting with frequent feedback, managers ensure employees remain focused and engaged.