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How Ishida are ensuring performance management stays on the agenda beyond the pandemic

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As part of prepar­ing the Per­for­mance Man­age­ment (PM) Report 2021, we inter­viewed Dave Don­ald­son, Per­for­mance and Devel­op­ment Man­ag­er EMEA from Ishi­da. We want­ed to find out how our cus­tomers sup­port­ed their peo­ple and con­tin­ued to dri­ve per­for­mance dur­ing 2020 and how they intend to main­tain it in 2021.

How can you mea­sure per­for­mance man­age­ment with­out the tech?

The report iden­ti­fies that over 50% of those sur­veyed don’t have per­for­mance man­age­ment tech­nol­o­gy and also don’t have access to any data on how their peo­ple are per­form­ing. Data is some­thing that Dave feels is cru­cial to sup­port­ing their people. 

Dave has been cham­pi­oning per­for­mance devel­op­ment at Ishi­da, by encour­ag­ing a cul­ture of reg­u­lar feed­back, mean­ing­ful check-ins and pri­ori­tis­ing well­be­ing. Hav­ing access to the tech and data has helped Dave iden­ti­fy man­agers that need sup­port, as well as give con­fi­dence to man­agers to devel­op their teams’ per­for­mance when work­ing remote­ly. Accord­ing to Dave, 

Because we have tech, we can guide man­agers who lack con­fi­dence in remote man­age­ment to clear­ly iden­ti­fy goals and tar­gets. When we send peo­ple to work, we mea­sure their out­put. If they are achiev­ing their out­put but man­agers lack con­fi­dence that they aren’t as effec­tive, we have the data. Trust issues are min­imised with accu­rate record­ings from the data we have. If they are achiev­ing what they are set out to achieve, and man­agers believe that’s not enough, we can explain that it is enough, because they have achieved what was agreed for them to achieve. 

Dave explained that at Ishi­da, the sup­port of the Clear Review and hav­ing objec­tives has enabled man­agers to set clear mea­sures of what needs to be achieved.

Although some man­agers don’t have the skills to man­age as strong­ly as oth­ers, they’ve been giv­en the sup­port of the tech. We have stat­ed that we don’t need pre­sen­teeism, we need you to agree with col­leagues what it is they need to achieve. Giv­en their objec­tives, if they achieve them in less time, we have pro­duc­tiv­i­ty to man­age. We’ve got to make sure we bal­ance the work. The pres­sure is on the man­ag­er to make sure that the objec­tives are set. We are no longer in the Vic­to­ri­an era where we need to stand behind peo­ple to make sure they work. We need to trust them. And that’s why we hear of soft­ware that tracks peo­ple on their lap­tops, because man­agers don’t trust their peo­ple to work — it’s madness.”

Hybrid work­ing can only work if you have technology

The future work­place for many is going to be a Hybrid envi­ron­ment, that’s part remote and part work­place based. How­ev­er, shock­ing­ly the PM Report 2021 found that 40% of HRDs sur­veyed thought that work­ing remote­ly was neg­a­tive­ly affect­ing per­for­mance. Hybrid work­ing for many is here to stay and we need to learn how to dri­ve per­for­mance, trust our peo­ple and sup­port them to con­tin­ue to work in dif­fer­ing environments. 

Dave explains how hav­ing access to the Clear Review sys­tem has encour­aged peo­ple to have more con­ver­sa­tions and man­age remote and hybrid work­ing better. 

One of the key things has been that Clear Review has put the sub­lim­i­nal force on the man­agers to have the con­ver­sa­tions with those who were remote work­ing. Oth­er­wise it would be easy to lose sight. Our com­pa­ny has con­tin­ued to per­form strong­ly. And I think a lot of it is down to the fact that Clear Review has over­come quite a lot of the cul­tur­al resis­tance to hybrid work­ing. This is because I can demon­strate that peo­ple are doing their jobs. Hav­ing the tech has enabled us to effec­tive­ly man­age hybrid work­ing more.”

Coach­ing con­ver­sa­tions should be the new normal

The PM Report 2021 found that HRDs, man­agers and employ­ees all want coach­ing con­ver­sa­tions to be tak­ing place, but 40% of HRDs don’t think their man­agers have the skills or train­ing to have devel­op­ment conversations. 

At Ishi­da, coach­ing con­ver­sa­tions have been cru­cial in nor­mal­is­ing well­be­ing con­ver­sa­tions. This is some­thing that has been embraced by every­one in the orga­ni­za­tion. Dave explains, 

HR direc­tors have always had a focus on well­be­ing , but Covid has accel­er­at­ed the efforts we made into well­be­ing and men­tal health. Coach­ing has helped give the man­agers and super­vi­sors the con­fi­dence to address well­be­ing, start con­ver­sa­tions, and under­stand how their peo­ple might be suf­fer­ing. I’m proud to say that we are a tra­di­tion­al engi­neer­ing com­pa­ny in the West Mid­lands. If you want to stereo­type on that, you might think rough and ready’, span­ners and elec­tri­cal boards.’ But the real­i­ty is so far from that. The whole con­cept of man­ag­ing peo­ple’s wel­fare from home has been so utter­ly embraced by all sec­tions of our com­pa­ny — It’s quite some­thing to see. 

We have hired an L&D spe­cial­ist who — as part of their role — focus­es on devel­op­ing skills, coach­ing, and per­for­mance man­age­ment skills, because you can’t just stop. Our L&D Spe­cial­ist has come in to do reg­u­lar ses­sions e.g. every 3 weeks or every month, rather than one all day course. It’s been embraced by man­agers, who want to get the best out of the busi­ness and its peo­ple. We can’t assume that when we return to nor­mal it will be exact­ly the same. We have to make this our nor­mal. We have to be respon­sive and dynamic.”

Dave’s insight sup­ports the find­ings of the PM Report 2021 and also high­lights the need for orga­ni­za­tions to invest fur­ther in per­for­mance man­age­ment in order to sup­port peo­ple and also dri­ve pro­duc­tiv­i­ty. Get­ting the right per­for­mance man­age­ment soft­ware, accept­ing our new Hybrid work­ing future and sup­port­ing man­agers to have coach­ing con­ver­sa­tions, are all areas for improve­ment accord­ing to the report, but that is just the tip of the ice­berg. Down­load the full report to get all of the juicy insight and hear how Vir­gin Mon­ey and Amthal Fire and Secu­ri­ty invest­ed in per­for­mance man­age­ment to sup­port their peo­ple too. 

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