Chapter 7

How To Make The Transition

Through the course of this eBook, we’ve estab­lished why annu­al appraisals don’t work, explored the con­cept of Con­tin­u­ous Per­for­mance Man­age­ment as a prac­ti­cal alter­na­tive, addressed some of the com­mon con­cerns with mov­ing away from appraisals and under­stood why soft­ware is a vital com­po­nent of effec­tive Con­tin­u­ous Per­for­mance Man­age­ment. In this final part of our eBook, we’ll look at how to suc­cess­ful­ly make the tran­si­tion from tra­di­tion­al annu­al appraisals to Con­tin­u­ous Per­for­mance Man­age­ment through 7 prac­ti­cal steps.

Step 1. Start now, don’t wait for the cul­ture to change

It may be tempt­ing to wait until you have under­tak­en a cul­ture change pro­gramme before mov­ing away from annu­al appraisals. How­ev­er, with research show­ing that 95% of man­agers are dis­sat­is­fied with their organisation’s exist­ing per­for­mance man­age­ment sys­tem, why con­tin­ue doing some­thing that just isn’t work­ing? As the HR Direc­tor of Adobe com­ment­ed on their tran­si­tion to Check-ins, this is a jour­ney and not a des­ti­na­tion”, so the soon­er you start tak­ing action, the fur­ther and faster you will progress on that journey.

Step 2. Find out who is already hav­ing reg­u­lar per­for­mance discussions

You might feel that imple­ment­ing Con­tin­u­ous Per­for­mance Man­age­ment will require a sig­nif­i­cant shift in atti­tude from your man­agers. Whilst this will no doubt be the case for some of your man­agers, vir­tu­al­ly every organ­i­sa­tion has cer­tain man­agers who are already hav­ing reg­u­lar one-to-ones with their team mem­bers and are good at giv­ing feed­back. So find out who these peo­ple are with­in your organ­i­sa­tion, con­sult with them on your new approach, involve them in rolling out the new process­es and get them to cham­pi­on your cause.

Step 3. Engage your senior leadership

To make con­tin­u­ous per­for­mance man­age­ment a suc­cess, you will need to get buy-in from top man­age­ment and have them to lead by exam­ple. Whilst most senior lead­ers dis­like doing annu­al appraisals, they may be ner­vous about the impli­ca­tions of stop­ping them, par­tic­u­lar­ly if you are plan­ning to get rid of rat­ings as well. They are like­ly to have ques­tions about how you will iden­ti­fy high and low per­form­ers and how pay and pro­mo­tion deci­sions will be han­dled. So make sure you sup­port your case for con­tin­u­ous per­for­mance man­age­ment with research-based evi­dence and have answers to these ques­tions read­i­ly avail­able. This eBook should pro­vide most of the infor­ma­tion you need. To help you fur­ther, you might wish to:

Step 4. Sell the ben­e­fits to your staff

If man­agers and their team mem­bers are going to active­ly engage in hav­ing reg­u­lar Check-ins and giv­ing fre­quent feed­back, you’ll need to ensure that they under­stand what’s in it for me?”. For man­agers, the ben­e­fits include hav­ing a bet­ter per­form­ing, more pro­duc­tive and moti­vat­ed team, reduced staff turnover, abil­i­ty to del­e­gate more and spend­ing less time fix­ing mis­takes. Make it clear that it will ulti­mate­ly save them time.

Some organ­i­sa­tions who have made Con­tin­u­ous Per­for­mance Man­age­ment a suc­cess have put the onus on team mem­bers to ensure that their Check-ins hap­pen, rather than on man­agers. There­fore you’ll need to sell the ben­e­fits to team mem­bers too. Empha­sise that they will have more own­er­ship over their work, they will get more time­ly feed­back and more one-to-one time and sup­port from their man­ag­er. But they will need to be proac­tive to get these benefits.

There is plen­ty of research evi­dence through­out this eBook that you can draw on when sell­ing the ben­e­fits to staff. How­ev­er, it’s even more pow­er­ful to draw on suc­cess­es from with­in your own organ­i­sa­tion. So where you have found teams that have already been hav­ing reg­u­lar one-to-ones and giv­ing feed­back on an infor­mal basis (see step 2 above), make sure you share these suc­cess sto­ries and com­mu­ni­cate the ben­e­fits that they have achieved.

Step 5. Pro­vide train­ing and guidance

Good qual­i­ty per­for­mance con­ver­sa­tions and feed­back rely on the par­tic­i­pants hav­ing the nec­es­sary skills. So re-invest the time you cur­rent­ly spend admin­is­ter­ing annu­al appraisals on train­ing and coach­ing staff on how to have effec­tive one-to-one con­ver­sa­tions, how to give and receive feed­back, how to near-term SMART goals, and the fun­da­men­tals of coach­ing. Should you end up becom­ing a Clear Review cus­tomer, we will pro­vide you with train­ing mate­ri­als that you can use for this at no cost.

Sup­port your train­ing with quick fact sheets, eLearn­ing and short videos – the more inter­est­ing and inter­ac­tive the bet­ter. Our Clear Review per­for­mance man­age­ment soft­ware comes with inte­grat­ed ani­mat­ed white­board’ videos on the key skills required for Con­tin­u­ous Per­for­mance Management.

Step 6. Com­mu­ni­cate, communicate…and listen

It’s well recog­nised with­in change man­age­ment that you need to com­mu­ni­cate a mes­sage between 3 and 6 times before it is under­stood and inter­nalised. Plus, it will take time for your staff to build the nec­es­sary new habits of giv­ing in-the-moment feed­back and hav­ing reg­u­lar per­for­mance and devel­op­ment conversations.

So sup­port your jour­ney to Con­tin­u­ous Per­for­mance Man­age­ment by build­ing a 12 month com­mu­ni­ca­tion plan that address­es your three main audi­ences: senior lead­ers, man­agers and employ­ees. Use a vari­ety of com­mu­ni­ca­tion meth­ods in your plan such as face-to-face brief­in­gs, videos, webi­na­rs, intranet pages, fact sheets, newslet­ters, posters, desk-drops and road­shows. Don’t make the mis­take of rely­ing just on email. You could even get cre­ative and have some coast­ers or mouse mats made up to remind peo­ple to give and request feed­back reg­u­lar­ly. We recog­nise that not every­one is expe­ri­enced in design­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion plans, so we pro­vide our Clear Review cus­tomers with a full com­mu­ni­ca­tions guide and tem­plate 12 month plan.

Com­mu­ni­ca­tion should not all be one-way. Make sure you reg­u­lar­ly seek feed­back from team mem­bers about how they are find­ing the new process using sur­veys, inter­views and focus groups. Reg­u­lar­ly share the suc­cess­es and the ben­e­fits that staff have achieved in order to build momen­tum. Use any con­struc­tive feed­back on the new approach to hone your process­es and your com­mu­ni­ca­tion and train­ing materials.

Step 7. Use Con­tin­u­ous Per­for­mance Man­age­ment software

As we out­lined in Part 6 of this eBook, using pur­pose-built Con­tin­u­ous Per­for­mance Man­age­ment soft­ware will sig­nif­i­cant­ly improve the adop­tion of the new approach as it min­imis­es the admin­is­tra­tion and saves time for every­one involved. Specif­i­cal­ly, it will:

  • Enable employ­ees to update their progress against their objec­tives in real-time, mak­ing one-to-one dis­cus­sions more focused
  • Pro­vide online agen­das for Check-in meet­ings and enable action points to be cap­tured and fol­lowed up on
  • Give HR and senior man­age­ment vis­i­bil­i­ty of how fre­quent­ly one-to-ones are tak­ing place across the organ­i­sa­tion, as well as oth­er key per­for­mance and devel­op­ment data
  • Enable in-the-moment’ feed­back to be giv­en and shared with indi­vid­u­als immediately
  • Auto­mat­i­cal­ly chase up peo­ple who are not hav­ing reg­u­lar one-to-ones, set­ting objec­tives or giv­ing feedback
  • Allow you to cap­ture per­for­mance data or rat­ings from man­agers to feed into your reward and tal­ent man­age­ment decisions

Take the Next Step

This is the end of our eBook and we sin­cere­ly hope that you’ve found it inter­est­ing and use­ful. If you have, don’t stop here. Take the next step towards mak­ing Con­tin­u­ous Per­for­mance Man­age­ment a real­i­ty in your organ­i­sa­tion. Here are two no-oblig­a­tion next steps:

Watch 7 minute Demo of Clear Review
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