Chapter 5

Summing up

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If we want to embed a cul­ture of reg­u­lar, mean­ing­ful con­ver­sa­tions and feed­back, we know that we need to give man­agers the skills and con­fi­dence to have those per­for­mance man­age­ment con­ver­sa­tions – that is a given.

How­ev­er, we also need to have a frame­work that empow­ers con­ver­sa­tions rather than under­mines them, we need to have tech­nol­o­gy that sup­ports the con­ver­sa­tion frame­work and helps to build new habits, and we need to have vis­i­bil­i­ty of con­ver­sa­tions and hold man­agers account­able for mak­ing them hap­pen. If we get those right then we can tran­si­tion from a cul­ture of per­for­mance man­age­ment to one of per­for­mance improve­ment.

How do we know this to be the case? Over the last 2 years, we at Clear Review have worked with over 100 organ­i­sa­tions who have suc­cess­ful­ly moved away from an annu­al form fill­ing exer­cise to a cul­ture of mean­ing­ful con­ver­sa­tions and feed­back. And this is not some­thing that only works in spe­cif­ic indus­tries such as tech – these organ­i­sa­tions come from sec­tors as diverse as the pub­lic sec­tor, finan­cial ser­vices, con­sult­ing, retail, edu­ca­tion, law and even film stu­dios and foot­ball clubs. All of these organ­i­sa­tions have cre­at­ed their own con­ver­sa­tion frame­work sup­port­ed by our tech­nol­o­gy plat­form.

Where’s the evi­dence?

One clear exam­ple that demon­strates this lev­el of suc­cess is Clydes­dale & York­shire Bank­ing Group (CYBG).

In Octo­ber 2017 the organ­i­sa­tion changed from an annu­al appraisal mod­el to a new frame­work of ongo­ing con­ver­sa­tions and feed­back. They car­ried out expe­ri­en­tial train­ing with their man­agers on how to have great con­ver­sa­tions and give effec­tive feed­back. They also recog­nised the impor­tance of tech­nol­o­gy to sup­port the process and pro­vide insights into their data.

The results have been out­stand­ing. In just the first six months after they launched:

15,000 check-in con­ver­sa­tions had tak­en place cov­er­ing 99% of their 6,500 employ­ees.
78,000 bits of feed­back were giv­en
100% of employ­ees had clear goals

The impact of this change is best described in the words of one of their branch man­agers:

Our pre­vi­ous approach to appraisals felt like a com­pa­ny-led agen­da and encour­aged poor behav­iours and poor out­comes for the cus­tomer. Now we are doing it from the staff’s view of the world, with reg­u­lar per­for­mance con­ver­sa­tions. The qual­i­ty of inter­ac­tions has improved – face to face con­ver­sa­tions are backed up by the sys­tem, which is real­ly clear and easy to use.”
- Gary Hare, Man­ag­er Dum­fries High Street Branch

If I have made per­for­mance man­age­ment sound sim­ple, then that’s good, because it doesn’t have to be com­plex or dif­fi­cult if you have the right frame­work and sup­port­ing technology.

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