So, you’ve decided to ditch annual appraisals and are moving towards a continuous performance management model (CPM). Change management is a vital part of the culture you’re looking to create through moving to CPM. According to a Forbes Insights and PMI survey of more than 500 executives, “85% of respondents say change management is critical to their success in these times of disruption.” This is an area you need to get right and there are a specific group of individuals who can help you — internal advocates.
You might have purchased software to compliment your grand plans to switch to CPM and your senior management team might be ready for the transformation that’s going to take place. Sounds idyllic! Until you realize you need the buy-in from everyone across the organization in order to ensure adoption of the system and any new processes you put in place. How do you go about doing that? And how do you ensure the new way of doing things are maintained?
You are going to need internal advocates to lock in support from all facets of the business.
Why are internal advocates so vital?
Imagine if you could clone yourself and set yourselves free to champion continuous performance management across the organization. Well, you don’t need to. As change experts Prosci say, “The best change management processes include an effective process for managing organizational change and a companion process for managing individual change. It is this partnership or integration of organizational and individual change that ultimately produces results.” Internal advocates help to drive individual change as they work at the team level and have the ability to take on the work of a small army to keep the momentum of the cultural shift you’re making alive.
How do you find advocates?
Not all heroes wear capes, in fact your champions might be people who will surprise you. Don’t expect those within the business who are positive about the changes to naturally become your advocates. In fact, you should aim to seek out tough cookies too, we’ll get into that a bit later.
You are going to need to maintain that senior leadership buy-in. Encouraging them to contribute to communications and messaging to all staff during the change period is going to be vital. You’ll naturally find some senior advocates this way. For example, those willing to be filmed for short videos or those who want to participate in communications are an easy win.
Finding departmental or team advocates could take a bit longer. You’ll need to find 1 – 2 per department or team potentially. You can either ask people to put themselves forward or use the tech you’ve invested in to see who a top user is. And for those who aren’t taking to the system at all, there is a great opportunity here.
Want to learn more?
Take our latest course on “Changing Performance Culture” for free, where we explore more about change management.
Tackle the tough cookies
Clear Review customers, PerfectHome, decided to rally support from those in the business who they knew might resist the new tech, and turned them into advocates:
“It’s tempting to go for the people who you think will embrace something like this, but I wanted to get the cynics on board as well. I deliberately chose people who I thought might be skeptical of check-ins and continuous feedback.” — Kevin Hollingworth, Head of People and Engagement
Kevin, goes on to tell us that although it was tough, it really paid off as those advocates have taken on running sessions to upskill their colleagues and champion the tool at every turn.
What’s in it for them?
Your advocates are going to be part of something bigger than themselves. They are going to be leading the charge to change your organization for the better. There is a huge sense of satisfaction and pride in being part of a movement that is going to change performance management for themselves and their colleagues. Just don’t forget to thank them and ensure they feel the love from HR!
What kind of activities should your advocates be doing?
We’ve spoken to a lot of our customers who get their advocates doing a whole host of things, here are a few examples:
- Teaching their team – upskilling your advocates to use your new system or host sessions on how to use it will save you time in the long run!
- Communications – asking your advocates to participate in communications activities to champion the changes your making will strengthen the messages; people want to hear from other people within the business about real differences
- Suggestions – your advocates are going to have their ears close to the ground, so take on board their suggestions as they will come from across the organization
- Sounding board – before making any big changes to how your planning to roll out your continuous performance management processes bring your advocates together to see what they think
- Go public and attract new talent – don’t be shy about championing the way you’ve changed your internal culture, it will attract new talent, your advocates can help you make awesome content to highlight these positive changes and improve your employer brand
Advocates in tough times
Your advocates are going to be there to support what is vital work to ensure your organization and people remain productive, supported and operational in tough times.
We know that these five key steps keep people feeling motivated, supported and productive, but that is tough from a distance. As more organizations decide to ditch their offices in favour of longer-term remote working, teams tend to filter off into silos as the coffee and lunch chats near enough disappear. Your advocate group can help to foster connection between different teams and rally support for your new system or processes by being your ears to the ground. They can ask their teams what’s working and what’s not and can give feedback to HR.
They are a key group of stakeholders from across the business that will keep championing the use of any systems and processes you have implemented and can determine the success of the changes you want to make.
Take the free course on “Changing Performance Culture” on the Performance Management Academy!
Learn everything you need to know about change management in our latest course on the Performance Management Academy. This course is full of practical exercises as well as useful resources you can use to manage change in your organization.