Continuous Performance Review

In a recent Leadership Lab article, Bill Howatt (chief research and development officer of workforce productivity at Morneau Shepell in Toronto) describes a new approach to performance management that he calls “Performance 2.0”. The pillars of Performance 2.0 are the pillars of competency.io

Performance facilitation vs. performance management

Facilitation implies teamwork and collaboration. Performance management, on the other hand, implies that there are behaviours and outcomes that need to be managed. Facilitation sends a message to employees that achieving results is a collective, collaborative endeavour. The term “facilitation” positions the manager as a mentor and describes the process of achieving results as a journey. Performance management inadvertently puts a negative spin on the model from the outset. Performance management leads the employee to desperately assemble evidence of merit regardless of authenticity in order to pass in a pass-fail situation. Performance facilitation moves towards collaborative and ongoing results. Competency.io enables performance facilitation by driving employees to post evidence of performance as it happens and to share strategically curated portfolios monthly or quarterly.

Continuous improvement vs. static evaluation

A fault of most annual performance review processes is that they require an employee to defend merit once per year. In advance of this once/year meeting, the employee scrambles to remember all that they’ve done through the year. This is time consuming and not always effective. Can you quickly recall all that you’ve done over the past year? The result of a once/year evaluation is one constructive, forward-thinking conversation. Surely, organizations are better off to have employees and leaders engaged in regular constructive and forward-thinking conversations? For employees in large departments or large organizations, a once/year conversation is not enough to ensure a person is growing, thriving, learning, and performing to full-potential the other 364 days of the year. Continuous improvement provides for regular checks and balances, and builds growth and development into culture and mindset. A culture of growth and development is far more likely to withstand the winds of change and adversity.

Growth mindset vs. pass/fail

Carole S. Dweck brought the concept of growth mindset to life. (Read her books, they’re fantastic!) At the core of the growth mindset idea is that people have a tendency to label themselves as “can or cannot” or “do and don’t” early in their experience and these psychological boundaries have a profound effect on capabilities and outcomes. People who say “I am not an artist” will never become an artist. People who say, “I could be an artist” are more likely to become an artist by demonstrating a willingness to stretch and grow in the direction of this goal. People with a growth mindset understand that they can work hard to change their performance and achieve new or different outcomes. Competency.io enables a growth mindset by helping users achieve goals and reflect on outcomes. By adopting a new competency profile set by a leading organization users can set new goals and a path to achieving these goals. Then, by curating content in their professional portfolios, they will self-assess and recognize how far they’ve come and the areas they’ve yet to grow.

Increase the number of employee-manager interactions

It is impossible for managers to keep up with the daily performance of each of their employees. Daily conversations might be unachievable, but once/year reviews are also unacceptable. The goal, as Bill Howatt identifies, is to increase the number of employee-manager interactions in a meaningful and constructive way. An increase in interactions will improve mentorship and facilitation of performance. Technology affords this increase in interactions because it is asynchronous and evidence-based.

Competency.io allows an increase in interactions because employees can share artefacts or full portfolios once per month, once per quarter, or weekly as situations arise. Portfolios are designed to be viewed in under three minutes and employees and managers can access the content anywhere and anytime. The result is an increase in meaningful employee-manager interactions that are evidence-based and data-informed.

Real-time learning

It is now possible to learn anything on the internet. If an employee needs to learn how to use an MS Excel pivot table, it needs to be unacceptable that they wait for a $595 1-day MS Excel course. Conversely, employees who take initiative to source their own learning opportunities should be recognized for this initiative. Competency.io enables real time learning by defining outcomes using performance and behavioural expectations and then, identifying ways for the employee to learn the content and demonstrate their learning. In this way, employees learn what they need to know when they need to know it, and this initiative can be captured and recognized.

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