This year has taught us all that maintaining performance and profitability levels are paramount. But how do you manage performance when you feel like you’re trying to juggle so many things in your life while transitioning your people to a new way of thinking around getting work done?
Let’s be honest: You have a lot on your plate. Tons of apps to manage, lots of employees, and many stakeholders (from senior leaders to HR leaders). It’s hard to keep track of it all while also managing the performance of your direct reports. You need help. I know I do!
Up until now, I’ve only been talking about work. You’re likely also juggling childcare and back-to-school responsibilities as well as chores and work. If your life is like mine, your child wants dinner or needs to go to practice and your leader or your team wants to schedule a meeting — all at the same time. When you’re dealing with all this, performance management may not be at the top of your list, but you also know it’s still critical that you hit your organizational goals or OKRs and manage your employees’ performance.
Organizational leaders are tackling this challenge in different ways. In March, for example, Facebook decided to give its 45,000 employees “exceeds expectations” reviews just to be done with it. However, you don’t have to blanket-rate all your people. A modern approach to performance management using the right technology can help you support each of your employees and their needs individually, and evaluate and elevate individual results without a lot of heavy lifting.
Here are a few ways you can achieve your performance goals and OKRs while also lightening the load on your shoulders.
Productivity gurus talk about “offloading” your mind to free up space to focus on the most important tasks. This means writing out your thoughts, goals, and plans for the day or week so you can stay focused on what you need to get done.
The same is true when managing the performance of your people. Having a centralized place to plan activities that help you make progress on goals, collaborate with and support teammates, and recognize each other’s progress for the week or quarter helps your team stay focused on the work in front of them.
For example, at the beginning of the day or week, you can evaluate the progress you made on your goals the prior week and check in to share that progress so everyone knows where things stand in a transparent environment. You can plan your weekly tasks and assign them to different days and times when you want to focus on them. It's in this way that you can balance your workload and bring structure to your week. You can invite others to participate in different activities and collaborate in teams to accomplish them, organizing everyone around the shared goals and OKRs of the organization. Each of these things might seem small, but by doing this consistently, you are connecting your team, your peers, and yourself to the bigger-picture strategy.
Since strategy execution has always been a challenge for leaders, and 2020 has made that even more difficult, a great first step to getting your performance mojo back is to offload what’s in your mind and provide the information your team needs to jump in and share the load. This might sound like work, but when you start doing these activities consistently, your team will start wanting to (rather than having to) log in to see where things stand. They will begin to want to check in, wanting to collaborate and post progress as they begin to connect the dots on being a part of something bigger.
Integrate as much as you can.
The work your employees perform every day is (obviously) not in a performance management solution. That’s why your solution should interact with and import data from other tools that your people do use every day, tools like Office 365, G Suite, Slack, Jira, or other systems where they commonly work.
By not having to duplicate efforts by re-entering progress, you free up time and energy your employees can spend somewhere else. As a leader, you don’t have to wonder about their progress toward goals since it’s automatically recorded and available for you and everyone involved to see.
For example, Inspire Software integrates with Slack or Microsoft Teams, where you can update tasks and objectives or goals, as well as receive notifications for a variety of events, and important communications. You could also integrate with Office 365 or G- Suite to sync tasks with calendars, embed documents, and use the single sign-on features to log in more quickly.
Integrations like these drastically reduce admin and task-switching burdens imposed by the dozens of apps you use every day. Inspire Software lets you keep working in the apps you already use and keeps all that data in one place so it’s easy to reference, while creating that single source of truth.
Collaborate on the rest.
Of course, many of the tasks you need to complete today aren’t yet solved by integrations. This is where collaboration comes in.
Nearly every role needs an increased level of collaboration than what was required years ago. Organizational researchers see the future of organizations as a collective of small networks of teams, all using social communication features to work cross-departmentally and cross-functionally. Collaboration, in other words, is the future of work.
A performance management strategy of the future needs to tackle this head-on. When everyone in your organization has access to the platform, a simple @ tag can relay a message to the person you want to collaborate with. You can also use this feature to give recognition and feedback to each one of your employees right where the work is being done, rather than logging in to yet another system to appreciate someone’s efforts or results. And if your team needs extra help or support but isn’t sure what to ask or how, built-in leadership content also provides resources for more actionable and useful feedback. This helps you and your people find the right ways to offer and ask for help.
Conversations, feedback, and recognition will continue to form the framework of how work gets done in the future. If you’re going to maintain a high level of performance, and as goals increasingly include many stakeholders across the organization, social tools like these will be critical for performance.
Scale performance management with Inspire Software.
With essentially every white-collar industry moving to a digital environment this year, there’s no reason why performance management can’t move right along with them. That’s why we’ve designed Inspire Software to be as nimble and powerful as it is — so you can keep performance and profitability top of mind.