On 16th and 17th May a group of more than 250 HR leaders met in Chicago for the 2nd annual HCI Conference on Performance Management Innovation.
Pay Compliment were proud sponsors of the event once again, and had the pleasure to discuss innovation plans and in some cases reservations with many organisations over the 2 days.
As well as exhibiting our technology, we were able to participate in the conference sessions and breakout groups.
What we heard was that between last year's conference and this, the conversation around performance management innovation has moved on in some fundamental ways.
One size does not fit all
A year on, the conversation is less about first movers staking claims of having the 'formula' for every organisation to follow, and more about the reality that each organisation replete with its own culture and constraints must forge its own path of small yet continuous innovation. This came with acknowledgement from even those first movers that their first move will not be their last!
Take GAP as an example. They have long been touted as the exemplar of performance management innovation, having removed ratings, branded in a clever way and developed their own technology to act as a system of engagement around performance conversations. However, they've done this for the head office staff of about 10,000 people and not for the broader employee base in their stores being the other roughly 120,000 people in their workforce. Only now, 4 years after starting their journey are they beginning to include the people out in the stores, and even then only in their Athleta brand.
Anna Tavis set the tone for the event perfectly. Anna suggested that organisations embarking on performance management innovation needed to begin with their own cultural discovery process. They need to find the natural rhythm of the organisation and its people and to decide what their performance management direction should be based on fitting to that. Anna was first to mention the theme of segmentation within the organisation rather than one size fits all approach, and she used the example of agile software development providing precedents that HR could follow.
If we had been hiring a keynote speaker we would have hired Anna because her messaging mirrored our thinking in so many ways.
In our first episode of the journey to agile performance management we discuss how agile software development precedents can help with performance management innovation, and in our 4A's framework for performance management we highlight the need for a one size fits one approach to personalise the performance management experience, and to flex your processes to fit segments of your employee population.
Uberization of the workforce
Anne Fulton CEO of Fuel 50 was next to make an impression on us.
Anne spoke about the Uberization of the workforce reflecting that people were staying in roles and in companies for ever shorter periods, working more and more on a 'gig' basis, and that this was driven by employees and employers alike.
Her next topic was the Atomization of work, where work is broken down into tiny pieces that can be 'transacted' at the lowest cost.
Looking at Uberization and Atomization together, Anne's conclusion was that feedback needed to be continuous and micro-bite sized.
We've worried that lack of continuity is a massive problem that's looming and Anne hit on the 2 dynamics at the heart of the issue; how can people improve if they lose access to feedback at each change of employer, and what is the motivation to improve if no-one is vested in their long term development?
In creating Pay Compliment as the only lifelong feedback platform we have a very clear vision for this. We believe that self-service performance management is the future. Allowing individuals to take responsibility for gathering and acting on their own feedback puts the person with most to gain in control, and for that to happen, employers need a way to provide strong stewardship to their people that has impact beyond short bursts of tenure. Our feedback profiles, lifelong feedback history and feedback people network deliver this.
From a managers' perspective imagine being asked to invest time into performance managing the growing number of people who stay fleetingly, knowing that the feedback and coaching provided is lost when they move on and lose access to corporate systems. That's not a good use of time. Your effort is lost before it can be acted upon. Now imagine the alternative of providing feedback and coaching that becomes part of that individuals' lifelong performance management knowledge base, and where you become a valuable part of their feedback network. Now your creating your coaching legacy and making a difference. For both the manager and the individual we think the Pay Compliment concept of lifelong access to feedback changes the game.
David Rock of the NeuroLeadership Institute always offers up a mix of research and strong opinion, and his topics this time were no exception.
David homed in on the 3 must do's of performance management innovation
1. A framework to ensure more regular conversations happen (such as our 4A Framework)
2. Future focused conversations (such as we discuss in this post)
3. Good change management especially regarding manager capability (such as we highlight in pumping up the tyres here)
As you can see we've been noticing the same patterns and writing about them, and it's encouraging that there are some common themes that set organisations up for success.
Last year TMobile spoke of the 30 or so conversation types they had trained their managers to have as part of their performance management innovation, and this year David distilled the essential conversations down to six.
1. Goal Setting
2. Everyday feedback
3. Regular check-ins against goals
4. End of cycle reviews
5. Compensation conversations
6. Career conversations
Whether you are sticking to the essential 6 or expanding beyond that, our library of conversation templates, and our custom template builder have you covered. We enable you to structure all the conversation types you need, with all the visibility and privacy options that you'd expect to keep the information private between relevant stakeholders. We do that with a very simple to use template builder that also constructs business intelligence dashboards to analyse the data you collect.
We have always developed Pay Compliment to embed NeuroScience and behavioural psychology into its inner workings, and we left Davids' session feeling that we had all the elements built into our platform that a business would need in order to put his research and advice into practice.
Directing, Connecting and Teaming
Alan L Colquitt Ph.D. shared his experiences as Director of Global Assessment and Workforce Research at Eli Lilly where he is responsible for their performance management innovation.
His observations put simply were that Performance Management should aim to connect people around Purpose and then to motivate them toward success with positive feedback concerning progress.
Alan used examples of collectivism and a strong sense of purpose in the public domain rapidly solving problems like genome mapping and code breaking that the private sector could not solve using hierarchy and traditional planning.
What stuck with us about Alans' experience was the power of the network. Something our users can see every day through the visualisations of network dynamics that we provide.
Four pilots in 2 years
The team from Booz Allen Hamilton, who we met as delegates at the 2016 event returned in 2017, this time as presenters. Covering 2 years of learning they presented their own experiences in performance management innovation.
What we liked about this session was the concept of piloting and adapting. The style of innovation used at Booz Allen Hamilton really embraces the concept of an agile approach and also acknowledges that what works for some might not work for all.
Having just released our built-in people analytics and business intelligence dashboards we also liked that Booz Allen Hamilton had taken inspiration from Coca-Cola and measured grass roots reactions to guide their approach to innovation.
Organisations that don't keep a record of performance management conversations are missing out on a huge opportunity to use the data from those conversations. Analytics are an essential guide for leadership, and we are finding some amazing insights by mining feedback data on behalf of our customers.
Our theme for 2017 is that performance management is a journey, and each journey will start and end in different places and traverse a different route.
Our job as a HR Tech company is to provide the vehicle to take you through that journey, and we see the key to that being flexibility. Through flexibility we give you the platform to support your pilots, capture data, adjust and reconfigure, and to segment your activities to suit the differing needs of each part of your organisation.
The conference really seemed to echo that organisations would each experience different journeys, and there is no universal roadmap for performance management innovation.
That was a refreshing amount of progress from the pursuit of universal best practices just a year ago.