To reap the benefits of an improved performance management process, many organizations are rolling out methods and tactics that put employee engagement at the forefront. The most popular trend continues to be a push towards continuous performance management (CPM).
One of the primary benefits of moving to continuous performance management is fostering conversations between employees and their managers. There is an emphasis on employee-driven communications, especially on ensuring that conversations are a two-way street rather than the one-sided dialogues many organizations may be familiar with.
Companies are moving towards a model of regularly collecting feedback that can be reviewed throughout the year to continuously improve their processes and help employees reach goals — not just at the end of the year. Decoupling conversations from compensation can also sidestep the dread that many employees feel when approaching these meetings. Without the implication of compensation changes, they may talk more freely about their performance and what can be improved. According to a survey by Forrester Research, a market research company, 35 percent of respondents say they view performance conversations as a chore.
Because the purpose of these talks is ultimately to discuss and further performance goals, they are often encouraged at a greater frequency or even on an ad-hoc basis. Conversations don’t necessarily have to be linked to evaluations but should discuss goals and development, as well as advancement opportunities.
Check-in conversations can cover a variety of topics, but managers should take care to narrow the scope to actionable needs or feedback. This can include:
Another tactic that many organizations have experimented with is reverse mentoring. Reverse mentoring pairs senior- and junior-level employees and essentially swaps the mentoring roles, with the junior employee taking on the coaching position. As with traditional mentoring, this increases the skillset of the employees involved, but it also increases engagement for both.
Many companies are now seeing reverse mentoring as an effective tactic for retaining valued millennial employees. In addition, it also keeps senior employees, including the C-suite, up to date on new trends such as technology and social media. Nationwide Mutual Insurance used reverse mentoring to great effect when senior executives were pondering over what tools to acquire for internal communication, which younger employees are familiar with.
Reverse mentoring does not always have an age requirement. Some organizations will seek out those with a specific expertise or even life experience for mentoring. Procter & Gamble recently paired leaders with employees who had disabilities, leading them to discover that some of their content was not easily accessible to everyone. Similarly, companies who discover they have difficulty retaining women at higher levels of the organization may also consider a reverse mentoring program, not only to increase engagement, but also to understand why these problems might exist in the first place.