If you have been paying attention to the issue of performance in the workplace, you likely are aware of a move toward greater use of software to help measure actual performance and provide additional support to those involved in the performance management process.
This is certainly a good develop as a more “objective look” at what people are contributing is helpful and needed. These systems are designed to help support the processes of goal setting, follow-up, and evaluation of people’s work. G2Crowd.com, for example, provides ratings for performance management tools.
Performance Support Software is Good
Whatever additional support that organizations and leaders can provide to employees at all levels about how they are doing and how they can improve is welcomed. Most organizations consistently fall short in communicating with employees about how they are performing and how they can improve. Many have big holes in communication about goals and improving performance on a regular basis – which is key. The old yearly appraisal process, or just finding out “you’re out” or “promoted” has been a poorly executed talent strategy for as long as organizations have existed.
But More than Software is Needed
Do not under any circumstances believe that the “problem” of managing performance and helping people improve and grow can be solved with software alone. Good software can be helpful and will allow people to use their time more wisely. With many of the “administrative tasks” handled, performance management systems allow time to be spent where it needs to be: on the process of communicating and actively working with and supporting people. Think of these software tools as a springboard for a high-performance workplace that supports individual development and helps people perform at the highest levels.
Let’s not let happen in the workplace what has happened to some people’s personal relationships and connections. That being that they are often exclusively online and miss the power and motivational connection of one-to-one conversations and real personal sharing.
We don’t want people to just click “like” on someone’s goal and move on. Rather we want the process to begin and continue to be center around supportive conversations and include specific feedback about goals, desired behaviors, and what’s working well and not.
We don’t want “relationships” between colleagues and/or leaders and staff to be reduced to checking off fields on online forms. Spending time personally connecting with people — perhaps recommending a book, suggesting an article to read, or just opening a discussion about how someone can improve — can leverage whatever performance software you deploy and make it worth many times its cost.
Coaching is Key
Real life coaching — supporting, understanding and connecting — can and should coexist and thrive with great software. Just don’t forget the human part of the performance improvement equation.
Remember: Your people are the heroes — not the software!
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Licensed QwikCoach users can get additional insights from our Managing Performance module.