When it comes to successfully rolling out a Continuous Performance Management program in your organization, it’s essential to think about processes first. By fending off the “tool first” mentality and focusing on defining the processes first, HR teams can ensure they invest in tools that will best accommodate the process.

So what are the key areas of the performance management process that HR pros should focus on in order to get the desired results?

Start with outcomes. Too often the end game isn’t defined and without a definition of success, success will elude you.

When setting up your performance management program, ask your team some ‘results based’ questions. What employee and business objectives do you want to achieve? What behaviors do you want to drive? Once the employee and business outcomes are clear, and desired behaviors outlined, the actual metrics that will tell you if you’ve been successful need to be clarified. I like to think about what you will need to observe or measure that tells you that success has been achieved.

Clearly defining success will allow you to start refining the process flow, and the Change Plan to get you there. This flow evolves into your performance management program, AND it will start to help with your change management plan.

So what are the details you need to think about when creating this flow? Here are some components to think of as you consider your process:

  • Is feedback part of the process? If so…
    • Who is the feedback for?
    • Who determines providers?
    • Who has visibility?
    • Is timing a consideration? When?
  • Are ratings part of the process? If so…
    • What is the frequency?
    • Who has visibility?
    • Are they communicated to employees?
    • What is the rating structure?
    • What do the ratings inform?
  • What downstream processes are impacted?
    • Determine which process is touched
    • Define how one process informs the other
    • Who is involved?
    • How is the downstream process impacted

Once you’ve identified the high level process components, putting the flow of the work together is next. When doing this, ask yourself how will the steps in the process flow through your organization? Think in terms of the sequence of events, who is involved at each step, what do they do, and how they will know when they need to do it. Process mapping or swimlanes are helpful here. Next, ask yourself; how will everyone navigate the process? This could mean communication, training, coaching and rewarding the right behaviors.

After completing this exercise, you will have successfully outlined your high level performance management framework. Now it’s time to select the best tool to meet your needs. Stay tuned for the next article in this series to help with that!