As many economies begin to see the light at the end of their pandemic-recovery efforts, many business leaders contemplate what to do next for their organisations. With many lessons learned from the hardships encountered during the last couple of years, such as the importance of remaining adaptive to change, companies and their workforce are now looking for better and improved ways to do work to be better prepared for similar or more severe obstacles that may affect operations down the line.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, many surveys have been conducted by organisations such as the World Economic Forum in terms of which working arrangement works best to boost working professionals’ productivity. Statistics from surveys such as one conducted by the Harvard Business School dictate that a majority of employees excelled in a remote work from home environment, with about as many as 81 per cent of them now preferring a hybrid work model moving forward. On a similar note, a McKinsey survey shows that just as many executives envision a hybrid workplace for their business, with their employees ideally spending around 20 to 80 per cent of their time in the office and the rest in remote work at home or in coworking office spaces for lease.
So, what does this mean for performance management? Essentially, no less than a complete overhaul that better accommodates this new work arrangement to get the most out of employees and their managers.
Why focus on performance management?
Performance management is critical because it is one of the few talent practices that directly engage each employee in an organisation. It helps them set their target goals, receive essential feedback, and adjust their work practices accordingly. Moreover, performance assessments impact promotions, compensation, and many other career-related opportunities.
Due to the many complications that may lay ahead, such as not knowing whether or not an employee has been efficient with their time management, leaders must confront and find their answer to the many performance management questions debated in conversations for decades, such as:
- How will employee goals be set, managed, and evaluated without the physical presence of managers?
- How can managers effectively coach and give feedback to employees if they are not within the same space?
- How can managers provide fair evaluations if they work asynchronously with employees?
Tips for redesigning performance management for hybrid work models
Looking at hours worked as a metric of performance no longer applies in hybrid work; this arrangement shines when a company’s culture instead focuses on results and a higher degree of trust between managers and their teams.
Without a doubt, redesigning performance management will vary for each organisation and their preferred hybrid work model arrangement. However, here are a few tips for a smooth transition regardless of these differences.
1. Set clear goals using a proven goal-setting method
To accurately evaluate performance based on results, a company should ideally first have a solid and shared understanding of their aims. Goal-based performance management follows this as its first rule － objectives should be crystal clear.
Although ambiguous goals such as hours worked might help all employees regardless of their working arrangement, clearly-defined ones, such as setting a specific number of articles to write daily for content writers, are especially important for professionals that do not have as much face-to-face interaction with their managers. These prevent them from feeling detached from their teams, managers, and the work they are doing together.
Besides setting well-defined objectives, using tried and tested goal-setting methods to create them are just as equally important. These methodologies ensure that the goals made are unambiguous and inspire action. One such formula is the SMART method (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) which checks all the boxes of an explicit goal.
2. Tie goals to company objectives
Prior to setting goals for staff, it is ideal for leaders to first carefully review their companies’ goals. Doing so guarantees that any objectives assigned to them will further help achieve the organisation’s overall mission. In addition, this direct tie between employee goals and the company’s mission serves as a compelling motivator for employees.
When employees recognise that they are playing a role towards achieving a greater purpose, they become empowered and feel more connected. And once they feel that way, they tend to work harder and go beyond to achieve their goals. Furthermore, basing goals on more significant overall objectives also help to weed out biases and ensure that those who conduct performance reviews are as objective as possible. These two are essential for creating an inclusive company culture.
3. Involve employees in the entire process
While it is a business leader’s responsibility to ensure that their employees meet the desired expectations, those expectations should ideally not be handed down without conversation. This essentially means that performance management should not be a top-down activity and that it would be best for employees to be involved in the goal-setting process right from the start. This two-way communication street offers several benefits, such as:
- More realistic and motivating objectives with employees now providing input before goals are finalised.
- Greater trust between managers and employees as the two work together to identify metrics.
- Improved ability to recognise and proactively address performance issues since employees are more in-tune with expectations.
- Increased buy-in for goals due to employees having a direct role in shaping them.
That said, it is crucial to regularly check on these goals’ progress since this process is not just about setting goals but also helping employees reach them. Being honest with the feedback they share is also tantamount to making things work as it allows proper managing and supporting their current performance and helps set more realistic objectives in the future.
The task of managing and developing a team of professionals so they can reach their maximum potential in this new hybrid work environment is undoubtedly no easy feat. But hopefully, with the following tips above, your company will be one step closer to achieving what your staff needs to succeed.
If you find yourself needing your employees to stick together despite working remotely, why not consider situating them in one place at a flexible office space? At GreenHub, we provide many modern small offices for rent in Singapore, complete with the necessary furnishings and amenities your workforce needs to succeed in their work. Complemented by the natural beauty of nature, our offices are also designed with your employees’ health in mind by promoting their mental and physical well-being through biophilic and green design elements.
Come and experience our office spaces for yourself and call us at +65 6692 8000 for more details.