Performance Management In Small To Mid-Size Businesses
In one of my white papers, I referenced research on best practices in large companies for realizing the value promise of performance management. Recently, OMNIview has been doing considerable work implementing performance management in small and mid-size companies. Although these companies reflect multiple industries, their situations are surprisingly similar. Performance management exists in small and mid-sized companies, but the process often has flaws and is in need of improvement. Some common problems include:
- The process is done manually or with spreadsheets, and is time consuming for managers and HR staff.
- The appraisal forms are cumbersome and filled with too many goals focused on routine activities rather than on results that really matter.
- Individual and department goals are not linked or aligned with those of the organization.
- Skill development and coaching is missing; the discussions are past-focused rather than future-focused, and only occur at the end of the appraisal period.
- The process only focuses on goals (the “what” of performance) and lacks focus on the “how” of performance; competencies are overlooked or treated minimally.
- There is no systematic collection of information or collaboration with the employee in making evaluations. The results are subjective evaluations that are not trusted and are de-motivating for employees.
- Managers have received little or no guidance or training on the core skills underlying effectively managing performance.
OMNIview has had considerable success in working with these companies to improve their performance management processes (See our Performance Management case studies relating to both a Manufacturing firm and a Telecommunication firm in the White Papers section of our website). Our approach consists of a number of key elements:
- Process automation – We provide technology for automating and simplifying their process.
- Guidance on strategic decisions – We provide free consulting. We recognize that SMB leaders often are not well informed on performance management best practices and will need guidance on key process decisions. We do not want cost to be a barrier to becoming educated and making good decisions.
- Content Customization – We work with leaders to ensure any standardized goals for different job classifications are focused on what really matters. We retain any important elements of their existing content.
- Goal linkages – We enable linking individual and department goals to department goals.
- Competency models – We start with nine, fully customizable job family competency models with performance standards that can be added to performance plans. We then customize the models to reflect any unique requirements for job performance or unique aspects of the company culture.
- Performance journals and snapshots – We provide the ability to easily capture and consolidate the information needed to make accurate performance evaluations.
- Interim reviews – We implement a collaborative process that includes regular participation and review with employees.
- Skill guidance – We provide e-learning modules to help managers with the core underlying processes behind managing performance.
The key to our success in working with small and mid-sized companies comes down to two core philosophies:
- Being a valued partner. Taking the time to both listen and educate.
- Being practical. Ensuring that we implement a performance system that managers will actually use, and bring value to both the organization and the employees.