How Performance Management Has Changed In 2021?

The year 2020 has been a roller-coaster ride for all due to the COVID19 pandemic. While we are almost in the fourth month of the year 2021, we are still unsure how the rest of the year will turn out to be. Remote working or hybrid working has become the new norm and is still likely to continue for sometime. This new era of working has allowed employees to work flexibly, increase their productivity, put in extra effort, and work from anywhere while managing their personal lives. But it has also resulted in an increase in the number of employees reporting burnout, stress, and anxiety. As the way we work has changed, performance management also needs a more comprehensive approach. Here are some trends that are already shaping up and are here to stay.

Performance Management Goes Virtual For All

When everyone shifted to working from home or remote working, it became difficult for organizations to manage their employee’s performance. So most companies shifted to cloud-based applications or tools from the traditional approach. In our recent survey to understand the impact of COVID on Performance Management and Employee Development, we found that performance management has gone virtual and more progressive. Here are some of the results from the survey:

  • Over 50 % of organization leaders reported that their employees were more frequently participating in check-ins, performance review assessments, and OKRs and Goal Management
  • 64.8% of respondents reported increased frequency of engagement in ongoing check-ins with managers in the COVID Era
  • 73.8% of respondents said that these changes would continue even post COVID, and 70% of them were satisfied with these changes

We also found that organizations are now focussing more on continuous performance management than a yearly or half-yearly review of performance.

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People Development Becomes Feedback Focussed

In the survey mentioned above, we also found that people’s development has become on the job and based on real time feedback. More and more organizations are focusing on sharing immediate or real time feedback with their employees. When feedback is shared only during reviews or appraisals, it loses importance, and often employees fail to connect the dots. On the other hand, regular feedback helps employees know what they are doing right and what to improve on. It helps them reinforce the practices which will help the organization grow. It boosts their morale; motivation and satisfaction level. We can say that regular and continuous feedback has become an important part of performance management for the virtual workforce.

Also Read: A 7 Step Guide To A Successful 360 Degree Feedback Process

The Need for Skill Development and Mentoring

Skill Development and Mentoring are a big part of employee performance management in the virtual working environment. It is the right time for employees to upskill and cross-skill themselves. Frequent check-ins and feedback help managers understand their employees better. As a result, managers can identify their training and development needs easily. Give your employees access to online training academies such as Coursera, Udemy, edX, etc.

This is also the right time to start a mentoring program for your employees. Having a mentor in these uncertain times will be helpful for your employees. A mentor will help in the personal and professional development of your employee. Invest in mentoring software such as Mentoring Complete that uses their proprietary algorithm and a 3 step matching process to find the correct mentor-mentee match.

When an employee sees that the organization cares for their growth and development, they feel empowered, confident, and committed to their work. It results in a decrease in employee turnover and an increase in retention.

Enhanced Streamlining of Goals and Alignment

Goal Setting and Alignment have always been a crucial component of performance management. It helps employees stay focused, engaged, and stay motivated at all times. Traditionally companies planned their goals for the entire year or half-yearly. But the current volatile nature of business has forced organizations to set short-term goals. More and more organizations have started using the OKR methodology to set their SMART goals. 

Successful organizations such as Google, Amazon, Disney, LinkedIn, etc., use OKRs or Objectives and Key Results to set their goals. OKRs consist of two components – Objectives: a clearly defined goal to be achieved, and Key Results: measurable steps to achieve the objectives. Each objective should have 3-5 key results. OKRs help employees to set and align individual goals to the organization’s goals. Additionally, OKRs help everyone identify measures of success, prioritize tasks, and set stretchable goals. They can be easily updated or discontinued as per changing business needs.

Also Read: OKR Goal Setting For Successful Businesses

Focus on Wellbeing And Employee Experience

As per recent research in Harvard Business Review, employers who invested in the well-being of their employees saw three times the return of their money spent.

Employee wellbeing and experience are the essence of performance management for remote employees in 2021. It is a year where companies cannot focus on providing the best customer experience alone! They also need to focus on providing the best employee experience. Failing to do so will impact employee engagement and productivity. But with employees working remotely, it often becomes difficult. Here are some ways which will make it easy:

  • Use tools like Engagedly and engage in regular two-way communication and feedback. It will help you keep a pulse on employee’s engagement levels
  • Offer or conduct virtual yoga or gym sessions through Zoom or Google Hangouts
  • Give them access to online doctor consultation platforms
  • Reward and recognize them to keep them motivated
  • Have ‘Virtual watercooler’ sessions

This helps in creating a better experience for your employees. They are fit, satisfied, and happy at their jobs. Not only this, but it also helps in improving employee retention and employee engagement. Needless to say, it also results in innovation.

Are you planning to invest in a performance management software? Then request for a live demo.

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Performance Management: Post COVID Changes To Get Used To

The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new. – Socrates

Remote work is not the only aspect of change in the past year. COVID-19 has made sure that everything that was once normal is not so anymore. So we at Engagedly sought to understand these changes (esp. with performance management), how they are impacting us today and whether these changes are permanent. 

We surveyed to understand the situation better and bring to you information that will help you improve employee engagement and learning. 

In the previous edition, People Development Goes Virtual and More Feedback Focused, we discussed how the pandemic has impacted learning and development, and feedback. In this edition, we will discuss the comprehensive overview

The Performance Management Survey: 

We asked leaders from 5 key industries to report the degree of change for different performance management processes. They were to report whether or not each of the performance management processes was occurring more or less frequently during COVID-19. 

They responded on a five-point scale (1= significantly less frequent and 5 = significantly more frequent).

What did we find?

Overall, 20% of respondents were very satisfied with the changes they experienced related to performance management and people development processes. These are the leaders that reported being very satisfied (5, on a 1-5 point likert scale measuring satisfaction) with the changes to performance management and people processes that they experienced due to COVID-19. 

Taking a deeper look into those who were very satisfied with the changes provides some additional insights to guide future initiatives. 

Also read: Performance Management Gone Virtual and More Progressive

When asked, “What specific process change(s) to people development had the biggest impact on your satisfaction?” There were a few key themes that surfaced: 

  • Improved training technologies/processes 
  • More frequent and accessible trainings for employees 
  • Breadth of training offered 

When asked, “What specific process change(s) to performance had the biggest impact on your satisfaction?” Here were a few key themes that surfaced: 

  • Incentivizing/recognizing employees for good/improved performance and adherence to new policies 
  • Checking in more frequently with employees about performance and asking them how they were doing personally as well (well-being) 
  • Optimization of systems and technology 
  • Transitioning back to the in-person work environment and work schedules Investments in technologies 
  • Supporting the more flexible work environment and coordinating the work of the team(s) 
Also read: Know How to Make Employee Feedback Work

We are still amidst the fog of COVID and its remote work environment when it comes to most of the workplaces in the US. It still remains to be seen if these changes are widespread permanence or if they will be more industry-specific. While we do anticipate that there will be some retrenchment to the old way of managing Performance and Learning & Development but it seems quite likely that we will not go back to pre-February 2020 days

When looking at the data and insights we can always learn a lot from those that are doing well, or have had a favorable experience. Though our natural tendency is to fix the broken parts, sometimes a fix is as easy as replicating or copying where things are working well. These lessons can come easily from both internal and external sources. All we need to do is be mindful of this fact, and stay curious.

Want to view the detailed report? Click here.


Want to know how Engagedly can help you with implementing continuous feedback? Then request for a live demo

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People Development Goes Virtual and More Feedback Focused

2020 has taught us many things. But most importantly, it has made us realise the power of technological advancement and digitization. In our previous edition, we brought to you details on how Performance Management has Gone Virtual and More Progressive. In this edition, we will discuss people development and employee feedback in the post pandemic era. 

While technology and digitization has allowed us to continue working through the pandemic period, what about learning and reskilling? Your employees require learning and development too, especially in today’s day and age. So with the transition to remote work and organizations’ inability to conduct in-person training, we anticipated an increase in virtual and technology-driven learning and development

We decided to conduct a survey to understand the situation better and bring to you information that will help you enhance employee engagement and learning. 

To assess the extent of the changes COVID has brought upon us, we reached out to leaders and HR heads. They were asked to report the degree of change for different people development processes by reporting whether or not each of the development related processes was occurring more or less frequently during COVID. They responded on a five point scale (1= significantly less frequent and 5 = significantly more frequent)

We focused the questions on the following people development processes: 

  • Online Training from External Content Providers 
  • Online Training from Internal Content Providers 
  • Live Online Training from Internal Teams 
  • Live Online Training from External Content Providers 
  • Ongoing Feedback 
  • Developmental Assessment(s) (i.e. 360, Personality, etc.) 

Guess what we found?

The changes in people development was more pronounced than the changes in Performance Management Processes. Over 50% responses indicate that they took part in all 5 of the people development processes that were assessed in more frequency. Moreso, Online Training from Internal Content Providers, reported the largest change with 69.1% of leaders reporting that this was occurring more frequently now. 

This was followed by Live Online Training from Internal Teams, Online Training from External Content Providers, Ongoing Feedback, Live Online Training from External Content Providers, and Developmental Assessment(s) (i.e. 360, Personality, etc.), respectively. This explains the recent uptick in employee development training vendors growth across the entire spectrum. We then took to assess if the leaders are satisfied with these changes and expect these changes to continue.

Here is what we found: 

Answer to Research Paper survey

Key takeaways for you:

As learning and development technologies and approaches have evolved to take on more virtual and real time feedback (on the job development), COVID has acted as an accelerant to these changes as anticipated. While organizations are actively embracing learning technologies and more progressive approaches to development like Real Time Feedback and Coaching, it remains to be seen if this is here to stay. Given the level of satisfaction with remote work changes, the future work environment may embrace a hybrid model (remote and in office), so we anticipate many of these shifts will be permanent.

Want to view the detailed report? Click here.

Do you want to know how Engagedly can help you with Performance Management? We have live demo for you.

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