In recent years, we have seen companies shift and adapt in order to increase employee productivity. One trend that has become increasingly clear is the ineffectiveness of performance management.
Over the last number of years, Deloitte has been conducting research into employees, organisations and best working practices.
One survey in particular highlighted that only 8pc of companies believe performance management process drives high levels of value, while 58pc say it is not an effective use of time.
With this in mind, Deloitte is taking measures to drastically overhaul their performance management system across the globe.
While Deloitte Ireland is still in the process of implementing the new system, other countries including the UK, America and Australia already have a new system in place.
Alec Bashinsky is the talent leader in Deloitte for the Asia Pacific region and is based in Sydney. “We knew that our leaders and employees hated the existing performance management process,” said Bashinsky.
“We wanted to build a coaching culture with people at the centre, founded on strengths and underpinned by simple, local, real-time data points that could help us make smarter business decisions.”
And so the new system StandOut was rolled out last year.
According to Bashinsky, there are two regular in-person elements and two electronic components to StandOut.
Employees have a weekly check-in with their project manager and a coaching session with their dedicated coach once every quarter. There’s also a four-question performance pulse for the employee’s project manager to answer, and a team pulse survey.
Bashinsky says engagement and future-focused conversations are important elements to drive performance. “We focus our leaders on giving clarity to every team member on what’s expected of them in the immediate future, provide regular feedback, infuse them with a sense of excitement and … help each team member play to their strengths.”
Has it worked?
Overhauling an entire performance management system is a serious undertaking, and Bashinsky says it has been a long, ever-changing journey that has not been without its challenges.
“We radically tipped performance management on its head! And whilst everyone theoretically ‘got it’, getting on with ‘doing it’ presented a whole new challenge.”
The process involved working with leaders to develop their coaching skills, making them comfortable with open dialogue with employees that weren’t anchored by rankings and completely altering their perspective to ensure they could look at solutions and not just problems, while subsequently unlocking their employees’ potential via their strengths.
“Whilst we are still on the change journey, we have seen fantastic adoption across the firm,” said Bashinsky.
He said that since they adopted the new system last year, performance pulses have been completed every month, confirming that leaders and employees are connecting.
More than 90pc of all respondents to the company’s user experience survey had participated in coaching sessions in the last three months.
More than 80pc of people have completed the strengths assessment to date. Therefore, Bashinsky said there is a greater understanding of individual strengths across the firm.
He also said the performance data they receive is more reliable. “Rather than our leaders spending time debating ratings, they are having much more future-focused development conversations with and about their people.”
‘Our new approach to performance management is able to deliver insights, team by team and individual by individual, across the breadth of the firm’
– ALEC BASHINSKY, DELOITTE
The new system of continuous development and coaching means Deloitte can provide its employees with real-time feedback, which in turn provides higher quality results for its clients.
The company can also make smarter business decisions and repurpose administrative time and energy into coaching and personal development.
“The change has had significant benefits for Deloitte,” said Bashinsky. “In doing away with performance rankings, there are two things we would suggest organisations consider:
1. Change readiness: The appetite of the executive and leadership teams to adopt and lead the change.
2. Individual data points: These will be used to continue to inform business decisions.
“We don’t believe there to be any downside,” he said. “We have removed the administrative burden, shifted our focus to coaching and a more valid and reliable way of measuring performance. This has proved to be better for our people and our business.
With Deloitte’s new system being rolled out in Ireland as well as other countries, and a number of other companies such as Accenture and Microsoft replacing their performance management systems, it’s only a matter of time before traditional performance management becomes obsolete.
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