Gallup research revealed that it is an employee’s manager that influences 70% of their engagement. This statistic suggests that it is the relationship between manager and employee that is the crucial factor in determining why performance varies so wildly from one group to another. As a result, organizations now recognize the importance of the manager-employee relationship and are challenging HR leaders to produce ways to better understand, measure and influence these relationships and in turn drive performance, productivity and engagement.
HR leaders, in turn, are looking to technology to find the solution. Today there are a wealth of innovative solutions on the market that enable HR to accomplish this task.
The role of technology in performance & feedback
Employee expectations are driving the pace of innovation in HR and in recent years we’ve seen incredible growth in employee survey and feedback tools. Most of these tools try to measure employee Net Promoter Score (NPS) and/or employee engagement and are designed to provide anonymity to facilitate honesty and candor. These surveys measure how employees feel about their organization, company leadership/strategic direction, their direct managers and the role the employee is performing at the organization.
These tools, when used well, can help executives and managers understand areas of focus that require attention for creating better cultures, improving communication and morale, and ultimately improving retention. While important, this technology and the data it produces do not solve the problem. Instead, they provide evidence that managers need to develop action plans for improvement. When management does make any company-wide changes based on employee feedback, it makes employees feel connected and gives them a sense that their opinions matter.
There’s also been a dramatic shift in the thinking and strategy behind performance management. For decades, it consisted of the dreaded annual review which did nothing to improve or enhance employee performance and productivity. Yearly reviews are now archaic. Today, performance management is about facilitating a more consistent and frequent interaction between the employee and their manager. The result of more frequent communication is the ability to address, in real-time, performance areas that can be improved, measured and developed if skill gaps exist. More frequent performance and feedback reviews allow managers and employees to be more agile with the goals they set. Taking an agile approach to performance and feedback also helps managers and employees stay aligned with rapid changes in corporate strategic objectives due to the pace of digital transformation and competition.
Technology as a facilitator
Thanks to technology, organizations now can institutionalize the process of collecting feedback/input, manage the process of initiating interactions, and provide the tools and plans that enable employees to develop and improve. At SumTotal, performance combined with personalized learning and development planning is a core focus and one that leads to career growth, engagement and increased retention. To learn more about this concept and get some practical advice about performance reviews and the benefits that come from focusing on people not process, read our new white paper on Improving Performance Reviews: People Strategy Now Outranks Business Strategy in Helping Companies Achieve Desired Outcomes.
My only word of caution is to remember that no technology solution can replace the value and impact of human interaction, specifically the interaction between employee and manager. In every organization, it is critical that the employee-manager relationship is, at its heart, a human one and focused on achieving shared goals.
Using SumTotal’s 360 Degree Feedback employees can reach their full potential. To learn more, request a demo and see for yourself how we can help build a strong and nurturing relationship between manager and employee that will ultimately lead to positive business outcomes.