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Author's profile photo Sven Ringling

SuccessFactors Continuous Performance, because… (join in!)

I started off with three lighthearted, blogs about why Continuous Performance supported by a proper tool makes business sense. Today, I want to invite you to contribute your own.

Whilst the reasons given are (hopefully) generating a few chuckles, I really mean to drive home the message – sometimes maybe a bit drastically – of how unnatural a purely annual cycle is and why a tool helps breaking out of it, even though, in theory, you could do it without special help from technology.

If you haven’t seen continuous performance yet, here is a video, my colleague Sirisha Kanchi created. It shows the browser version – there is also a mobile version available.

Basically, the tool allows you to

  • record activities, which can be linked to existing goals
  • record other topics to discuss between employee and line manager
  • record performance coaching tips from the line manager
  • create a summary of all these points to check at any time, e.g. the annual review (if you still have it) or any other meeting you have

So, whilst it’s no rocket science, it makes sure nothing is lost in the day2day dread mill and you can quickly record ideas you want to talk about at the next meeting as well as meeting outcomes. Together with the existing capabilities of SuccessFactors Goals & Performance, where you can already update and monitor goal status etc. this makes it much easier to keep up a continuous performance management process.

Here are my 3 “becauses” so far, please add you own in the comments section:

1) … line managers are simply human, too.

It is easy to say that the annual performance review was never meant to be the only meeting between an employee and their line manager throughout the year. It was always meant to be complemented by regular check points.

I know that. But he or she may cast the first stone, who never brushed over one of those check points during busy periods with a nod towards their team

This chat could be part of your performance coaching process

member when leaving a larger meeting together saying “You are fine? Everything on track?”, and mentally ticking off another month of performance monitoring when getting back a passing “Sure”, not hearing the irony. Conscience nagging, you throw in a “How are the kids?” and when your team member’s face lights up briefly with a “Oh, they are great. Thanks!” you can focus your mind on the next task ahead: writing that report for the CFO.

Or you actually do sit down together, but realise there is so much to do that you avoid the unpleasant topic of that delayed project, or to check on their progress in a learning task you suspect they are behind on. Bring it up next time if it isn’t solved by then… And 10 minutes after you’ve parted you remember that one idea you did want to discuss, but forgot about.

Or you agree on some meaningful action points in a very effective 10 min meeting in the airport lounge, but after a cancelled flight, a rail strike and a hectic project go live with the customer’s project manager off sick, you can’t find your hand written notes any more – nor can you remember all the outcomes of the meeting.

All three have happened to me during my career, so please don’t tell me I’m the single most dreadful line manager on the planet 😥

If I’m not alone, then the world needs a tool that supports these regular check points and an ongoing performance monitoring and performance coaching by

  • reminding you
  • making sure you have all the relevant information at your fingertips
  • making it easy to link activities to goals, monitor progress and give coaching advice
  • encouraging you to record tasks, agreements and other bite sized pieces of information that you consider relevant as you go along
  • allowing you to do all this on a mobile device
  • bringing all this back when needed to make your next “big” annual review meeting much more meaningful, as you both can refer to and learn from the information gathered throughout the year.

Implementing SuccessFactors Continuous Performance Management is a no-brainer, because it does all that.

2) … Your Team are not Planets

Yes, you read it correctly: If you were managing the performance of planet Earth, you might not need a tool like SuccessFactors continuous performance…

If their main task is to circumvent the sun every 365 (odd) days, and if this would have been achieved with impressive consistencies for many, many, many years, then it might be completely sufficient to meet once a year for a performance review and set new objectives for exactly one year going forward.

However, your team members are likely to:

  • have tasks that need to be completed before the next year end or extend beyond it
  • encounter unexpected changes in a business world that re-invents itself at an extremely high frequency for astronomical standards
  • deal with situations they haven’t dealt with a hundred times before, so may benefit from some coaching
  • come up with ideas of their own to make improvements

So, don’t treat your team like planets, but help them to become stars!

3) …Performance Review is not Christmas Day

So what have Performance Review and Christmas in common? Right: nothing. That’s why the performance review should not come with any surprises…

(Almost) everybody likes a surprise on Christmas day. However, for performance reviews the guiding principle of good management practise has always been: No surprises!

An employee should always have a good idea of how her or his performance is perceived throughout Feeling like a kid on christmasthe year, and line managers should have a good overview of the status of their teams various objectives. In theory, you don’t need a tool to support that. In the real world, we need every support we can get to improve performance management, one of the Talent Management processes with the broadest direct business impact.

SuccessFactors Goals and Performance together with the new Continuous Performance solution encourages line managers as well as employees to keep track of objectives and achievements, capture ideas and suggestions for the next meeting, so they are not forgotten, and see the “big” annual performance review as what it should be: a summary and conclusion of an ongoing conversation throughout the year.

… over to you 😎

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