It doesn’t take much to minimize Human Resources as a system of processes and outcomes. The fact that people are the “commodity” involved adds a significant and complex character to the mix. When employers distance themselves from their employees – intentionally or not, solutions for the damage done can be found in those core processes and outcomes. The common problems created by the employee appraisal process have an easy and cost-efficient solution in HR talent management technology.
An early adapter
Brian Spence is Vice President of Human Resources at Staffing Plus, a staffing provider for healthcare employers. In a speech before the 2014 SHRM Conference, Brian described himself as an “early adapter.” He has found a niche in small company transformation and start-up environments helping them transition to HR technology platforms to support them in finding, developing, and serving talented employees. Brian envisions a mission, in his words, that charts the way to a world-class workforce performance.
All employers want a premier, highly qualified, and committed workforce. We all want a workplace culture of high integrity, dedicated customer service, and employee engagement. And, business leadership can be persuaded that the expense of securing, developing, and retaining top notch talent justifies itself.
Legacy performance appraisal
Most organizations strive to have a world class workforce – aligned, inspired, and focused on delivering exceptional results. However, when put to the test, employers have not done well in providing timely, aligned, and productive performance appraisals.
According to Brian Spence and his SHRM audience, the appraisal system has been an annoying, awkward, and worrisome process. It is time-consuming, generic in form and practice, and inconsistent in timing and alignment with income. Legacy performance appraisals have had no apparent or meaningful tie to organization goals, no formal connection between pay and performance, and no clear alignment with employee peer and self-perception.
Web-based performance appraisal
Speaker Spence’s work has been in the design and practical implementation of web-based performance appraisal. At its simplest, this HR technology changes what has been a paper bound and tedious process. At the minimum, automation talent management should speed any process. It will then increase employee and management satisfaction as speed and efficiency engage the players.
Automation enhances and refines an established employee appraisal system and provides the structure for the introduction or expansion of one. Specific enhancements are as follows:
- Enhanced and refined look and format
- 360-degree input and feedback
- Performance maintenance journals
- Links with HR big data
- Culture of communication and engagement
Automated appraisal tools
Preferred outcomes follow the integration and strategic implementation of HR technology options.
One approach created a system that, for starters, separated the workforce into three distinct groups. The system could then trigger a performance appraisal on the anniversary date for the non-revenue producers, interval dates, like quarterly or semi-annually, for revenue producers, and 10 days prior to the end of a 90-day probationary period. HR automation then administered the calendar with speed, efficiency, and no paperwork.
However, the automation technology affords many more opportunities than “mere” process scheduling and administration. For example, it can enable multi-source feedback and 360-degree input by linking comments to portal emails or archived journals. Managers, peers, and customers can share and assess performance. Supervisors and employees can keep journals on performance praise, discipline, and databases on time, attendance, and the like.
Automation can easily and reliably link performance and job description, track role transitions and status changes, and on-boarding and off-boarding process checklists. It will trigger action plans and eLearning options. And, automated talent management assess whether the employee performance is or is not aligned with corporate goals and best practices.
HR automation links process and outcomes
We have confidence in a system that will make appraisals more relevant. In doing this, it will define and strengthen the corporate culture as one that is concerned and supportive. It reduces the personal bias as it values the performances that service corporate goals. It facilitates succession planning and encourages a consistent and continuous appraisal mind-set. And, it is likely that a business that encourages, enables, and engages employee assessment will have a real world leg-up in attracting, hiring, and retaining quality performers.
Other articles of interest
Linking Pay to Performance: Cascading Goals
4 Reasons you Suck at Performance Management