Performance Management 4.0: How can we motivate the workforce?

January 2, 2018 Sascha Grosskopf

Each employee is becoming more and more important for the company, especially in times of upheaval with disruptive changes across industries. Employers are now more dependent than ever on highly qualified skilled workers, but many fail to understand the true value of their workforce. Many managers are currently rediscovering performance management because of this – but why did they lose sight of it before?

According to a recent study, one of the best ways to use the potential of existing employees in business is to implement targeted and continuous performance management practices. However, not all companies have the tools for modern performance management. So, what other resources can management use to motivate their workforce?

Maintain communication with the workforce

Unfortunately, performance management has only been theoretically at the top of the HR agenda so far. According to a recent IDC and Cornerstone study, only three-quarters of companies evaluate the performance and development potential of their executives and employees on a regular basis. Many companies still try to capture the value of their employees without a fixed structure, or operate a one-way performance analysis. Furthermore, a third of employers fall back on dated software instead of HR-specific IT systems, and almost one in four companies do not use an IT solution for performance management at all. It is important that communication between management and the workforce is continuous and qualitative, satisfying both the manager and their employee counterpart in the process.  

Real-time feedback

It is not surprising that the topic of performance management is becoming increasingly important; younger employees especially, expect a more frequent feedback culture.  Standard "one size fits all" solutions are no longer considered up-to-date, because the results are often inaccurate and become a hindrance to personal development. 

Annual appraisals are quickly becoming a process of the past and a continuous cycle of feedback is the preferred method. Giving regular feedback will not only benefit employees but the organisation as a whole. Annual appraisals tend to be focused on salaries and promotions, whereas regular feedback sessions provide an opportunity for discussions about growth, skills and training. The best approach for organisations is to implement a performance management strategy and adapt it to suit the needs of their employees, ensuring overall business success.

In the next two to three years, with performance management processes in place, the workforce should not only be managed, but taken on a journey. A company’s intentions should be to bring about a change from focusing just on specific departmental goals, to focusing on the business-wide goals. 

It is not too late to re-design your performance management strategy and HR has already proven that you can reinvent yourself more than once. Now’s the time for performance management to be top of the business agenda.

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