Be a Social Performance Management Leader – NOT a Follower

June 25, 2013 - 7 minute read - Posted by

It is with great pleasure to have  Edie Goldberg  share her view on how organizational structures have changed and why social performance management is more appropriate for the way companies operate today.

Social performance management allows managers and employees to establish and share goals with others and openly track progress against goals. It enables individuals (manager, peers, direct reports) to provide feedback and recognize employees in real-time. It allows a manager to actively monitor performance and provide support when needed.

But many will ask, what is the larger organizational need that social performance management fills? This author would suggest that it helps us to support a collaborative work environment; helping us to work better globally, across multiple-generations, across departments, and sometimes even across companies. The complexities of work today demand a more collaborative approach to work and our HR practices need to adapt to support this fact.

While team-based work has been around for centuries, the complexity of work has driven an increase in the amount of collaboration in the workplace. Organizations are becoming flatter, leaner and more agile. At the same time jobs are becoming more complex and more global in scope. All these factors make it more difficult for one person to do a job. Nearly all organizations employ teams in some manner; whether they are project teams, standing committees, task forces, quality circles, self-directed work teams, customer teams, or emergency response teams. The importance of feedback and regular communication within and across teams is magnified by the fact that these teams are often operating both virtually and globally.

Due to the global nature of work many companies have moved to matrixed organizational structures resulting in the fact that an individual may report into more than one person. While traditional performance management processes only allow a single manager to provide feedback, a social performance management process allows this feedback to be provided from any relevant individual. Additionally, because how work is organized there is often not one single person who knows best about how we have performed during a period of time. The people who observe our performance on a day-to-day basis tend to be our teammates, rather than our manager (who may not be even co-located with us). Thus, the most accurate and timely feedback or input on performance is most likely to come from our peers rather than our manager. Today, input from others is sometimes obtained on an ad hoc basis, but ultimately it is the manager who integrates this feedback and ultimately decides what gets shared. Crowdsourcing performance feedback means that the overall evaluation of feedback is more likely to be accurate than the opinion of one single individual. Furthermore, performance feedback can be provided real-time and not just at the end of the performance period, as is done with traditional performance management.

How we interact with others and share information has changed dramatically with the new technologies available today through both mobile and social applications. We build our professional network on LinkedIn and share our social selves on Facebook. Tools like Yammer and Chatter are bringing social communication to the workplace to increase efficiency and ensure everyone is working on the most critical priorities. This helps companies build agility because employees can see how things are going and helps employees to anticipate change because they are more informed. Social performance management helps to provide visibility to individuals regardless of where they work and helps create a sense of accountability to the team/organization when goals are shared.

Goal-setting has been recognized as a key ingredient for high performance. But today goals are often shared and it is difficult to know how you are progressing against a goal unless progress is posted publicly for all to see. Social Goals lets employees share goals, follow the goals of coworkers, and collaborate for efficiency and mutual success. One of the conditions for goals to be motivating is to provide feedback on progress toward goals on an on-going basis. By sharing goals and progress against goals, co-workers may be able to provide the feedback or recognition that will motivate individuals to achieve goals.

Social recognition is one aspect of social performance management. This aspect of the process allows individuals to recognize employees real-time for living the company’s values or for a special achievement. Recognition is key for driving employee engagement because when individuals are recognized for their performance they feel more valued and are likely to continue to engage at a higher level of performance.

About the author

Edie Goldberg is the founder of E. L. Goldberg & Associates. She has specialized in talent management and organization effectiveness for over 20 years. She focuses her practice on designing HR systems to attract, engage, develop and retain employees. Edie has published research in the areas of test validation, test score banding, and future-oriented job analysis, and has presented numerous papers on developing core competencies, performance management, organization change, and total quality management. She earned her Ph.D. in industrial and organizational psychology from the University of Albany, State University of New York, and her B.A. and M.S. from San Diego State University.

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