Eliminate Your Performance Reviews Step by Step (2/3)

September 24, 2013 - 6 minute read - Posted by

This blog post is the second part of my “Eliminating Your Performance Reviews” series where I use Kurt Lewin’s Theory of Change to explain how you can effectively achieve successful change management from traditional performance reviews to social performance management.

Eliminating your performance reviews is not an easy task. Not only do you have to find the right system to replace your traditional performance appraisals, but you also have to ensure that it generates high Return on Investment (ROI). Often, managers think that change management is an event. They will focus only on the Unfreezing stage of Lewin’s Theory of Change i.e. determine the benefits for switching to a more social performance management system and the factors affecting individual change. However, change is not an event, but rather a process. A process is a transition where there is a movement from one point to another. The Unfreezing Stage is the starting point to the transition. You are initiating the change by concentrating on the factors that affect an individual’s motivation to adopt change. Lewin’s second stage – the Change stage – is nurturing the movement from the beginning to the end. This is the stage where you push your employees to make the shift in a tangible manner.

Stage 2: Change

While the Unfreezing stage focuses on understanding the underlying factors affecting change, the Change stage is all about physically altering the behaviours of the individuals. Remember that everyone deals with change differently. The Change stage provides employees with the appropriate support and time to understand how the new system works. Be mindful that while most people are open to trying new things, others may have a harder time breaking away from their old habits. Therefore, create the right support to guide your employees through the transition.

  • Training No matter how intuitive the chosen social performance management platform is, you need to have training materials ready and accessible. When discovering your employees’ resisting forces to change, pay attention to their needs for training. Many employees may not admit that they are not comfortable with the new system. Therefore, create training guides that are customized to your organization. Include your best practices and how you want your employees to use the new system. Organize Lunch and Learn sessions to provide live demos. Employees who know they have the capabilities and knowledge to use the new system easily will feel more empowered to adopt it.
  • Coaching – Select “Champions” in your organization to be coaches for the users. These employees know what are the best ways to use the system and they are the employees’ first point of contact when they encounter an issue. Most employees will naturally adopt the new changes after they see for themselves the benefits gained from using the new system. However, there will be a handful of people who are slower to embrace changes or are absolutely against even trying. This is where your champions come into play. Champions can conduct 1:1 coaching sessions with these people to understand what is hindering adoption. They can then provide the necessary support to the users. Sometimes, one naysayer can unmotivate a whole team. Make sure your champions identify these people from the start and take them aside to discuss their resistance.
  • Expecting Mistakes – Adopt an error-embracing culture i.e. give your employees the chance to make mistakes. Do not expect everyone to learn at the same pace. Every user has a different learning curve. One of 7Geese’s users, IOD, encourages its users to post their issues on their Yammer network. The Champion will either provide the answer or contact me and the development team. The Champion will then post the solutions on the public forum so that each user can learn.
  • Role Models – Put your best adopters in the spotlight. Recognize these users and describe the behaviours they have demonstrated such as “taking the initiative to try the Objectives feature by adding a smaller and achievable goal in order to understand how the system works”. You want to reward your best adopters. I personally would not recommend giving out financial rewards. You do not want your employees to forget the intrinsic motivation of using a social performance management software.

Before launching the Change phase, set defined expectations of what you want the end results to be at the end of the transition. For example, an 80% adoption rate by the end of the month. Let your employees see what you are trying to achieve. Encourage them to set their own objective on learning how to use the software. Each employee can then hold each other accountable. The most important thing for the Change phase is to give your employees time to adjust. Provide them with all the support you can find to help them make the transition at the desired pace.

Next stop: Lewin’s Freeze stage

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