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

September 26, 2013 - 5 minute read - Posted by

This blog post is the third and last part of my “Eliminating Your Performance Reviews” series where I use Kurt Lewin’s Theory of Change to explain how you can effectively transition from traditional performance reviews to adopting a social performance management platform.

Lewin’s first step to change is the Unfreezing stage – you weigh the pros and cons of shifting from the traditional performance reviews to a social performance management system. Taking a step further, you look into what are the driving and restraining forces that affect your employees’ motivation to change. After you have touched upon these factors, you start Lewin’s second step to change: the Transition Stage. In this stage, your focus is on motivating your employees to physically use the system while providing the right training and support to help them make the transition. Lewin’s third and last stage is the Refreezing Stage.

You have successfully enrolled the new system to your whole organization and every employee is actively embracing the change. Before you “refreeze” your processes, put in place internal processes that will keep driving adoption. Often, employees will revert back to their old habits after the novelty runs off. By implementing strong internal programs, you are making sure that your company keeps moving forward with the change. Here are 4 important steps to take before refreezing your organization:

1. Incorporate the changes into your culture

In the Unfreezing stage, you discover what are the driving forces and restraining forces influencing individual users to make a change. In the Refreezing stage, you have to look into what supports the change and what hinders adoption for the organization as a whole. Anchor the changes into your culture. The norms and behaviours of each of your employee contribute to the culture of your company. Find creative ways to incorporate using the new system in every employee’s daily routine. Make sure that you include the changes in your on-boarding program for new hires. Your ultimate goal is to communicate to all employees that the new changes are a fundamental part of how the business operates now.

2. Develop ways to sustain the change

It is important for you to create programs or processes around the new changes. Many managers make the assumption that a social performance management platform is enough to replace their performance assessment processes. A social system is NOT a program in itself. You need to develop programs tailored to your organization’s culture and core values to support using a social performance management platform. For example, our client, Return Path has their own internal 360 feedback process that they use together with 7Geese. Another example is our client, Medivo, who has created their own recognition program to celebrate the employees demonstrating their company’s core values the most. Having programs surrounding your social performance management system drives adoption for the users.

3. Have the right support and training

Keep your organization up-to-date with any changes with the new system. Even with your employees grasping how to use the system well, you still want to provide them with support and training whenever they need it. Organize refresher demos if needed. Have a channel of communication for employees to ask questions or share their concerns. Support is not limited to training manuals  Encourage  your champions to take a proactive role and be accountable for the adoption rate.

4. Celebrate the success

Don’t forget to celebrate the success of your organization embracing the new changes. You want to recognize each employee for their contribution to making the change possible. This also allows the employees to get closure and  to refreeze your organization on a positive note.

The Refreezing stage is the actual integration of the new changes into the organization’s values and culture. The purpose of going through this last stage of Lewin’s Theory of Change is to stabilize the new equilibrium resulting from the change by balancing both the driving and restraining forces on an individual and organizational level. The Refreezing stage is for you, as a manager, to reinforce new patterns and institutionalize them through formal and informal mechanisms.

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