9 June 2022
Most organisations conduct performance or developmental discussions based on past performance, whether they happen as an annual discussion, per project, or on a continuous basis. In discussion with managers and HR directors at various companies, I have made the following observations of trends in performance management in 2022.
Leadership in a remote work environment
Working remotely isn’t a new thing, but most managers would previously meet their team members in person fairly regularly or at least a few times a year. Now, with increased off-site working, they may never have met some of their staff physically, having only interacted with them through digital channels.
This raises a few questions:
- How do you accurately evaluate overall performance and set goals (what to deliver and how to deliver it) when you have mostly only met your staff online?
- How do you assess good behaviour among leaders and staff when existing standards originate in the office and the physical day-to-day interactions between people?
- How do you give fair and useful feedback to new employees when your company lacks effective remote onboarding processes?
I have written before about the benefits of coaching and how it can give a big boost to your talent development program. Directly and transparently discussing goals and working to ensure that employees remain engaged and motivated are critical to maintaining performance, and it seems to me that coaching and mentoring become even more important in a remote work environment.
The approach would also help in performance appraisals, because they would be natural continuations of those earlier discussions. In fact, effective ongoing dialogue between employee and manager could ultimately make annual performance-related one-on-ones obsolete: everything will already have been addressed.
Giving immediate feedback
Successful companies train managers and staff to engage in continuous discussion over performance-related challenges. We all need to learn to act with transparency, share feedback immediately, and create an environment and culture where employees are never left alone, unsupported.
Companies should also revisit their competency frameworks’ evaluation criteria in light of remote work, redefining their expectations in the context of a digital-only work environment. Distance working might, for example, require a more proactive approach to communication and call for a greater number of ad hoc calls to sort out misunderstandings.
Coaching and mentoring programs
The solution that many of our clients are using is to provide coaching and mentoring programs to their employees to support and ensure individual performance. Most of the time, coaching is provided by a direct manager, but external performance coaches are increasingly relied on to deliver these services.
We at AIMS International Sweden specialise in executive search, board services, and talent management, supporting companies with, among other things, assessing and coaching leaders for a new way of working. Please contact us to hear more about what we offer.
Mikko Taipale is an executive search and talent management consultant at AIMS International Sweden and a coach certified by the International Coaching Federation. Before joining AIMS International, he spent two decades in HR at telecommunications and automotive electronics businesses in Sweden, Finland, and Germany. Mikko has a Master of Law degree and has practised in the City Court of Helsinki.