Have hybrid approaches to business demonstrated a reduction in performance? And if so, how do we rectify it?
The widespread impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the workforce have meant that the success and cohesion of hybrid-work models have become more crucial than ever. Subsequently, it has become critical for businesses to know how to manage and measure employee achievement in a hybrid-work context in order to maintain integrity, trust and ultimately, continuous organisational performance.
So how can businesses ensure they are addressing the challenges of performance management in a hybrid-work landscape?
Pillars of Performance
Optimising performance on an organisational level may be an initially daunting endeavour, but it is readily simplified when broken down. BCG has compiled a list of the five main pillars that lay the foundation for a high performance organisation.
- Change Management
- Culture and Engagement
While Leadership, Design and People may be intuitive, it is critical to also honour the significance of Change Management (the ability to pivot and sustain large-scale evolution, as well as being one step ahead to anticipate change) in addition to Culture & Engagement (cultivating employee motivation and satisfaction to further serve organisational objectives).
The importance of maintaining organisational agility is also pivotal, especially in an era of such unprecedented change.
For organisations to ensure they are not overwhelmed by the challenges that a post-COVID world delivers, it is essential to remain agile and adaptable to not only survive but to thrive.
In order to fortify the organisational strength and agility that is essential to the success of a high performance organisation, McKinsey suggests incorporating these three key performance management practices:
1. Linking goals to business priorities:
- emphasise team objectives (not just individual targets)
- ensure the ability to pivot and adjust goals as needed
- discuss results often
2. Investing in managers’ coaching skills:
- have clear leadership roles in development and evaluation
- facilitate continuous feedback and development discussions
3. Differentiating consequences:
- increase emphasis on intrinsic motivation and non-monetary reward
- distinguish individual contributions to team performance based on desired values and behaviours
These are especially essential considering the impacts of the hybrid work model on employee motivation, connection and productivity.
Optimising stamina and avoiding burnout has also become paramount, especially considering that more than 40% of work-related concerns have resulted in employees experiencing symptoms of burnout – a detrimental factor of reduced performance.
But how do we manage employee performance in a hybrid work setting, whilst still supporting staff to ensure that both wellbeing and productivity are being prioritised?
One way to ensure consistent employee performance is through shifting focus from extrinsic to intrinsic motivating factors.
So, what does this look like?
- Building rapport and respect with employees through meaningful conversation
- Cultivating trust through granting employee autonomy on projects
- Creating a safe, engaging and enjoyable workplace culture (this requires understanding what makes your employees feel safe and respected in a workplace)
- Offer flexibilities that ensures employees value their job and incentivise them to perform their best (e.g., flexibility in working hours, home/office hybrid leniencies)
It has become increasingly clear that when employees feel supported and trusted, they are more likely to operate at their highest capacity, which not only ensures greater performance faster, but also promotes sustainable, long-term achievement. In situations where employees are experiencing burnout, managerial curiosity, care and continuous feedback becomes crucial. If there is a desire for maximised productivity and performance, there must also be an equal desire for employee satisfaction, cohesion and harmony.
Managing Performance from afar
So how do we provide our team with feedback when we’re no longer in the same room? Here are some suggestions that help deliver the messages and achieve the best outcomes for all.
- Develop a culture of trust.
- Prepare for the feedback and empathise with the receiver.
- Set the stage for a collaborative discussion.
- Be clear, direct and curious.
- Follow up on your feedback.
Having a collaborative discussion when you’re virtual is critical. Time your constructive criticism for when the person is open to receiving it – check in one their environment and what’s going on for them at home in the background. Ask the person for permission before giving them feedback, and visualise yourself giving the feedback next to the person rather than on a screen across from them.
Setting the right tone before you even get to the point of requiring to provide feedback is key. Ask each team member how they like to receive feedback.. and be available to your team and solicit them for feedback. Also, don’t forget to be proactive with your praise to build goodwill and trust. It’s not only about bad news!