Wednesday, 8 November 2017

#cipdace17 blog 2 - session A2

After a rapid break in which I somehow managed to speak to more people in 25 minutes than I thought possible, I’m back in a session. This time it’s A2 on continuous performance management, and a very well attended session too. 

We start with Paula Leach, Chief People Officer at the Home Office, of whom my current organisation is a subsidiary. We share a lot of the same policies and IT platforms, so their journey around performance management was extremely relevant for me and some of the challenges I currently face. 

The challenge faced by Home Office was to move away from a process that was driven by completion rates and more towards one that could demonstrate the business impact of good performance. What they had was too bureaucratic and not very engaging. They wanted to move away from performance management being seen as an HR process and one that was owned by the business and driven by the Board. 

Paula ensured that all representative and other employee groups were fully consulted throughout the process and that regular blogs were published to ensure all employees could be kept appraised of and participate in the ongoing discussions. She reports a high level of engagement because of this. 

Coming from the engagement sessions it was clear that staff wanted something that was employee initiated, conversational and frequent, that had a flexible structure that could be adapted to various situations. However it wasn’t an easy model to develop and this is what they did:

- changed the process by removing forced distribution, creating model conversations, and including a new assessment and standards framework
- invested in learning by providing coaching skills for managers and a two day workshop for senior leaders
- developed leadership by focusing on accountability and assurance, and correlating ratings distributions to business performance
- changed the culture by enabling rather than policing, and realising its a long journey to encourage ownership and not an overnight fix

Next up was Nebel Crowhurst from River Island talking about their own journey, which had some similarities. The drivers for change were quite similar despite the major difference in sector and culture, and the main need - for increased coaching - was also very similar. She shared some telling statistics from within their business - 95% of managers were dissatisfied with the process, and 90% of HR people questioned the accuracy of the process. 

River Island are further ahead on their journey than Home Office are, and could demonstrate some valid success measures around engagement and performance that show their journey is having an impact. Home Office are about to validate their own journey metrics but detail shared from both companies suggests that the journey is worth embarking on and will bring success and much needed culture change. 

Having taken a couple of organisations down this route I can attest to this but can also attest to how difficult it can be. Some organisations don’t have a culture that is ready for this and I’ve blogged separately about this before. My advice is work on the culture before you embark on changing the process, otherwise the process change may not work. This is mirrored by advice from Nebel and Paula. 

This was an interesting session and very relevant to a journey being embarked upon in my current organisation. 

And to quote The Gruffalo, now my stomach is beginning to rumble...

Till next time...

Gary