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How IT teams can improve performance management processes using Microsoft Teams

Whether you’re an HR champ or an IT whizz, both parties need to realise the huge role IT has in driving brilliant HR processes in the digital-first world we all work in today.

Cross collaboration isn’t something that happens nearly enough. We tend to operate in our silos and seeing our work and projects as exactly that; ours. Yet if we listen to the innovators and leaders in the business world we know it needs to happen.

And IT needs to be the first port of call when HR is looking at new ways to better engage, manage and inspire employees. After all, your IT team are perfectly positioned to help you find, test and roll out the best tech solutions for the job.

The traditional way of managing performance is broken

Whereas IT teams are often the first to test our innovative ideas and new ways of working, HR departments are often lagging behind the curve.

We live and work in a global, tech-led world. Where we were once tied to working where our tech was based, we now find the tech goes where we work. The past year has only highlighted further the possibility for us to work wherever and whenever we like thanks to the development of technology, embraced massively by our colleagues in IT.

However, when we look at our people processes, they really haven’t changed all that much for the vast majority. And that means they're ineffective.

One standout example here is the humble, much-maligned performance review, which hasn’t changed much at all since the 1980s. Yes, your reviews may well have been digitised some point over the past 30 years. But it's unlikely that the process itself has seen any meaningful iterations.

And that’s a problem. In fact 80% of employees who have an annual or bi-annual performance review say that they don’t get value from their existing performance management process.

At best, this means huge amounts of time and money are being wasted. At worst, your traditional approach to performance could be having a detrimental effect on employee output.

The traditional approach to performance is fractured

So why are employees finding such little benefit in traditional performance reviews? There are 3 key areas:

Performance reviews are untimely

Reviews are based on outdated goals or present employees with outdated or unexpected feedback. They're also impacted by recency bias. That's because managers often don't have recorded evidence of performance and have to rely on memory. It’s much easier to remember and reflect on recent events over those that happened eight or nine months back.

Performance reviews are based on a subjective mindset

Without a strong, robust evidence base and without the ability to reflect over a long period of time effectively, managers typically rely more on impressions and subjectivity to help shape feedback. Yet we know from research that feedback needs to be objective in order to have a lasting impact on performance.

Performance reviews are too process-focussed

The appraisal process often overshadows content. We're all too often focused on simply “getting the job done” as opposed to having a lasting impact on work. Related to this is also the fact that traditional reviews have a very high admin overhead, with efficiency usually being a primary KPI.

What's the future of performance management?

The key to having an effective performance process is to move from a pattern of ‘few and far between’ to ‘continuous and super lightweight’ when it comes to performance conversations and management.

In more concrete terms, what we are really talking about here is moving away from annual/bi-annual performance reviews to something more continuous, focusing on tools such as frequent employee check-ins and regular performance conversations or 1:1s supported by quarterly (or monthly) lightweight reviews.

A continuous approach to performance has three key outcomes

Real-time performance management

With the right tools, performance can be managed in near real-time. That means goals (or OKRs) can be tracked and adapted as required. Feedback becomes more timely and useful. Recency bias is eradicated. And feedback cycles become a more collaborative, two-way process.

Objective performance management

Improving the frequency of performance processes means that each 1:1 meeting, check-in, and conversation is far more likely to be based on real events. And you build a more accurate evidence base. Because of this, there's going to be more transparency between feedback received and real actions that were or will be taken.

People-focussed performance management

A continuous approach to performance management becomes almost organically more people-focussed. The ongoing nature of it means employees are empowered to own their development and focus on that frequently. It helps move us away from the norm of sending employees on training courses for development when most people naturally develop when given plenty of scope to reflect and amend their own behaviours.

How to improve how you measure performance using Microsoft Teams

The secret to any process change is reducing as much friction to adoption as possible. And this is where IT’s unrivalled knowledge of technology rollouts is vital to success.

IT will already know that end-users are keen to avoid new software where possible. In most workplaces, the tech stack is already overloaded. Adding new solutions on top means more learning, more passwords, and more time taken away from simply getting the job done.

On top of this there are security concerns, the cost of deployment, user setup, and a whole host of other factors to consider.

The rise of Microsoft Teams gives IT teams a real opportunity to help HR innovate. Teams is a great environment for using new software as any solution needs to sit within Teams itself (which we have all become adept with) meaning all the security, user sign-up and deployment concerns are almost instantly resolved.

Weekly10 for Microsoft Teams delivers a ready to go, Microsoft approved solution for moving to a continuous performance process that IT can check out in little time and approve even quicker.

To find out more why not check out a free, guided demo of the platform today?