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Humanising performance management: part 1 – beyond Big Data

Humanising performance management: moving beyond Big Data

Big Data. Over the last few years, from the Learning Technologies conferences to social media scandals, everyone has heard and seen this phrase. While some consider data to have now surpassed oil in its value, it’s important to understand that while data is important, it isn’t everything.

Data itself is a fascinating topic, and the research it accommodates can be incredibly valuable. But what about the people behind the data?

Whether you work in an organisation of 200 or 20,000 employees, every single data point in your arsenal pertains to a person. You may look at demographics, trends, and employee engagement across branches or departments or seniority.

But ultimately, when it comes to performance management, don’t your people deserve a more personal experience?

This week, I want to talk you through the importance of valuing your people beyond the worth of their data and how to build a performance management strategy that starts with the individual and builds upwards.

A bottom-up approach to performance management

Back in November 2019, while attending the CIPD conferences in Manchester, one of the biggest things that stood out across the sessions was the emphasis on people-first and changing the structure of many areas of an organisation from top-down to bottom-up. If you want to know more about our time at the conferences, you can find some links below.

Lessons from the CIPD conferences

  • Part 1 – Creating a culture of transparency
  • Part 2 – People-led transformation

So what do we mean by a bottom-up approach? This is simply putting the needs of your people on the ground floor first and building a strategy for performance management and employee engagement from there. One of the ways to do this, and we’ll explore further next time, is prioritising wellbeing.

Prioritising employee wellbeing

People perform at their best when they are appreciated, motivated, and feel secure in their employment. In our current circumstances, none of these things are guaranteed, so the onus falls on HR, line managers, and the top people in your organisation to create a culture that nurtures safety and prioritises wellbeing.

Social media is full of motivational messages such as: we’re not working from home, we’re trying to work through a crisis; how we can only do as much as we can do in extraordinary circumstances; about how if all you did today was get out of bed, you’re doing great.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll explore further the importance of prioritising wellbeing and mental health for your employees. While organisations still have targets to hit and sales to make, for now, take a moment to assess how open your organisation is at the moment to the statements above.

Check in with your people

Now more than ever, it is vital to foster positive and trusting working relationships with those around us. Moving from a world where work is where you spent most of your waking life to a world where many of us are working only from home, or perhaps not able to work at all, has created many challenges on a logistical level, but also for your people.

This is where your line managers are crucial. In these strange and potentially disconnected times, scheduled 1:1s have never been more important. As the risk of burnout has increased dramatically, it’s important to cater for what your people need.

One of the most revealing sets of data for our time in lockdown will be sick leave. While e-presenteeism is becoming an increasing concern for many organisations, and some reportedly pressuring their staff to work while furloughed, burnout is on the up and the mental health repercussions of prolonged lockdown cannot be underestimated.

How can you move away from a data-driven process?

Data will always be important, but right now the people behind the numbers are what’s going to keep your organisation going. Looking after your people in times like these encompasses many things, but a simple one can be using the performance management process to check in with your staff.

Manage their performance, yes, but also help them manage their mental health, their workloads, their stress levels.

If you’re looking to standardise 1:1s across your organisation, or perhaps regular performance and wellbeing check ins are new for your business, we have created something we hope will help.

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Written by Claire Moloney

Claire is an enthusiastic and meticulous content writer whose passion is to support growth and continual learning for everyone.


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