As the war for talent rages, embattled organizations have had to dig deep and find alternatives to expanding their workforces in order to support their ambitions. Capitalizing on the growth opportunities the market currently presents has meant doing more with less. And while business leaders, with their gazes fixated on the bottom line, have learned to embrace this mantra and optimize their potential, growth can only be achieved when this mindset permeates the entire organization.
Propelling the workforce to peak efficiency is no easy feat. Ideally, every employee should bring their A-game, but other than shopping around for inspirational managers that can rally workers with a casual heroic pose and exhilarating sound bites, what can organizations do? Of course, today we know such questions are loaded. How else do we solve our business problems but with technology? In this case the technology is company performance management, but as with all digital transformation, due care must be paid to the way it is integrated, and to the human elements that underpin it.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia are both home to relatively young populations. Their workforces are heavily stacked with millennials. In the UAE, the proportion is greater than 75%. The mindsets and work habits of these young people are still in development, so great value can be added to a business by ensuring line managers can easily set goals, track progress, and communicate with employees.
The case for digital
Some 72% of UAE businesses contacted by Bayzat either do not have a formal performance-management process in place or have yet to digitize it. The very nature of digital performance management platforms ensures that past reviews are never lost, as they can easily be in manual systems. For example, one performance review may have been very successful in establishing areas for improvement, but because nothing is committed to a digital workflow, it becomes difficult to incentivize or monitor progress. And if paperwork is misplaced, the next review may have to start from scratch. In addition, if an employee is a high achiever, these efforts may either be overlooked entirely or not seen in the proper context with regard to their impact on business goals. This can lead to an employee feeling undervalued and ultimately result in lower retention rates.
Digitization of performance management provides an efficient means to track how well (if at all) employees are achieving agreed goals. Digital platforms lubricate data retrieval, which allows each review to be quicker and easier, meaning they can be held more often. Regular feedback is a prime motivator. Each evaluation session is quickly documented in a format that is easy to file and easy to find. Everyone in the decision chain has access to the same information because it is centralized, so the review process can be continuous.
The digital performance management platform also negates the need for hours of laborious collation of performance data. The platform itself knows what an employee does, and when and how they do it. This smooths out the picture received because interviewing coworkers to form an impression of an employee’s performance is less than optimal. Such feedback may be laced with personal prejudice, vagueness, and inaccuracy. And depending on how busy coworkers are, the information may also be delivered late.
The benefits of digital
Digital monitoring is objective, precise, accurate and timely, which is of great benefit to the employee. Not only will their line managers have a fair view of their performance, but the employee will be able to draw a line from their day-to-day activity and the recommendations being offered. Metrics, meanwhile, are automatically measured and employees can have greater confidence in them, as they have not been gauged by a fellow employee who may be too distracted or unmotivated to deliver accurate results.
It is worth dwelling on this last point. Digital performance monitoring creates atmospheres of greater trust and productivity and is particularly useful for the kind of workplaces that are emerging in the region. With so many working from home, how else can performance data be appropriately captured than by a digital agent? And other benefits emerge. Digital monitoring tools lack the capacity to intimidate workers. Because people instinctively see such tools as just that — tools — they are more likely to respond to a digital platform’s recommendations as motivational. And when it comes to morale, the digital platform’s tendency to measure output, as opposed to input, will be appreciated by everyone.
Further, such platforms do not just provide the opportunity for culture change; they demand it. More compassion emanates from a digital workflow that includes input from the employee. Daily feedback replaces periodic appraisals, leading to less intimidation and better motivation because employees notice that empathy has supplanted policy. Earlier, we noted the high regional prevalence of younger workers, who are known to respond negatively to authoritarian environments. Alignment of their goals with those of the business is believed to produce better results. Digital platforms follow the GROW (goals, reality, options, and way forward) model and allow managers to discern the trends that lead to suboptimal performance.
A constructive environment
Manual performance management is a dead-end street in the always-on, ever-agile digital economy. Not only is it mundane and a drain on human resources; it is difficult to maintain, with agreements falling into obscurity and employee morale dropping with every overlooked achievement. Digital performance management platforms ensure nothing is forgotten or unseen. Setting goals is easy, as is tracking their progress. The employee experience is enhanced because workers have trust that their performance is being accurately monitored. And in the meantime, the employer has created a constructive environment that makes it easier to attract and retain talent.
Author: Brian Habibi linkedin.com/in/brian-habibi-15196a11