March 2011Original insightAutomatic for the people: why automation of performancemanagement is an organisational imperativ...
Executive summary98% of ‘best in                               Employee performance management is a fundamental business p...
1. How automating performance                                     management helps people processesA huge number          ...
How do HR professionals benefit?                        For HR professionals, an automated system means greater accuracy a...
Case study 1                                  An international media company with world-leading businesses in education, b...
2. Building a business case for automation                                 Despite difficult economic conditions, investme...
Business transformation and business performance                               •        Workforce goal alignmentOrganisati...
Case study 2                                  ETS was appointed by a leading global manufacturing group to streamline its ...
3. Benefits of bespoke when automatingA bespoke or bestfit approach allows    ‘Best fit’ rather than ‘best practice’a comp...
Case study 3                                                    ETS worked with a leading high-street entertainment retail...
4. Where to start with automation?                      The role of HR is increasingly strategic and it’s time that the ap...
Develop•    Ensure all systems and processes are developed in line with the solution specification     and incorporate reg...
Conclusion                          The number of organisations automating their performance management processes continue...
References1 The Employee Performance Management Benchmark Report: Managing Human Capital fora Competitive Edge. Aberdeen G...
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Automatic for the people: why automation of performance management is an organisational imperative

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The automation of performance and talent management processes brings a multitude of benefits, which make it, arguably, a prerequisite for effective people management. A bespoke approach to online performance management allows HR professionals to meet the specific needs of an organisation, thus creating competitive advantage.

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Automatic for the people: why automation of performance management is an organisational imperative

  1. 1. March 2011Original insightAutomatic for the people: why automation of performancemanagement is an organisational imperative The automation of performance and talent management processes brings a multitude of benefits, which make it, arguably, a prerequisite for effective people management. A bespoke approach to online performance management allows HR professionals to meet the specific needs of an organisation, thus creating competitive advantage.
  2. 2. Executive summary98% of ‘best in Employee performance management is a fundamental business process that too manyclass’ companies organisations fail to get right. It is critical to realising the full potential of individuals anduse an employee maximising business performance. Leading organisations recognise the value of theirperformance workforce and aspire to create a high performance culture. Most achieve this through the implementation of performance management processes that are underpinned by an onlinemanagement system.1 The secret to success is to adopt a bespoke approach, implementing a system andprocess, versus 59% process that is the ‘best fit’ for the company rather than ‘best practice’. Our experience shows that what works for one company may fail for another.of other firms. Despite the advantages of online performance management systems being well-known,- The Employee Performance some HR professionals have been slow to respond, preferring to follow rather than lead.Management Benchmark Report: There’s also been a reliance on off-the-shelf automated systems that incorporate softwareManaging Human Capital for vendors’ definitions of best practice. This is not the most effective option for the majority ofa Competitive Edge. Aberdeen larger companies. We argue instead that, when automating performance management, HRGroup, 2006. professionals should shape and deploy a process that is tailored to fit the specific needs of their organisation, thus creating competitive advantage. An historical challenge for HR professionals has been getting buy-in from senior executives – with the need to deliver a strong business case demonstrating the return on investment. We’ll set out exactly how implementing the right online solution for performance management can benefit your business and demonstrate what returns you can expect. We’ll also present case study examples of HR practice that employ bespoke automated systems and conclude with a guide for applying this approach. For clarity, we define performance management as a process that establishes a shared understanding of organisational success and an approach to leading and developing people to ensure this is achieved. www.etsplc.com | 2
  3. 3. 1. How automating performance management helps people processesA huge number Automating performance management processes makes it easier for companies to alignof employees employees’ individual goals with corporate objectives. It makes measuring performance andare dissatisfied assessment simpler and more consistent, and allows companies to see clearly their best andwith performance poorest performers. Such insights are invaluable in a climate where headcount reduction is sadly a necessity for many companies, which equally want to retain their talent.appraisals. Ourresearch shows When considering the merits of automating performance management though, it’s really important to convince senior executives to look beyond the bottom line and appreciate thethis is due to the other, in some cases less tangible, benefits too. By embedding an effective performancelack of clarity and management process, companies are demonstrating a willingness to invest in employees.involvement in This will impact directly on retention of high performers, who are keen to plan and develop their career.setting goals. Also, we’ve found many instances where, by going through the automation process, companies- Performance Management have taken the opportunity to reassess existing practices. This results in standardisation andReview: An analysis of the ETS consistency of performance management processes, is impossible to achieve with an offlineEmployee Survey. ETS plc, 2009. process as too much is open to interpretation by line managers in different business units. Time to reappraise the appraisal A large proportion of employees – approximately 40% – remains dissatisfied with their appraisal process.2 In addition, it seems that line managers too share concerns regarding performance management processes. Research shows that 61% of managers don’t believe existing appraisal processes are driving greater performance.3 These figures should worry business leaders as ineffective appraisals will lead to a dip in employee satisfaction, which has a direct correlation with business performance. Companies must get the basics right. Crucial to engaging employees is ensuring they have clear goals and objectives. Yet 30% of private sector employees don’t know what their company’s objectives are. Individual and corporate objectives should be aligned – if an employee understands what is expected of them and how this fits in with company objectives, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated to perform. Furthermore, alignment of objectives is also crucial in ensuring your business strategy is ultimately successful. How do managers and their subordinates benefit? An automated system can make a huge difference in simplifying performance management by making it more transparent, giving all involved greater confidence in the process. Employees are clearer on what’s expected of them and can see how their objectives support organisational goals, resulting in increased engagement. With less time spent on functional processes, line managers are free to focus on career planning, coaching and development for direct reports, making it easier to identify, nurture and develop talent. A cautionary note here though – it’s important that an online system isn’t seen by employees or managers as a barrier to face-to-face discussion. It should aid and inform, rather than replace, performance-related conversations. www.etsplc.com | 3
  4. 4. How do HR professionals benefit? For HR professionals, an automated system means greater accuracy and far less time spent on administration for performance management. This frees them up to develop HR’s role asAnticipated skills a strategic business partner. Powerful reporting capabilities of automated systems also makeshortages mean that identifying trends, skills gaps and benchmarking far quicker and easier.talent management,and specifically, Performance management – the foundation of talentdevelopment of a managementmanagement and By embedding an effective online performance management system, organisations are alsoleadership pipeline, helping lay the foundations for a more strategic approach to talent management.has been identified Anticipated skills shortages mean that talent management, and specifically the developmentas the single biggest of a management and leadership pipeline, has been identified as the single biggest businessbusiness challenge challenge facing companies.5 To appreciate the importance of retaining skilled employees, consider the cost to companies of replacing staff, which is 30 - 150% of the employee’s annualfacing companies. salary. This means, in a firm of 40,000 employees, the difference between having a 15% and 25% staff turnover is almost £25 million per year.6 A well-integrated automated performance management system will ensure companies base talent decisions on hard facts and data. It’ll also help companies locate potential leaders within their organisation to be developed, and identify successors to critical roles across the business. www.etsplc.com | 4
  5. 5. Case study 1 An international media company with world-leading businesses in education, business information and consumer publishing appointed ETS to devise an online talent management system for its top 250-300 performers. The system was to take over from spreadsheet-based data capture with managers’ forms returned by email, manual data entry and no facility to generate reports. • The bespoke online solution devised allows straightforward administration access and easy collation of data via a standardised form, which is then transferred to one central database • Simple file management means instant and consistent communication with managers about the process, with the intuitive interface prompting managers to access activities they need to complete • A wealth of reporting options are available – reports can be generated centrally or locally by managers with advanced reporting to both Excel and PDF (Adobe Acrobat). • ‘Report Packs’ in high-quality PDF can be generated at the click of a button for talent review meetings (see figure 1 below)Figure 1: Online talent management system Talent review 11 Test user Performance Potential Performance Drive Leading the business Curiousity Character Inclusive Working with others Relationships Responsive Brave Living the company values Imaginative Decent Insight Leading people Coach Influence Creative Thinking differently Strategic Smart Mobility Global Timing 1-2 years yes, with a preference for euopre so he / she can 2 years. utilise his / her language skills. Aspirations Development plan Regional Manager Continue mentoring programme Forum attendance Insights into leadership Possible future moves Regional Manager Global Manager Director www.etsplc.com | 5
  6. 6. 2. Building a business case for automation Despite difficult economic conditions, investment in performance management has remained a top priority for businesses. Research by the Aberdeen Group shows that rather than slow or stop investment, the struggling economy has served to drive greater investment in performance management.7 This is because companies are very eager to identify their top talent, create a high performance culture, better align compensation with performance and increase visibility and accountability of performance. Each company developing a business case can use the model set out below to identify different types of benefits. Just as the best online performance management solution will be bespoke – as we’ll explain later – so too will the evidence showing the business benefits and improvements, which are unique to each organisation. In our experience, often the biggest barrier for HR practitioners has been convincing senior executives of the business need for automating performance management and the return on investment offered. For organisations yet to automate, consider the latest research which reveals that 59% of companies sampled are already using automated performance management applications, with a further 13% indicating they plan to implement such systems within the next year.8 If your company doesn’t fall into either of these categories, there’s a good chance you’ll be left behind by your competitors. How does the business benefit? In analysing how automating performance management can have an impact and create value for businesses, we can broadly split the benefits into three areas – loosely based on the Bersin model9: Efficiency & compliance Efficiency and compliance • Providing legally defensible employee management o Decisions are documented and evidence basedProcessimprovement o Electronic log of all performance conversations • Reduced administration o Appraisal, development forms and evidence stored electronically and accessible from any computer – no more lost paperwork Business o HR managers and business leaders can access aggregate reports themselves transformation & performance Process improvement • Increasing employee retention / lower costs associated with losing employees o Employees are more fairly recognised and rewarded for their efforts o Accurate identification and reward for high performing employees • Improvement in employee engagement and development o Employees are clearer on objectives and more motivated to achieve o Helps managers identify appropriate development areas for individuals • Improving efficiency and effectiveness of training o Gives insight into specific areas where training is required www.etsplc.com | 6
  7. 7. Business transformation and business performance • Workforce goal alignmentOrganisations o Individual goals clearly aligned to support business goalsautomating • Increasing employee productivity and performanceperformance o Clear, measurable objectives mean employees are more productivemanagement can • Improving the leadership pipeline o Detailed records of employee skills, attributes and experience, helpingeasily realise a identify future leaders50% - 200% returnon investment from What’s the return on investment?efficiency and A good starting point for illustrating the likely return on investment is efficiency andcompliance alone. compliance gains. Implementing an effective online process offers indisputable time and cost-saving benefits, which can help build a watertight business case. Processing paper-- The Business Case for based appraisal forms is a laborious and lengthy process involving multiple people codingPerformance Management results and inputting data entry. Manually generating reports is similarly time-consuming forSystems – Josh Bersin, 2008. HR teams. Longer term, companies can bank on a return through business performance. Successfully embedded online systems will result in greater performance gains across all Key Performance Indicators.10 It will also help to boost employee engagement and customer satisfaction, which is a key factor in the financial success of an organisation.11 In addition, an automated system allows greater visibility of the contribution made by individual employees. As well as helping with talent management and informing performance-related pay decisions, this also has value at a strategic level, giving CEOs greater insight into how they can operate the business more efficiently and increase profits. www.etsplc.com | 7
  8. 8. Case study 2 ETS was appointed by a leading global manufacturing group to streamline its performance management process. The company, which has manufacturing plants in over 25 countries, had previously run ad-hoc performance reviews at each site, using location specific – primarily paper-based – forms. However, this approach offered no consistency of process or data, and a huge administrative burden on local HR to collate, analyse and report. With no direct involvement by a central HR function, talent management and succession planning was enormously difficult and time consuming. • ETS implemented a single online performance review form for all locations, covering 5,000 people • Central and local HR has real time sight of the process and can monitor participation levels and manage communications effectively with participants and managers • The online system allows real time reporting of data, which helps with both the qualitative assessment of objectives set, as well as allowing access to information for talent and succession planning • The usability of the online tool and ability to access the process remotely has resulted in a sharp increase in the level of participation as well as the overall completion rateFigure 2: Global performance management solution Home page This page summarises your Performance Development System activities. The page is split into three section which together provide access to your: 1. Personal Pro le (My Pro le) 2. Objectives and 3. Personal Development Plan (PDP) and if you are a manager, to complete your team members’ activities. You will need to complete ‘My Pro le’ and ‘My Objectives’ sections or yourself. If you are a manager you will also need to complete the activities under ‘My Team’ at the base of the page. Holding you mouse cursor over the information symbol in each section will bring up a box with brief information on each. Key to Tra c Light Symbol: Your details have been submitted You have no activities to perform You have activities outstanding and are awaiting approval All activities are completed My personal development plan PDP 2010 : Not submitted PDP 2010 : Submitted and awaiting manager approval Add a new team member My personal development plan My team Status report Team PDF history Individual pro le Set meeting date Objectives Previous PDP Show team Sarah Smith objectives John Robinson Kathy Simpson www.etsplc.com | 8
  9. 9. 3. Benefits of bespoke when automatingA bespoke or bestfit approach allows ‘Best fit’ rather than ‘best practice’a company to keep HR professionals often seek to replicate ‘best practice’ processes, based on accepted industryprocesses that standards. Such an approach is also often favoured by senior management as they arework and integrate reassured by implementing a solution that has been used successfully by other organisations and therefore seems to guarantee them success.aspects of thebusiness culture, However, a reliance on best practice is not the best solution for businesses as it fails to take intowhich will encourage account organisational context and specific business needs. While best practice solutions are tried and tested and proven to address a problem or achieve a desired goal, they are rigid andgreater user confound business goals, existing processes and cultural norms, which can ultimately lead toadoption. low adoption from users. As we discuss more in another paper, ‘Beyond best practice: enhancing results with bespoke HR’ ‘Best fit’ solutions take a bespoke approach and are typically based on a combination of business goals, a company’s unique culture and also take into account best practice. Bespoke solutions offer unrivalled flexibility In an increasingly dynamic business environment, what works for a company today, may not work tomorrow – it may need adapting or adding to. Leading organisations are constantly looking to improve and refine their processes in order to ensure they’re at the top of their game. A bespoke or best fit approach allows a company to keep processes that work and integrate aspects of the business culture, which will encourage greater user adoption. Having a bespoke performance management solution is particularly useful for multi-national companies and those with operations in different markets. This allows a system to have a global process put in place but also include the capability to tailor processes at a local level, accounting for cultural and organisational variations. Keep the end user in mind A fundamental consideration when switching to an online performance management system is to ensure you keep the end user front of mind, as getting user adoption is critical to the success of the implementaion. You must engage users in the process, explain why the new system is being implemented, and crucially, what’s in it for them. A bespoke approach allows companies to retain company culture, processes and the unique ‘look and feel’ of the organisation. Incorporating such elements is invaluable in encouraging adoption as it will immediately be more familiar and intuitive for users. A bespoke solution also allows companies to gain a competitive advantage as the system is tailored to meet specific business needs and really fit an organisational structure. www.etsplc.com | 9
  10. 10. Case study 3 ETS worked with a leading high-street entertainment retailer to overhaul its performance development review. The organisation had an existing online solution but employee buy-in was low due to its complexity and look and feel. The HR team was finding it hard to sell the process to stakeholders due to a lack of interest in the process. The organisation also ran a 360-degree feedback process using a separate system. Furthermore the performance development review offered practically no reporting functions and, as a consequence, the HR team were not getting value from the process. • ETS devised a combined 360-degree feedback and performance development review (PDR) solution • The look and feel incorporated the organisation’s very specific brand identity, enhancing usability and increasing its appeal to users • The process was more streamlined and intuitive making objective-setting, monitoring and interim reviews more straightforward • The solution featured powerful administration tool to monitor, track and promote use of the process among employees • 360-degree feedback reports reflecting the brand’s unique image could be generated, which included a one page summary enabling quick identification of the key findings of the report • ETS introduced HR level reporting enabling sharing of reports with the business and easy extraction of data from the systemFigure 3: Performance management for high-street entertainment retailer brandb you rock b log out details for: jane simpson currently based in: london began working with brand: 6 june 2009 completed: not yet approved page 2: objectives info please use the star ratings to rate the values. Flexible Energetic Thoughtful Creative deadline revised objective action desired outcome status edit delete date deadline comments keep the intranet get an updated list of publishers and the intranet is always up to 01 january 2011 started edit delete current, ensuring check ther training needs, send details date, providing accurate that all publishers of key publishers to head o ce information and that are fully trained support for contact. update hr pages publishers take more and that pages and ensure that the front page is responsibility for their own are always up to updated, espcially the brand b in the pages, so that marthe is not date. news section and in the what’s on the only point of contact for section. any it related issues. develop the voice continue to contact colleagues to the voice is easily accessible 11 january 2011 started edit delete to ensure that it is write articles, put the voice on the both in stores and at home, always fresh. intranet (training required). keep in paper home and online. continue to doing surveys to gauge interest and the voice contines to be an publish the voice update accordingly. interesting read. on the internet and publish a version on the intranet. save & go back exit without saving save & exit save & continue www.etsplc.com | 10
  11. 11. 4. Where to start with automation? The role of HR is increasingly strategic and it’s time that the approach to people management processes reflected this shift away from an administrational function. Implementing an automated performance management system can help facilitate this change, while also offering tremendous flexibility and scope for business benefits. However, for these reasons, it can be difficult to know where you should start with automation. With this in mind, we have outlined a five step implementation strategy process that we follow, which is essential when planning and embedding a bespoke online performance management system:Figure 4: Implementation strategy – taking a bespoke approach Align De ne Develop Deliver Enhance Align • Understand the organisational context, underlying business drivers and broader organisational culture – such knowledge is critical when identifying key design principles and success factors for the project • Identify and agree the scope of the project including the timescale to achieve your identified critical success factors • Engage key stakeholders to ensure engagement and buy-in from the outset Define • Develop the project scope and define the solution, seeking input from relevant stakeholders • Scope specific requirements of the solution based on best practice techniques and undertake organisational research to inform design • Assemble project team and run definition workshops with representation from across the business to define system requirements and associated reports and outputs • Ensure ‘best fit’ solutions are underpinned by best practice advice that draws on relevant research and latest trends www.etsplc.com | 11
  12. 12. Develop• Ensure all systems and processes are developed in line with the solution specification and incorporate regular project reviews and note changes• The completed design should be validated across the business before signing off. This validation process should include subject matter expert reviews, thorough user acceptance and quality testing• Agree, design and deliver the supporting processes and materials required for the roll-out of the solution (e.g. training documentation)Deliver• When introducing the new solution to your business, ensure the associated communications and training are timely, targeted and effective• Ensure that you’re familiar with all elements of the solution and are able to answer questions from across the business• Hold a project review meeting to discuss the project to date and document what has worked well and what improvements may be neededEnhance• Use the reporting from your solution to gain insight into your workforce.• Analyse and interpret your results, using the data to inform strategic people focused decision making that delivers tangible business improvements.• Evaluation is fundamental to defining the success of any process. You must be able to demonstrate the value of the project to your business, identifying exactly where it has had an impact www.etsplc.com | 12
  13. 13. Conclusion The number of organisations automating their performance management processes continues to grow at pace. Of those not yet using automated systems, there is widespread awareness of the benefits that it offers and as research has shown, there is a resolve to automate soon. The biggest challenge for these organisations remains convincing senior management of the business benefits and getting their buy-in. As we’ve demonstrated though, there is a very clear business case for doing so, with substantial return on investment, streamlined and more time efficient people processes and, most importantly, a positive impact on business performance. About ETS This Original Insight report was written by Hannah Stratford, a Business Psychologist and the Head of Business Psychology at ETS. Hannah works with high profile clients to help them leverage strategic value from performance and talent management, employee research and leadership assessment and development programmes. Dominic Wake and Ben Egan also contributed to the content of this report. To contact Hannah or Dominic about this report, please send an email to dominic.wake@ etsplc.com or call +44 (0)1932 219949. ETS provides business-focused consultancy and custom-designed technology to meet the performance management, employee research and 360-degree feedback needs of world- leading companies. We combine innovative technology solutions with practical experience to designed a solution that fits your business needs. ETS delivers our clients’ ‘ideal world’, which means that our solutions exactly match each client’s corporate culture and processes: we listen to you needs; we do not expect you to bend to our solutions. Where appropriate, we develop the new processes needed to meet your people objectives. Where it is possible, we can integrate with, and automate, any existing HR processes so that new and old work together.Expert Training Systems123 New Zealand AvenueWalton-on-ThamesSurrey KT12 1QAwww.etsplc.cominfo@etsplc.comHR means business blogwww.etsplc.com/blogTwitter@etsplc www.etsplc.com | 13
  14. 14. References1 The Employee Performance Management Benchmark Report: Managing Human Capital fora Competitive Edge. Aberdeen Group 2006.2 Performance Management Review: An analysis of the ETS Employee Survey. ETS plc 2009.3 The Business Case for Performance Management Systems – Josh Bersin 2008.4 Performance Management Review: An analysis of the ETS Employee Survey. ETS plc 2009.5 High-Impact Talent Management: Trends, Best Practices and Industry Solutions. Bersin &Associates 2007.6 Cornell.edu/research – Aberdeen group 2008.7 Aberdeen Group – Employee Performance Management 2009 – Jayson Sabba8 CedarCredstone 2010 – 2011 HR Systems Survey.9 The Business Case for Performance Management Systems – Josh Bersin 200833.10 Aberdeen Group – Managing Employee Performance 2008.11 Aberdeen Group – Employee Performance Management 2009 – Jayson Sabba. www.etsplc.com | 14

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