In our previous blogs we described the first three steps to ensuring Performance measures are aligned with Strategy.
This time, we highlight the importance of inclusivity and engagement in deciding upon the best practical performance measures.
In our benchmarking work we frequently experience comments such as:
“We don’t have time to spend measuring things and anyway no one really takes much notice of the results.”
“Our job is to deliver good services to our clients not to spend time and effort on reports that only provide a rod for our own back.”
These sorts of cynical comments are common when you seek to engage people in undertaking performance management – often because they don’t understand why the activity is critical, nor appreciate the benefits it can deliver to business performance. It may also be because people have had bad experiences of measuring the “wrong” things (hence nobody was interested) or being punished for drawing attention to service failures.
If we are to achieve our workplace goals, we need those responsible for service delivery to have a better understanding of why performance management is important, and to actively seek their cooperation and acceptance of some responsibility for the process. We also need to reset their expectations that things are going to change – that we will measure the “right” things, pay attention to the results, and work together to address issues, failures and performance improvements.
As with many aspects of successful management, particularly if there is cynicism to implementing change, it is important that care is taken in gaining buy-in. Up until this point the previous steps have involved a relatively small number of people to hone the clarity of the goals and to weed out unpromising measures so that we only measure the things that are really essential. But once we have a clearer idea of the measures we need, it is time to offer our ideas to a wider audience and gain their interest, enthusiasm and views.
Performance improves when people place a value upon the measurement process and understand its importance. We need people to see that performance management is a natural part of their job. To start with we should get rid of any practices that seek to blame people; performance management is about improving the workplace, not punishing the people we rely upon to deliver improvement. Relying upon “experts” to tell people what they should measure is equally discouraging. Workplace and change consultants can have a great role to play in facilitating the process but it is people within the workplace management services that will have to deliver the improvements.
In order to widen the successful buy-in from the many facets of the services provided to the workplace we suggest that the performance management team adopt a similar approach to the one that we have used in our relocation and agile working projects. Using an informal social setting encourages participation, as opposed to the more formal meeting room with Powerpoint presentation! People need to understand that their ideas are important and valuable – that they have a role in contributing to the development of answers – rather than that the solutions are already identified and we simply want their buy in.
There should be no management mandated general attendance, but every effort should be made to gain the attendance of senior workplace management so that the activity is seen as a jointly owned process. If done in a large space, the opportunity exists for posting up diagrams – examples of results that the performance management team has created. This approach supports greater interaction, nurtures buy-in and is definitely facilitated by a small investment in catering! It may sound silly, but attendance always seems to be more desirable if there is food available! It can also encourage people to stay a little longer.
The importance of encouraging written feedback after the event and acting upon it cannot be underestimated. The performance management team will need to collate all the feedback and review it systematically to fine tune the Results Map (as described in and design of the performance measures.
For further detailed advice we recommend once again Stacey Barr’s “Practical Performance Measurement” ISBN 978-0-9923837-0-1 (2014).
Next time we will look at: Implementing performance measures.
For more workplace performance insights and workplace strategy, contact a AWA workplace management professional on +44 20 7743 7110 or email email@example.com with your inquiry. Advanced Workplace Associates (AWA) are based in London, United Kingdom but now work internationally across the United States of America, Asia and Europe.