Performance Management and Organisational Complexity

One size does not fit all when it comes to the best approach to performance management and in turn the most suitable performance management software to support it.  Our last blog talked about the importance of approach: Evolution vs Revolution which focused in on understanding your culture. However, it is equally important to also consider the complexity of your existing performance management processes when choosing the best system for your organisation.

Organisational structure and cultural complexity

A diagram of culture

In my book “How to be a Change Superhero”  I discuss a cultural model known as the Competing Values Framework by Cameron and Quinn. This discusses different cultural norms for organisations by organising them along the two axis of flexibility versus stability and external versus internally focused. The four cultural types are described as Clan which is (high flexibility and internal focus) with the value of collaboration or doing things together. The next one is Adhocracy (high flexibility and external focus). They value creativity or doing things together. The Market Culture is high stability and externally focused with the focus on competing or doing things fast. Finally the well-known term Hierarchical is used for the fourth option (High stability and internally focused) with the value of control or doing things right. 

By using this framework you can start to consider how your organisational culture and values may play into your requirements when looking at performance management software.  If you describe your organisation as Hierarchical for example then that is going to play into your system requirements around organisational structure, user rights and administrator functionality. Very simple systems are unlikely to support matrix management or configurable visibility or user types so you need to look for something configurable.

If you see yourself as a market culture then the system needs to support objectives, milestones, KPI’s or OKR’s (whatever your term is!). It is possible that you operate performance related bonus or pay in which case the facility to manage ratings and/or calibration (as Actus can) will be helpful. An adhocracy needs the system to be simple, intuitive and it works well to add functionality over time to keep people interested. Finally, the clan culture wants the system to align with their own internal approach, so it must be configurable and feel good functionality like the Actus recognition module work well.

A common mistake when purchasing performance management software

At Actus, we often have clients who choose to switch to us from other providers. A common reason for this is that they have found that their existing system isn’t able to meet their increasingly complex needs. The interesting thing is that these complex needs were actually present during their original buying process. But had either been over looked or key decision-makers were distracted by gimmicks or flashy interfaces without delving into the nitty gritty of core functionality.

We always try to understand the short and long term aspirations of a client to be sure that the software is a good fit. Software that looks nice is great, but does it do the heavy lifting you need and/or can it grow with you. These are questions to consider and it is a good idea to understand the types of customers that your software provider already works with. You can read more about our clients on the Actus case studies page.

Consider your organisations’ complexity when choosing software

We would strongly recommend that you consider the complexity of your organisation now and in the future. All but the simplest organisational structures are likely to benefit from some level of configuration from their performance management software. Of course, this can come at a cost. With some of the larger software providers charging 6 figure sums for implementation. This can make it a very big buying decision and ties the client in through cost of change rather than by value of service. However, no configuration/implementation service will likely mean you can choose any flavour you want – as long as it is vanilla! Sometimes, we want something in the middle of the two.

A highly configurable solution

We are proud that Actus Performance Management Software has been designed to be highly configurable, providing almost complete flexibility of user type; hierarchy, permissions, and templates. On top of that, we don’t charge the earth for our implementation. If you want to discuss the levels of complexity in your organisation in relation to performance management then why don’t you get in touch and request a demo of the software?

Still need help with choosing a system? Read our next blog in this series here.

Choosing performance management software

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