Why is clarity key in Hybrid Performance Management Strategies?

As many companies are moving toward a hybrid working environment, it is essential to have the right performance management strategies in place, to help ease the transition from remote working to the office (or a combination of these). So, how can we ensure we have the right hybrid performance management strategies in place?

Well, in a series of blogs, we will be exploring each aspect of the PERFORM model as outlined in our latest e-Book on virtual people and performance management. This model outlines how managers can navigate the hybrid working environment using standard good people management practices to ensure the wellbeing and productivity of their staff. In this blog, we explore the second aspect of the PERFORM model; clarity of expectations.

The PERFORM model stands for:

  • People First
  • Expectations
  • Regular Reviews
  • Feedback & Development
  • Ownership Culture
  • Recognise
  • Manage Performance

Expectations

We started in our first blog by putting people first by building trust and understanding them as people. The next step of the PERFORM model explores how we can ensure clarity of expectations; essentially a shared understanding of what good performance looks like. Often, we find many performance issues arise from a lack of clarity, which of course could undermine the foundation of trust if the individual has put their heart and soul into working on the wrong thing or is going in the wrong direction.

With the transition of returning to the office, clarity is especially important. Different companies (and even teams) may have different expectations, whether that be the option to choose, mandatory office-based days, or a combination of both remote and office working, these need to be laid out in clear communications. Not only this, but you will need to communicate how the transition of the current status quo to the new policy will work. Details like hot-desking, office number limits, and more can help lessen anxiety around the change. For further support on how to manage and lead change, why not take a look at our e-learning platform, Actus Academy below.

Actus Academy

Establish Collaborative Dialogue

Behavioural Psychology shows robust evidence that clear goals or objectives supported by regular quality feedback (underpinned by a relationship of trust) leads to high performance. This has been the case for a long time although the quality of goal setting in many cases may not have lived up to the potential. So, how does this differ in a hybrid work environment? The answer is that goals and objectives are still vitally important. Possibly more important when some people are out of sight. However, the timeframe needs to be condensed, with discussions taking place around weekly and monthly priorities (that link to longer-term objectives) rather than quarterly and annual. Essentially, there needs to be a regular, collaborative dialogue around what is important.

So, are SMART objectives no longer relevant?

Definitely not! Although as is so often the case with management, it is easy to get confused by the jargon. Fundamentally, the terms: ‘SMART objectives’, ‘goals’, ‘targets’, ‘KPI’s’ or ‘OKR’s’ are used for the same purpose, to define and measure performance expectations in the workplace. Clarity of expectations, whichever jargon we choose to define it as, should underpin our performance management process. Research (Locke & Latham 2002) demonstrated consistently that stretching but achievable goals motivate people to deliver their best, particularly if coupled with regular feedback. This is the critical point in the hybrid environment – clarity and more regular feedback and reviews. We are in rapidly changing times and annual goals can really only provide a broad overall direction. What matters is the day-to-day clarity of expectation, purpose, and the ability for individuals to prioritise their work in-line with business need. This certainly requires a more agile way of working.

SMART Objectives in a hybrid working environment:

  • S – Specific/Stretching
  • M – Measurable
  • A – Achievable, Agreed
  • R – Relevant
  • T – Timed

Empower your people

By collaborating with your people to set effective SMART objectives, you provide empowerment. When individuals are managing their own time and working environment, it is vitally important that they have input into, or better still, take the lead on suggesting and agreeing their own priorities and objectives. Such empowerment increases buy-in and commitment which of course increases the likelihood that the objectives will be achieved. This can also lead to more employee engagement, and this can be crucial for morale in a hybrid environment.

For further support on how you can write SMART objectives to underpin hybrid performance management strategies, why not take a look at our white paper below?

Performance Management Resources

Part of our ethos is to help build a better workplace for people, whatever their location. We achieve this through great performance management software, the HR Uprising Podcast, and free thought leadership resources.  Therefore, if you would like to learn more about this topic, you can find some additional resources below.

E-Book: Virtual People and Performance Management

The HR Uprising Podcast: Virtual Management PERFORM Podcast Short Series Playlist

Infographic: The PERFORM Model