Performance management in a hybrid world

Performance management in a hybrid world

Hybrid and remote working are here to stay. At Pecan we’re supporting our clients to determine what that means for them, and ensure it supports and drives the wider cultural change they’re looking to achieve.

We use our Enable and Embed approach to ensure that culture change takes hold quickly and is sustained over the long term. One aspect of the approach is to consider performance management: both the policy and how it is applied in practice can really make (or break) an organisation’s culture.

Performance management in a hybrid world, two people having an online meeting

But as many organisations adopt hybrid working, it might not feel like a top priority to review their performance management approach. In the main, performance management simply moved online during the Covid lockdowns – so it’ll still be fit for purpose in a hybrid workplace, right?

Well, we’re not so sure. Instead, we think hybrid working requires organisations to do a light-touch review of their performance management approach and make any necessary changes to ensure it remains a positive driver for their intended culture, rather than something that keeps them, and their people, stuck in bad habits. For example, considering the extent to which performance management conversations reflect organisational values, or assessing how hybrid ways of working impact (positively and negatively) different aspects of the performance management approach, for different employee groups.

For most organisations and roles, it is harder to observe performance when team-members are working remotely (whether full-time remote, or as part of a hybrid or flexible arrangement). There may be fewer opportunities to give and receive informal feedback. Managers may slip into micro-management if there’s insufficient trust, or where there are poor performance issues.

Whilst the return to the office (even if it’s only occasional) provides opportunity for more in-person contact, the bigger prize is to use hybrid working to accelerate a move from performance management by inputs to performance management by outcomes.

Where individuals can determine how often they’re in the office, there’s a risk that performance management by inputs (e.g. an individual’s working hours, visibility around the office, participation in after-work drinks) merely drives presenteeism, not improved performance. Indeed, a recent Gartner survey reveals “64% of managers believe that office workers are higher performers than remote workers and are likely to give in-office workers a higher raise than those who work from home.”

There is also a real threat to diversity, equity and inclusion if performance management approaches are not adapted for hybrid working. Some studies suggest women, caregivers and introverts are likely to choose to be in the office less often, which could see managers under-appreciating and under-recognising their contribution.

So, is your organisation’s performance management approach still fit for purpose?

  • How is your model of hybrid working affecting:
    • How feedback is sought, given and received?
    • How great performance is identified and recognised?
    • How poor performance is identified and managed?
  • What are the risks to diversity, equity and inclusion as a result of performance management in a hybrid world in your organisation?
  • What support do your organisation’s leaders and managers need so they can have effective performance-related conversations in a hybrid workplace?

Pecan’s Hybrid Working Toolkit

Our Hybrid Working Toolkit can help you seize the benefits of hybrid working for your organisation by ensuring that cultural enablers like performance management are driving the behaviours you want and need from your people. It includes a suite of practical and accessible tools (such as conversation guides, hints and tips, frameworks and checklists), plus the benefit of our expert advice, support and coaching. We’d love to share more detail with you, so do get in touch.

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