With every passing year, evidence supporting the effectiveness of continuous performance management continues to mount. As a result, more businesses than ever are reassessing their performance processes. But overhauling performance management – something that impacts every single employee in the company – is no small task.
As with all organizational change, however, the journey will be considerably smoother if everyone is pulling in the same direction, united behind a common goal. It’s for this reason that securing buy-in across all levels of the business is so important.
Here's a few of the key steps to consider when seeking to win over hearts and minds within your organisation in the run-up to a performance management implementation.
Create a vision
The first step towards securing buy-in is in effectively communicating the benefits of the proposed change. Until people understand how things are going to improve, they are far more likely to favor the status quo.
Once the vision has been defined, a detailed communications plan should be drafted to ensure the message is heard right across the business. Take time to explain how issues with the current performance process will be addressed, while also highlighting all the ways the new process will add value in its own right.
Keep channels of communication open throughout the process to build engagement and give employees sight of progress.
Start at the Top
While the communications plan should aim for business-wide coverage, the best place to start is with the leadership team. Ensuring senior management truly understand the reasons for effecting the change – and the benefits it will bring – will help cultivate a strong example for the rest of the organisation to follow.
Don’t forget to consider the audience here – management tiers will want to see the bigger picture alongside any short-term gains. This means mapping out the benefits over the medium to long term, but also outlining how the new process will support current priorities and line up with core business values.
Appoint Change Champions
A strong, united front from the senior leadership team is important, but it’s just as valuable to ensure the message isn’t only coming from the top. That’s why change champions – employees who will act as advocates for the new performance process amongst the workforce - can be an extremely powerful tool.
The most effective change champions will come from right across the business, not just the management tiers. A diverse team of advocates will increase penetration of the message, helping to build widespread understanding of the proposed changes.
Change champions should be kept well-informed on progress with the implementation, using their knowledge to spread the word through workshops and drop-in meetings.
Embrace the Skeptics
As with organizational change of any kind, there will inevitably be some level of opposition to an overhaul of the performance management process. Don’t ignore these voices! Skeptics can be an incredibly valuable resource.
Try actively inviting skeptics into the decision-making process. They will help provide balance by highlighting issues others may have missed, and by giving them an active role in the discussion skeptics are far more likely to feel engaged.
Many businesses underestimate – or even overlook entirely – just how important it is to secure buy-in to their continuous performance implementation. But engaging the workforce early on not only increases the chances of success, it will also – in most cases – result in a more robust, effective performance process.
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