Traditional performance management solutions have typically been formal programs and annual review processes designed with an organization’s goals in mind. But they’re failing us. In conjunction with considering a more ongoing approach, to innovate and improve the process so that it actually adds value to an organization, HR professionals should consider adopting design thinking in performance management programs as well.
Design thinking is a methodology that puts the employee experience at the center of the program. It will help HR professionals create solutions focused on the workers themselves, creating a satisfying, productive, and perhaps even enjoyable experience. With design thinking, the HR professional goes from a process creator to an experience creator, focusing on the individual and the overall experience, not the process itself.
Thinking like a designer means studying how people work, developing personas and profiles to understand the different demographics, the work environments, and the specific challenges they face. It also means, generating ideas, testing prototypes and fine tuning solutions until they’re optimized.
In order to apply design thinking to your performance management system, it’s important to first examine three crucial parts of the overall experience.
The Process Itself
Who truly benefits from it? Or, and sometimes more importantly, who is perceived as benefiting from it? It is a process designed to reward or punish depending on performance? Or it is a program that’s effective in supporting the growth and development of everyone?
The People Involved
Who is giving the feedback and who is receiving it? It the feedback made actionable by managers? Are managers given feedback from reports?
The Technology Available
Do you incorporate technology into the process? Is it user-friendly and functional? Does it work to improve efficacy or is it a bothersome and unnecessary chore?
Next, you’ll want to take these three crucial areas and view them through the lens of the different personas who will be affected. These individual personas should represent a variety of different employees. This will help to optimize for a larger group. You’ll need to consider how to optimize the process to fit their different needs, considering how each would be impacted by the redesigned process.
The insights gleaned from completing this exercise will help you design a performance management solution that actually works to bring forth positive change within your organization. It will take employee experience to a higher level, increasing engagement and job satisfaction across the workforce and therefore improve your organization as a whole.
Performance management is one of the most important cornerstones of any organization and it’s sometimes also one of the most outdated. Applying design thinking to your review process will help employees develop new skills and become more effective in their jobs. Professional growth is what truly engages and excites a workforce and that’s exactly what’s needed to give your company an advantage.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to implement design thinking in your organization’s performance management program, contact us today!