Self-Monitoring Systems Are Good for Recognition
by Chris Herrmann
Performance Management is coming under critical fire because the complexity of some of the processes is beginning to over-ride the fundamental principles. However, as Hogan Armstrong knows, elements of Performance Management work well for both employees and managers. Hogan is an IT Service Engineer for a large multinational organization. He spends the majority of his working life away from his home office but his Self-Monitoring System lets both him and his manager know how he is performing.
Any personal objective important enough to be included in a performance plan should be measurable in one way or another. One of Hogan's principal objectives is:
"To follow up each service call after two working days to check system functionality and customer satisfaction. Where problems are revealed, I will take responsibility for immediately reporting the fault and initiating a remedy within 24 hours."
This can be tracked objectively and simply. Hogan keeps a register of service calls, customer follow-up calls and Emails on the network that he can refer to and update. His manager also has access to the file at any time. Although some organizations have sophisticated Customer Relations Databases that contain this information and even flag up calls to be made each day, a simple paper system or spreadsheet can work just as effectively.
The main guideline here is that these objectives are agreed and so your team-members ought to be motivated to monitor their own progress throughout the year. If objectives are important, which they should be, there ought to be a Self-Monitoring System for each objective that makes up-to-date information easily available to whoever needs it in the organization.
In companies where Performance Management is well established, individuals and teams take great pride in displaying their Self-Monitoring Systems. To them it is a form of publicity. "If we are good at what we do, then everyone should know and there is more chance of us being recognized as key contributors to the organizational goals."
In one clothing manufacturer's buying department, they were suffering from greater than average sickness absence. The manager knew this but the buying team was not aware that it was a problem. Now, because the manager recognized that sickness absence and managing the workload around this was his responsibility, he undertook to display a measure of "lost days" for his department. The chart simply had an anonymous line graph showing the number of days per week lost to sickness. Two weeks after displaying the chart, keeping it updated and not doing much else, the lost days in his department reduced to zero and stayed pretty much that way.
This manager was originally very skeptical about Performance Management. After this experience he said "Surely if you pay attention to anything, it gets better". Absolutely right! And by displaying the "Lost Days" chart he was broadcasting to his team that sickness absence was a key issue for him as a manager. Without talking to him about it, they changed their behavior and helped him to meet his objectives.