Manual vs. Automated Performance Management

The major benefits organisations can realise when moving from paper-based, manual systems to an automated one

Manual vs. Automated Performance Management

Most organisations have some form of Employee Performance Management process. We are often asked about the benefits of automating Performance Management. This paper sets out some of the major benefits organisations can realize when moving from paper based manual systems to an automated system.

Objective Setting - Visibility

We have often seen organisations where line management does not specify objectives for their staff when using manual Performance Management systems. At review time, management “make up” suitable objectives and review against these objectives. This means that staff are not being managed to desired outcomes for a substantial part of the year.

By contrast, automated systems track which managers have defined objectives to be achieved by their staff and when they set the objectives. This applies to both Development and Business Objectives. This process ensures that line managers think about what they want their teams to achieve. By conducting this process they set up a meaningful way to objectively measure the achievements of their staff. Automated systems therefore drive “performance thinking” and ensure staff are aware of their objectives for the full performance period.

Objective Quality through Visibility

Automated systems provide visibility for all managers. All Managers including the CEO can view objectives and ensure that they will achieve his/her strategy. This visibility ensures that the quality of Objectives improves. An objective that reads “Have a good year Jill” is no longer acceptable, once managers have visibility of objectives.

Frequency of Review

Due to the cumbersome and administratively intensive process involved with manual performance management systems, review frequency has typically been limited to once annually. There are several consequences which follow:
  1. ‍Line managers and staff forget their objectives for a substantial part of the year. As review time approaches there is a frantic scramble to ensure that objectives are met (assuming that they were previously defined and recorded). This means that the organisation may experience below average performance for a substantial period, followed by a shorter period of high performance.
  2. As reviews are an annual event, anxiety on behalf of the manager and staff is extreme. They have one chance to get it right and there are often consequences attached to the review (bonuses, promotions, reputation). In this environment, all parties are charged with anxiety and the likelihood of creating a better performance environment is easily compromised.
  3. Given the flow of paperwork in and out of the HR department, HR is often offline for several weeks during and after the review period. This means other HR functions suffer and HR services offered to the business decline markedly.

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