By Faye Ekong published October 17, 2017
Performance Management Revolution: We Wanted The Impossible, and We Got It
As an organization, we had been looking for a new and more efficient way of doing performance management. Our previous system consisted of the classical once a year performance evaluation discussion between line managers and their staff. It was a tick the box, form filling exercise which did little to develop our managers nor their staff.
We spent just over a year looking, researching and speaking to other organizations from the non-profit, for-profit sector and academia.
We evaluated many options, but none seemed to fit our context and organizational model.
For almost 40 years, across nearly 50 countries, Action Against Hunger has led the global fight against hunger. We work in 10 different countries, in the Caribbean, West Africa, East Africa, Asia and the USA. Our diverse and multicultural workforce comprises over 2000 staff. The nature of our work means our workforce has different employment periods, ranging from short-term deployments of 1 – 3 months to multi-annual and permanent contracts.
We had many requirements for our performance management approach. We wanted a new and improved system that would measure up to our requirements list.
To meet our geographical, cultural, and staffing requirements, the new system had to be:
- User-friendly, intuitive, culturally appropriate and sensitive
2. Applicable to short and long-term staff
3. Relevant for all our staff no matter the country or department they worked in
If we were going to replace the old system it would have to:
- Add to our employee value proposition for new and prospective staff.
2. Support our supervisors in becoming stronger people managers.
3. Generate self-awareness, dialogue, reflection and collaboration at individual, team and organizational levels.
And lastly, we wanted something that staff could take with them and use in their careers even as they left the organization and something that would contribute to professionalizing performance management in the non-profit sector.
In summary, it seemed like we were looking for the “unicorn” of performance management.
Incredibly though, we found it! In 2016 we worked with Jamie Resker from Employee Performance Solutions, and we have not looked back since.
We created an organizational-wide motto and logo of “talk, learn, grow,” we held sensitization sessions, conducted training, hosted webinars, developed communication materials, sent out email reminders and revamped our onboarding program.
Close to 2 years later and much-dedicated work from multiple levels, we can say the difference is noticeable. The 10-Minute Conversation is now becoming part of our organizational DNA with some teams reporting that over 90% of their staff are engaging in the monthly conversation.
Supervisors are more confident in managing their teams and are open to new insights on how they can become even better managers.
All staff are empowered to schedule their performance conversation with their line managers and appreciate they have a dedicated time each month to check in with their supervisor to give and received feedback.
Conversations are increasingly geared towards mutual learning, development and in the interest of continuous improvement. New hires are impressed by the Action Against Hunger USA approach as it is not something they have experienced before.
Recently, we have also encouraged staff to hold the 10-Minute Conversations with their peers from within and outside their departments to create a culture of feedback, collaboration, and collective consciousness.
Overall rolling out this performance management approach has been extremely beneficial in transforming individuals, teams and the organization as a whole.
We are looking forward to seeing the positive long-term transformation of people management in Action Against Hunger USA.