The future of Performance Management in Health

By Martin Barlow - March 15, 2018

As workplace demographics evolve with growing cohorts of millennials and Gen Z’s, there is increasing demand for more instant and tailored feedback to staff.

Read: Transacting – a healthy growth strategy

Additionally, many are considering career development and personal growth as key factors of their employment. 

Increasingly, companies are moving away from a more formal annual performance management cycle, and are now encouraging managers and staff alike to focus on real time feedback in the workplace.  A number of research findings highlight that this tends to enhance employee engagement. 

Formal appraisal and performance processes were originally put in place to overcome the fact that managers did not traditionally have these conversations.  Along with formal systems came templates, forms and documented evidence that these conversations had taken place.  As they became embedded in our processes, they became necessary artefacts to prove we had taken our staff management responsibilities seriously, particularly when managing someone out of the organisation or taking disciplinary measures.

In highly procedure-orientated and technically focussed industries such as the health and care sector, it is critical that we are able to demonstrate development of our people and measure appropriate learning and development activities and outcomes, particularly where this is mandated to perform certain tasks such as a critical care certification to work in the Emergency Department.

Pitcher Partners believes a hybrid model can meet this challenge.  For traditional health organisations intending to journey towards adopting more progressive practices, culture and processes, change becomes a critical enabler to ensure that managers and staff are holding adequate, frequent and ad-hoc conversations about performance and development; this with a positive culture of open communication. 

From a technology standpoint, HR platforms are evolving to cater for these needs. They can be complemented by a number of emerging ‘apps’, offering immediacy and social-media-style capabilities, more in line with the needs and habits of digital natives. For example, these can provide instant feedback and ratings, and the ability to store progress and achievement in various media formats. 

There is, however, still the need to ensure processes are in place to meet any compliance requirements.  Evidence of performance is also normally required to feed into the remuneration cycle.  As the performance management process matures, so will the nature of the conversation in an organisation’s culture.

Martin Barlow is a Client Director at Pitcher Partners with a specialisation on the health and care sector practice.

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