By Gaylyn Sher-Jan, Chief People Officer/Vice-President, Enterprise Services
Over the past year, Insitu has scrapped annual reviews and ratings in lieu of on-going conversations between managers, teammates and employees. The discussions are focused on goals, progress and managing anything that might block that progress. We have done this because research shows that ratings don’t inspire development and achievement. Respectful and constructive feedback does.
To do this, we launched a custom feedback application to enable these conversations. Only a few weeks in, I’m pleased to report that nearly half of our employees have already engaged with this new Performance + Development tool to manage their goal setting and feedback loop. The development of this new, customized tool continues to meet Insitu’s unique needs. We are on a journey in which everyone has a significant stake.
While this tool plays a part, it’s not the change that excites me most. We are working on a massive behavioral change when it comes to feedback. We’ve evolved our top-down, annual approach to managing performance with ratings to the other end of the spectrum: a progressive, collaborative approach.
The most progressive, innovative companies develop a comfort for the uncomfortable. But to do this, you must first be able to recognize and acknowledge some critical areas of discomfort:
• Feedback is sometimes inherently uncomfortable, yet critical to Insitu’s ongoing success. That said, feeling uncomfortable after getting feedback is a sure sign of growth.
• Not having ratings is unsettling. We’re not relying on a number any longer to communicate performance. Instead, we now need timely and meaningful conversations.
• There is higher level of accountability to one another. Managers and employees, employees and peers. These groups must believe that feedback is a gift and want each other to succeed. Coaching one another is essential instead of relying on an annual review.
As I said, this type of significant change causes discomfort. There will be tension anytime a company takes an unfamiliar angle to addressing an outdated process, but I’m confident that this new dynamic approach will serve all of our employees.
Ongoing feedback that aligns with individual goals using real-time moments will foster the development of our employees. I should also note that our Performance + Development Tool was designed to meet their unique needs. The resulting custom application focuses on three simple features: dynamic goals, frequent multi-dimensional feedback and regular check-ins between employees and managers.
This tool was co-created with employees using our engagement survey, focus groups, testing and research into today’s best practices. Launched in March, Performance + is also getting real-time user feedback from employees that is driving tool enhancements. We’re doing something new. Like all innovation, we build over time with input, adjustments, and new iterations – in our technology and ourselves.
As we move forward, we’re encouraging all Insitu employees to ask for and provide honest, candid feedback. Engaging in this new process is a fundamental commitment to one another and our customers. We need to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. It is a much-needed culture shift. Together we’re making Insitu stronger through a more honest feedback process.Click for more Click for more