PerformanceHub Release

In this release:

  • Way better interim reports
  • A new employee engagement report
  • Various bug and usability fixes

You can’t have too much of a good thing right…? ..thought so.

Sooooo, we have added even more sunburst reports! We had some great feedback on the Objectives Sunburst, so we thought “why not?”.

 

Interim review progress sunburst chart

The Interim dashboard report (click on Interims in the Dashboard’s sidebar if you have one) now gives you a better overview of progress on interims. You can even click a button to see things in percentage terms. But, if you look on the far right, you’ll see the, by now familiar, sunburst chart icon. Click that and you’ll get a breakdown of progress on interim reviews in a chart.

 

Employee engagement report

We’ve introduced a brand new report. On your Dashboard, you’ll see a new entry in the sidebar “Engagement”. Click on that and you will see a, yes, you guessed it, a sunburst chart showing you when people last logged into PerformanceHub. It’s the start of a few ideas we have on Employee Engagement reports.

Check your report out here (you’ll need to be logged in). Don’t be too upset if you see a lot of yellow, depending on where you are in your review period, you may not be expecting people to have logged in for a while.

 

Various stability and usability updates

  • We’ve got rid of that jitter on Chrome!! Hoorah!
  • Feedback tool-tip now takes into account anonymity settings
  • Managers who were “matrix managers only” were incorrectly being given the opportunity to change matrix managers for their team members (when they didn’t have any)
  • Titles have been added to more reports

As ever, feedback is a powerful motivator, so let’s have yours.

New Feature: One-to-One Meetings Support

We recently released a new version of PerformanceHub which includes support for One-to-one meetings. You can enable this feature at any time. One-to-one meetings are widely acknowledged as a critical mechanism for ensuring effective communication up and down the organisation, and for building employee engagement.

 

In this post we give an overview of this new feature.

 

When you enable this feature, you get to specify the default meeting interval:

Meeting schedule

Managers can choose to change the meeting frequency on a per-direct-report basis.

 

After having a one-to-one meeting, the manager and/or the direct report can record meeting notes:

Meeting Notes

Both parties don’t have to record notes. For example a manager may ask her direct reports to write up their meetings, and only add her own notes where she wants to add something to the record.

 

After confirming a meeting, you’ll automatically get an entry for your next meeting, with a tentative date (based on the meeting frequency):

More meeting notes

You can record notes in this placeholder, for example as part of your preparation, or to build up a list of topics during the time between meetings.

 

The meeting record for a past meeting is locked 7 days after you confirm the meeting. These meeting notes form part of the historical record for employees, so it’s important that neither party can go back and change the record long after the event. A meeting record is locked even if neither party has recorded any notes.

HR have an interface for browsing all employees, and seeing the meeting configuration at a glance:

Meeting reports

From this HR can see where meetings are overdue, and where managers have changed the meeting interval from the default they set. Clicking on the View button against an employee brings up a meeting viewer, which lets HR page through the meeting records:

HR meetings view

 

PerformanceHub is always evolving, and most of that is driven by customer needs and feedback. Please let us know what you think of this feature, and share any ideas for improving it.

 

New Feature: Mission Statements

PerformanceHub is on a Mission. Are you?

We have just released a new feature – “Mission Statements“.

Your CEO can now publish a mission statement on the Company tab for all your employees to rally behind. Combined with Company Goals and Company Objectives, your CEO can now communicate the full strategy; from your company’s  Mission, to its long term Goals, to timely Objectives right the way down to each individual’s deliverables.

Not enabled the Goals feature? You can from the PerformanceHub configuration page.

There’s no need to enable Mission Statements, they show up as soon as your CEO chooses to publish one.

It works for schools too – Head Teachers can set a Mission Statement in the School tab.

With this release, we are laying the foundations for some exciting Talent Management features we’re sure you’ll love – watch this space. In researching talent management, we learnt how something as simple as providing a clear mission statement can help with employee engagement, leading to better performance and improved retention.

PerformanceHub 2.0 has arrived!

PerformanceHub 2.0 arrived today, adding Competencies and Roles into our ever broadening feature set.

With PerformanceHub 2.0, you can add a role based competency review to an employee’s appraisal.

Competency based reviews provide a number of benefits:

  • Enable you to see who is performing/under-performing in their defined role.
  • Help find internal talent that meets the requirements of a vacancy or urgent project need.
  • Allow employees to see what aspects of their performance they need to concentrate on in order to develop themselves, work towards a promotion or develop their career in other directions.
  • Help managers set objectives that will develop their staff in a faster, more focussed way.

Having done extensive research, we found that there are many, many different ways in which companies do competency based reviews. What we have built enables you to configure PerformanceHub the way you want to use competencies in your organisation.

We have more exciting features coming that will complement competencies, like career ladders, talent management and succession planning. Watch this space!

Partnership Not Parenting

In the early days of Cogendo we created a list of principles to help guide us as an organisation and also to form part our product’s DNA. We’ll work through all of our principles in coming blogs, but today I’m going to focus on “Partnership Not Parenting” (PNP).

A recent HBR blog post by Amy Gallo, “Making Sure Your Employees Succeed”, lists her guiding principles (for helping ensure that employees are successful), and we noticed one which is similar to one of ours, but with some (subtle?) differences.

In summary, Amy’s article flushed out 6 principles:

Do:

  • Connect individuals’ goals to broader organisation objectives
  • Show employees that you are a partner in achieving their goals
  • Learn about and incorporate employees’ personal interests into their professional goals

Don’t:

  • Allow employees to set goals alone
  • Take a hands-off approach to high performers — they need input and feedback to meet their goals as well
  • Ignore failures — be sure people have the opportunity to learn when they don’t achieve goals

It was the Partnership line that caught my eye. We think that it’s more than just showing an employee that you are a partner in them achieving their goals, it’s actually being a partner. Our PNP principle also factors in the “Don’t allow employees to set goals alone” principle of Amy’s.

So what does ‘Partnership Not Parenting’ mean to us? Traditionally objectives have been a very top-down affair: the manager tells their direct report (DR) what to do, and the DR gets on with it. This approach works fine for the armed forces, but employees are less likely to mentally sign up for an objective that they’ve had no part in. They may even believe it’s not a very good objective, but figure it’s their manager who’ll take any flack, so they’ll just keep their head down.

PNP starts with definition of objectives. This should be triggered by the CEO publishing the organisation’s top-level objectives. In our experience this will trigger a combination of top-down, bottom-up, and middle-out creation of objectives that relate to the overarching objectives. The manager may have some ideas for the DR’s objectives, and the DR may also have some ideas. At this point they should work on the definition of objectives together, refining, expanding, as they go. The bouncing back-and-forth often results in a better objective than either could do alone: the manager providing a broader corporate view, and the DR often having more in-depth knowledge or expertise. As a result both will feel ownership, and the DR will feel like (s)he had an equal voice in the process, increasing engagement and likelihood not only of success, but also of quality and productivity.

Wherever possible, the DR’s objective should be related to one of the manager’s (or their group’s) objectives, and the manager should be able to make clear how his objective relates to one or more organisational objectives. Thus the DR gets to feel that (s)he owns a part of a larger objective, and the manager sees that success on his objective requires success on the DR’s.

The manager and DR should sit down regularly (e.g. a weekly one-to-one), and review progress, with the manager passing on any updates relating to the broader objective, and the DR updating on progress on their part. Both should be thinking in terms of whether the two sides are still aligned, and whether they need something from the other to stay on track.

When the objective has been completed, they should sit down together to review it: and record data from both parties.

Goal setting and defining the stepping stones to achieve them should be a collaborative effort between a manager and their direct report. The same with reviewing performance – although I hate to use the word review as it suggests I mean a sit-down ‘so how did we do?’ meeting that inevitably gives rise to little surprises. In a true partnership there would be no surprises, the review would be to simply document the important stuff you both already know. Only then will you achieve the levels of employee engagement that lead to peak performance. Collaboration is the essence of the partnership, contrary to the ‘old school’ parental mandate.

You still need a framework to build this partnership on and an understanding of how to apply it. The framework could be your employee appraisal process (assuming you tie in all the way down to 121s) or of course PerformanceHub. The understanding for me came from experience, but could so easily be taught. However, in all the hours I’ve spent on management courses (sent on by my past corporate employers) I don’t think I’ve ever been explicitly taught this. A shame really, as it would have been a great accelerator in my early management days.

Rob Wheatley

Cogendo

 

 

Organisational Efficiency vs Company Size

Operational BenefitsLarger companies are more efficient.  More talent to pool from, better buying power, efficiencies of scale…… Right?

Many of us have heard this said, particularly if you worked in an organisation going through rapid growth (via acquisition for example) but I’m sure that for anyone who has been there, you’ll feel quite differently. I do, particularly with my past role as “innovation ambassador” in a multi-national. Size there was stifling – well, more precisely, poor communication was, but I’ll leave “innovation in a large company” for another day.

This post was to share with you a study by Allan Engelhardt. It hit a chord with us at Cogendo as it highlighted one of our motivations to create PerformanceHub. In a nutshell, he showes through crunching the numbers of more than 4000 companies, that there is often a relationship between organisational size and productivity (as measured by profitability). As a rule of thumb, for every 10% increase in organisation size expect a 1% drop off in productivity.

For companies undergoing rapid growth (which has problems in itself) these numbers don’t stack up well. Let’s say you have 50 employees at 100% productivity (nice to have) and grow to 100 employees over a year.  Your average productivity per employee drops by around 8%. At an average employee cost of £40k a year, that’s over £3000 per year per employee wasted. Or in our little example, a total of more than £300,000 a year lost!!

This does beg the question – where’s the productivity going? Well, my opinion is that it’s lost in a myriad of small things. Degraded communication, devolved decision making, additional levels of bureaucracy, unclear disconnected goals, reduced employee focus and arthritic organisational agility to name a few.

If you’re reading this and nodding your head, you’re staring our motivation to create PerformanceHub in the face. With it, we try and address some of these problems head-on and from what we hear, we’re winning…….

Rob Wheatley

CEO

Cogendo