Impact vs output: Is this the future of performance management?

Is employee impact more important than output in a hybrid world?

Impact vs output: Is this the future of performance management?

The global pandemic has been dubbed one of the most disruptive periods in the history of the modern workplace. But while the worldwide working from home experiment certainly had a dramatic impact, some believe the hybrid phase we’ve now transitioned into is going to be even more unsettling.

While flexibility offers employees certain benefits, the challenges for employers is just as great. Where we work has changed, so should how we measure the work we do change too? Traditionally, changes in the workplace have been employer led and a lot of the time, the big driver was cost.

But the global pandemic has flipped the power balance the other way. Now employees have proven they can work from home and be as productive, if not more, the desire for choice and autonomy over our daily schedule has truly taken hold.

Read more: Employee engagement drivers are shifting thanks to hybrid work

Speaking to HRD, Merylee Crockett, director of people & culture at Interactive, Australia’s largest private IT company, said this shift in dynamic has forced employers to rethink the concept of performance management.

“Most organisations had already started to make the shift from inputs to outputs, or outcome-based performance before the pandemic,” she said. “The shift we've now made is to not only focus on the outcomes our people deliver, but what impact that has on the organisation.

“Now when managers and employees are setting goals we get them to think about what outcomes they are committed to delivering because that drives accountability. But more than that, we ask ‘so what?’ What impact does delivering those outcomes have on the customer, the team and the business?”

Read more: Microsoft research reveals almost half of employees looking to switch jobs this year

As Crockett pointed out, the pandemic has made a lot of people revaluate what matters to them. While some have sought a sea change or a tree change, others have ditched their career entirely in favour of something more rewarding. This idea of focusing on impact, rather than solely outcome, aims to strengthen the link between day-to-day tasks and the overall company vision.

As a result, engagement metrics among Interactive staff have remained strong despite the pandemic. In the Melbourne office, they recorded a 10% rise increase in engagement, even after experiencing one of the longest lockdowns globally.

Last year, Interactive was also ranked number one Great Place to Work in Australia in the 100-999 employee category. 

With employees across all of Australia states and territories, as well as in New Zealand, Crockett said the ways of working are always going to differ between teams and locations. But what’s important is that the employee experience remains consistent.

“Some of the things we're now starting to look more closely at are our employee net promoter score, because that really talks to trust in the business, as well as whether employees feel they can make a difference,” Crockett said. “We're starting to think about engagement a little bit differently as a result of the pandemic.”

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