Ever-Changing Trends in HR: The Performance Management Role

Mon 17 Jul 2023

Angela Tracey-Brown

Product Manager - CMI

HR has an ever-changing landscape, with different trends coming in and out of the industry. As a HR professional, it is important to keep up with the fast-paced changes, in order to attract, retain and develop top talent in the workplace. 

During The Great Resignation, UK businesses have seen the impact unsatisfactory workplaces can have on not only the employee, but the organisations themselves. With the high cost of recruitment, businesses cannot afford to lose employees. In 2022 alone, resignations reached a record of 442,000

As a result, HR departments are forced to reconsider their people practices, and part of this is assessing how they will continue with their performance management system. As annual performance reviews slowly become a thing of the past, human resource managers are beginning to consider alternative methods of performance appraisals.  

CIPD qualifications are great for providing HR professionals with the skills and knowledge they need to manage workplace performance. However, if you want a quick insight into the changing landscape of HR, this blogpost will discuss: 

  • The current HR landscape 
  • Latest HR trends  
  • Performance management in relation to HR trends  
  • Current best practices for performance management 

Understanding the current HR landscape 

Human resources is a constantly evolving field with different changes, developments and trends in people practise emerging on a regular basis. Influences such as technology, globalisation and social attitudes all play a role in the changes that occur in HR, and as a HR manager, you are responsible for keeping up with the latest trends to effectively manage the workforce. 

In the past, performance management was focused on annual reviews and rankings. Managers would rate employees based on their annual performance and address any positives or negatives. 

However, this approach has recently seen a decline due to its criticisms of being too rigid and somewhat demotivating. In recent years, there has been a shift towards more continuous and ongoing performance management, where feedback is given on a regular basis throughout the year.  

There is also a growing focus on employee wellbeing and work-life balance, with many organisations offering flexible working benefits, mental health support, wellness programmes and more, all in a bid to attract and retain top talent.  

It is important for HR to keep up with the changes in the landscape, as without an ability to change with the times, businesses risk losing top talent to businesses who cater to their needs as professionals and people. MOL provides CIPD training that can help HR professionals performance manage to a high standard.  

What are the current HR trends relating to performance management? 

Quiet quitting 

Quiet quitting doesn't refer to actually quitting your job, rather, it refers to the act of avoiding putting in excess effort into your job role, and only fulfilling the bare minimum to collect your salary.  

Employees are more likely to quiet quit if they feel undervalued and under supported, so it is important to speak with employees regularly to assess their morale, keep them motivated and ensure their needs are being met.  

It is important to consider trends like quiet quitting when assessing the performance of an employee. If an employee is suddenly less productive than used to be, this could be something to be addressed during performance management meetings. 

Objectives and key results (OKR) 

This is a goal-setting framework used by managers to define measurable goals and track outcomes. These goals should align with the organisation's strategic goals so employees have an understanding of the direction for performance improvement.  

For each objective, HR managers should define specific, measurable, and time-bound key results that indicate successful achievement of the objective. Key results should be quantifiable and easy to follow. 

This HR trend is effective because it allows for employees to have defined goals that are measurable. This level of clarity makes it easy for employees to understand what their goals and expectations for success are.  

People analytics 

This allows HR professionals to make data driven decisions about the performance of their employees and the organisation. When it comes to performance management, it is important to consider data on the employees performance.  

By analysing performance metrics and data, HR managers can assess individual and team performance based on quantifiable measures rather than subjective assessments. This helps eliminate biases and ensures fairness in performance evaluations. 

Strategic alignment 

This refers to the process of ensuring goals and objectives are met, aligning with the overall strategy of the organisation. For HR professionals, it is important that strategy aligns with performance management.  

By strategically planning and implementing performance management processes, HR managers can ensure that employees understand what is expected of them and how their work contributes to the organisation's success.  

Strategic alignment is a structured approach to evaluating and improving performance, identifying skill gaps, and development opportunities 

Ultimately, this fosters a culture of motivation and engagement, leading to enhanced productivity and the overall success of the business.  

The role of performance management in adapting to HR trends 

Performance management allows organisations to keep their employees on track, keep productivity levels high and ensure goals are being met. So what makes good performance management

As mentioned earlier, you want to make sure you are keeping up with trends in HR to ensure the needs and requirements of employees are being met. Although the trends and practices of good people management may change over time, the goals of people management remain the same:  

  • Attracting and retaining top talent 
  • Creating a positive workplace culture 
  • Reaching company goals 
  • Improving workplace efficiency 
  • Providing opportunities for professional growth 
  • Setting clear expectations and goals for employees 
  • Providing recognition for good performance 
  • Empowering employees to make decisions 
  • Promoting work-life balance  

What are the current best practices for performance management? 

Continuous feedback 

More and more companies are ditching the annual review for a more continuous method of feedback. Annual feedback means employees have to wait an entire year before they gain an insight into their performance.  

Because of the delay, annual feedback can often be inaccurate and may not be entirely relevant. Companies are therefore opting for continuous feedback, as it provides a more accurate feedback that employees can use to improve on their performance.  

Collaborative goals and development plans 

In the past, goals were established without the input of the employee, however in modern times, businesses are opting to develop collaborative goals.  

When employees are involved in the goal-setting process, they are more likely to feel engaged and motivated to achieve the goals. Also, they can understand how to develop goals that align with business goals and objectives.  

Developing their own goals allows employees to understand their own strengths and weaknesses through reflection on their performance. They can then communicate these strengths and weaknesses with their employer so the employer can gain an insight into where the employee needs extra support.  

Employers can then work with employees to create development plans. Because it is a collaborative process, employees will feel more motivated to achieve these goals, which in turn is better for the business.  

Employee feedback  

As mentioned in the current HR trends, it is important for businesses to have active people-focused efforts to attract and retain top talent in the industry. Without an effort to listen to the voices of employees, businesses can fall short and fail to retain talent.  

During effective performance management sessions, employers have the opportunity to ask how they can better support their employees to develop their skills and knowledge, and how they can support their time at the organisation.  

This helps employers identify their own strengths and weaknesses, increases innovation and communication, and allows for more informed decisions to be made. This allows for the employee to work in an environment where they feel supported and valued.  

Want to progress your HR career? MOL provides CIPD courses that can help you begin and develop your HR career today.  

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