After nearly two years of upheaval, Ireland finally seems to be returning to some sort of normality as we move into the recovery phase of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is already clear, however, the pandemic has had a profound and lasting impact on employees, employers and the workplace.
With surveys indicating a strong preference by employees for continuing remote or hybrid working into the future, many companies are now looking at how to make these new working practices sustainable into the future – both to attract and retain talent and to ensure that strategic goals are achieved.
One such concern is how to drive employee performance to continue to deliver business results as we move into the new world of work. Pre-pandemic, performance management practices had already evolved significantly, and the pandemic only further accelerated this evolution.
A sudden move to remote working, along with significant personal upheaval such as having childcare responsibilities during the day or looking after vulnerable family members, forced many employers to adjust their management and leadership practices to better support their employees during this time of uncertainty.
Now we are moving into a period of recovery, it is essential for companies to focus their efforts on building sustainable practices to support employee engagement, performance and, ultimately, business growth.
With this in mind, Enterprise Ireland has launched a new guide in partnership with performance management experts Our Tandem, Managing People, Driving Performance: A Good Practice Guide. This is the latest in a series of guides for employers on navigating the post-Covid workplace and is free to download on the Enterprise Ireland Global Ambition website.
While recognising that performance management requires a tailored approach by every company, this guide provides valuable information, based on best practice and latest business theory, to help employers rethink their approach to performance management, and the guide examines the evolution of performance management best practice over the years and how it has been affected by the pandemic.
It also highlights the foundations of good performance management such as goal setting, check-in conversations, fluid feedback, performance reviews, and reward and recognition practices.
Crucially, the guide provides relevant tips on embedding a strong performance culture within a company, on how managers can become coaching leaders, and on building communication to ensure that the changes are implemented successfully.
Essentially, this is a practical guide, informed by deep expertise in how Irish SMEs operate performance management. The templates included in it are useful for every company to identify the changes needed within their own performance management process and how to implement them successfully and sustainably.
For Enterprise Ireland client companies, this new guide is part of a range of non-financial and financial supports. Non-financial supports include guidance from our People & Management Specialists and access to our eLearning platform ( eiLearn.ie), which contains many articles, podcasts, videos and downloadable content on people management. We also offer a range of financial supports such as business growth advisor and strategic consultancy grants, which contribute to the cost of engaging external consultants to help companies address business challenges.
As we slowly return to the workplace, now is the time for every company to review every aspect of their operations and ensure it is fit for purpose for the new world of work. Assessing and adjusting how you drive employee performance is a crucial part of this process, particularly how you continue to support your employees in an ever-changing business environment.
Having in place the right performance management framework gives you the opportunity to deliver real benefits in terms of employee engagement, retention, team spirit and ultimately positive bottom-line results for the business.
Lola Ade-Onojobi is People & Management Specialist at Enterprise Ireland.
‘Managing People, Driving Performance: A Good Practice Guide’ is available for download at globalambition.ie/performancemanagement