Missed our recent webinar on maximising staff retention and wellbeing? Get all the main points here…
Mark Dunne, Strategic Account Director at Advanced
Hamzah Hafesji, Group Product Manager at Advanced
The current state of play
The webinar began with an alarming statistic: 7 in 10 education staff in England are considering quitting their job in the next 5 years. This poses a massive risk to staff retention, and therefore a risk to the delivery of outstanding learning opportunities. In addition, 80% of sector professionals believe that their organisation is not effective at recruiting and retaining talent.
A recent AoC survey paints a similarly gloomy picture, with 96% of respondents stating that vacancies are putting increased pressure on existing staff. The survey puts the average number of vacancies at 30 per FE organisation, with one provider reporting 162 vacancies. 61% of respondents say that staff vacancies are having a significant impact on the amount they need to spend on agency fees.
The latest NEU survey highlights further problems. 70% of school and college staff reported an increase in workload compared to the previous year; 95% said that this additional workload gives them cause for concern over their wellbeing. At the same time, 35% stated they would definitely no longer be working in education in 5 years’ time.
When asked what could be improved, 25% suggested a less burdensome system of pay progression and performance management, 28% wanted a greater sense of collaboration across the sector, and 44% said they would prefer to have more autonomy. 33% said that reduced data handling would bring improvement to their role.
What is performance management?
There are two key angles to performance management. One is performance enablement, which is all about creating the conditions that allow people to thrive and fulfil their talent. This concerns the culture and values of the organisation, the wellbeing of staff, and creating the right environment to get the most out of them. Importantly, this applies to everyone working at an organisation, whether they be teachers, support staff, cleaning staff, or security.
The other is performance measurement, typically led by HR. Organisations measure performance to inform critical decisions that drive the business. This could be around pay and reward, succession planning, and learning and development.
The term ‘performance management’ often comes with negative connotations. This is because organisations have traditionally favoured biased performance measurement over enablement. Quite often, this takes the shape of an annual appraisal whereby at the end of the year, a manager looks at an individual’s performance over the preceding year and not at whether conditions are in place to nurture talent.
In addition, the annual appraisal model comes with the possibility of recency bias. If, for example, an individual has been experiencing poor well-being in the days or weeks prior to appraisal, then this has the possibility to lead to a negative outcome – one that does not give a complete picture of the individual’s performance across the year.
It would be preferential for a staff member to have quality conversations with their manager throughout the year, giving them the chance to describe any impediments they may have that are stopping them from fulfilling their potential. However, what tends to happen is that the conversation is framed around professional development for the year ahead – this is not conducive to discussions surrounding wellbeing.
When we consider results and performance it a common misconception that ‘results equal performance’. Results are an outcome at a specific time, reliant on a number of factors, and measured with data. Performance, on the other hand, is what is carried out day-to-day – a set of behaviours and habits. Performance management should aim to completely decouple performance enablement from performance measurement.
Performance enablement should involve setting goals which are stretching and engaging; these are linked to organisational priorities and their value. It should also involve real-time feedback – a mixture of positive and constructive feedback delivered in the moment. Praise is highly significant for staff, since it provides positive reinforcement; at the same time, feedback should be allowed across the entire organisation – any member of staff should be able to give feedback to any other.
Performance enablement is about deliberate planning – the individual should own their goals and objectives. They should be engaged in not only their work, but with the organisation in terms of its values, cultures, and teams.
Performance measurement, on the other hand, should be the domain of HR, and centred around building an evidence-based view of the individual.
The transformation journey
While it’s true that change can be tough, at Advanced, we go beyond providing software, acting as your partner to help facilitate real change within your organisation. We can help you achieve this through a process of normalising, habitualising, and optimising.
You should begin by normalising conversations. There should be positive feedback, and stretching goals to work towards. The aim is for this process to become habitualised – to be employee-led, abundant, regular, and unforced. Finally, you should aim to optimise. This is where your process is collaborative, cross-functional, agile, and objective. At this point, you are no longer requesting feedback; it happens continuously and organically.
We support our customers in the transformation of their culture, using proven methods that we’ve finessed over time. We have listened to feedback from our customers and built up a comprehensive list of training materials.
After an initial assessment on your current performance (and how this stacks up against best practice) we share and deliver plenty of thought leadership into your team, offering insights on performance, analytics and reward.
Then, we provide structured interventions. We support with the design and delivery needed to help drive change – this could be organisational-wide, or it could be specific to certain cohorts within your staff.
Finally, we provide a challenging ear. Wherever you are in your journey, we’re always here to support you. More importantly, we are here to challenge you. We are open to your ideas and can include them within your performance management setup.
Our Performance and Talent solution, Clear Review
Clear Review offers a platform for continuous development and review. It is very easy to use. As borne out by the surveys above, staff clearly don’t want any increase in their admin burden – Clear Review will help alleviate that. A few key features:
The software makes it easy to set targets at any point in the year; individual objectives can then be aligned to the organisation’s strategic objectives. You can also set up collaborative objectives for when you are working with colleagues.
Clear Review allows for the sharing of positive and constructive feedback in real-time, and across your entire organisation. Staff members can share their feedback in no-pressure environment, at a time to suit them. What’s more, feedback can be provided within the context of your organisation’s values.
You can set up regular meetings whether they be one-to-ones, probationary reviews, or check-in meetings – these can be labelled as you wish. You can then add prompts for each meeting type; this can act as a training aid for your line managers, ensuring a high level of consistency.
Within the Conversation page, you can quickly access the objectives that have been set for individual staff members and see what progress has been made towards those objectives. You can view feedback without leaving the page, and even manage pulse surveys, giving you feedback in real time.
This is a summary of the original webinar. To view the webinar in its entirety, please click here.