4 May, 2021 | OpenBlend

On Blend with Nicola | Performance management post-lockdown

For those who haven't met me yet, I'm Nicola, I developed my skills and approach through my 15 years in business optimisation, generalist HR roles in corporate (O2, PPR Group and large utilities) and fast growth environments, including start-up tech (Huddle, Nutmeg, Onfido). I have qualified as a fellow of the CIPD, ILM Level 7 coach and psychometrics practitioner.

I joined OpenBlend Autumn last year, as we were all navigating through lockdown 3... and not liking our lack of freedom and isolation from pubs and restaurants one little bit. How 6 months has changed us! Or at least that has eased our access to a G&T! 

At OpenBlend, everything we stand for is about creating a people-centric working environment where people thrive, and do their best work. I am here as I share that passion. It has been the driving force of my career as a Fellow of the CIPD, in my roles working with CEOs, founders and Leadership teams who mean business with their people. I’d love to share with you my reflections and insights on the last 6 months of driving even greater people focus and performance across our amazing OpenBlend clients. 

Journey = Complete lockdown > Access to a vaccine > Imagining a new world

What performance management related themes have appeared so far on the journey?

Theme #1: Hybrid Working - a reimagining of the workplace 

We have all been finding our way through the last 12 months in any way we can. In our working environments, the wider freedoms have started us thinking about longer term hybrid working and how our new working pattern will be. And how employees want it to be. In our Blend Insights, (where we see on aggregate across all clients what thousands of team members are identifying as important to them), we see Flexible Working coming into the Top 10 most important elements valued by team members for the first time. This highlights that people are looking differently at what we want from work, rather than what we must accept. The tide is turning.

  • Employees and team members are now talking 60:40 in time they want to spend across office:home and among others home:office. What was previously seen as something to avoid (managing and working remotely) is now a new reality that our clients are embracing and innovating for.

Theme #2: Empowerment of the Manager  

Our clients, who consistently value people at the centre of their organisations, are equipping their managers with the skills and tools they need to connect with their teams and support them to do great work. Amazing brands we work with are embedding great leadership programmes of development with the ability to put the skills into practice and coach and connect with team members meaningfully in their 1:1s. 

  • 80% of managers using OpenBlend felt able to have more meaningful 1-to-1s.

Theme #3: Employees seek clarity

A growing trend across our clients is the groundswell of need for an intentional culture of clarity by setting clear goals and expectations. So very powerful when we are still navigating uncertainty. We know what is expected of us and what we need to achieve, so when we find things tough (as we all have and at times, continue to) we know where to prioritise our energy and efforts.

  • Our clients have increased the number of objectives set across the their teams by 49% from Q4/20-Q2/21 focusing on the shorter term, 6 month goals on average.

As we walk into the summer light and longer days, I’m excited to work with our clients, both current and those yet to join us, to build for a brave new future. It’s looking bright. It’s looking blended! (Boom!)

Nicola Forbes-Taylor, Implementation and Success Consultant.


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OpenBlend Reaching Objectives Infographic