September 30, 2020
Rebecca East

Tools for managing employees effectively in the New Normal

HR technology to manage remote workforces

With the latest government announcements, it’s becoming increasingly clear that a return to ‘normal’ is not on the cards for workplaces any time soon. It’s time to accept that we really are living and working in the ‘new normal’, and if we want our businesses to thrive, we need to adapt: not just with short term measures, but long-term strategies to boost productivity and growth. 

It presents a big challenge for HR teams, who now need to play a crucial role in helping employers to build something better in the months ahead. From managing the logistics of remote and hybrid working, to ensuring that managers are well-equipped to deal with changing employee needs and wellbeing issues, the pressure is on HR teams to help drive performance and support employees.

Since lockdown and home working began, there has been an increasing reliance from HR on technology to manage remote workforces – with performance management platforms playing a more prominent role in both day-to-day and long-term people management.

Yet a lot of the technology available to businesses hasn’t been designed for the ‘new normal’. Most performance platforms were created to support familiar, well-trodden working habits, not a dramatic transformation in the way that businesses manage and engage with their employees. In order to provide the tools that businesses now needed to interact with their employees and offer a better employee experience, performance management technology needed to evolve, fast.

At OpenBlend, we quickly set about developing new features that could directly support HR teams and managers as they navigated the demands of the ‘new normal’. We listened to what our clients needed, and created new functionalities that could help them continue to take an agile, people-centric approach, even with employees working remotely in a difficult environment.

Objectives

Thanks to remote working, businesses are going to need to shift from observed to measured performance management. With employees working away from the office, their managers and the rest of their team, it’s become much harder to see first-hand how they are achieving. If managers want to drive and maintain productivity in the new normal, they need to be able to set clear objectives – and track them easily.

We’ve revamped our Objectives features, to not only make individual objectives simple to create, discuss and track, but to align them with wider business goals.

Using the OpenBlend platform, managers can now tag relevant company objectives and values in individual performance goals, update employee progress and access insightful notes. This allows managers to take a retrospective view of the individual’s performance, measuring progress and identifying problems that need to be solved. 

Connections

When everyone was in the same place, it was easy to ask someone in another team (or outside of your reporting line) for information, advice and insight. Now, with remote and hybrid working, information sharing has become more difficult. Communication lines need to be kept open across the business, not just in silos, so that any employee can get the information or insight they need, when they need it.

Our Connections feature enables employees and managers to connect with one another outside of their direct reporting line. This feature can be used to support mentoring relationships or simply to connect with someone in your network for a particular project.

Evaluate

In people-centric businesses, continual performance conversations have replaced traditional annual performance appraisals. But many businesses are still relying on non-flexible and business-focused appraisal systems and employees are becoming increasingly demotivated. As these practices becoming more and more outdated and unpopular, it’s vital for businesses to find an alternative solution.

With our new Evaluate tool, businesses can facilitate employee evaluations in a uniquely people-centric way. Focussed on reflection and development, the process results in development ‘to dos’ and objectives that drive productivity and effectiveness at any stage at any time. Evaluate enables businesses to review probation, behaviour, annual reviews and much more. Simple and effective; as it should be.

Data on Demand

Our new data on-demand feature gives HR and business leaders direct, real-time insight into performance, motivators, wellbeing and related progress to the business. Through data on-demand, HR can identify and investigate problem areas, to explore the best ways to improve productivity across the board. 

It also allows HR to see how the OpenBlend platform is being used. Is everyone using the platform effectively? Are some teams using the tools more than others? With this insight, HR can maximise the platform’s ROI, identifying who needs more support in using the platform.

Calendar integration

To make sure that one-to-one meetings don’t fall by the wayside, we’ve added calendar integration. This enables managers and employees to keep track of one-to-one meetings, even with both parties working remotely, to make sure that they maintain a regular meeting schedule (and don’t accidentally miss those valuable conversation opportunities).

Personalised logo

We’ve shifted our navigation to allow room for businesses to add their logo to the platform. It’s a small change, but one that can have a big impact on employee experience and every individual’s feeling of inclusion within the business.

The changes we’re making to the OpenBlend platform will enable HR leaders to drive productivity led people-centric management, allowing them to connect employee, business and manager needs for better commercial results.

To find out more about the changes we’re making to the OpenBlend tool, and the Blend philosophy behind it, speak our business development team, contact us or email hello@openblend.com or book a free demo.

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