May 17, 2021
Lucy Robertson

OpenBlend answer: what are the benefits of people-centric management?

If you’ve already read our blog on what it means to be people-centric, you’ll know it’s all about placing the individual at the heart of the performance process, having productive one-to-one conversations about everything that drives your employee’s productivity and taking steps to create a happier workforce – in other words, it’s about putting your people first.

Here, we want to break down the key things businesses need to consider as they move towards a more people-centred approach to performance management, as well as the incredible benefits they’ll gain as a result.  

What do we mean by people-centred performance management?

We’ve spoken before about how effective performance management helps you to maximise the value that an employee brings to their team and wider organisation, allowing you to take actions that help drive productivity across your business. So, what’s the difference between traditional performance management and taking a ‘people-centric’ approach?

For starters, you need to know that we aren’t talking about understanding your workforce as a singular unit. It’s about each and every individual that makes up your workforce and knowing that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to effective performance management. After all, employees are different; they have different backgrounds, they’re at different stages in their lives, and they have different drivers that motivate them. This means that they require different things to be able to perform their best at work.

People-centric performance management can be boiled down to three crucial tenets: understanding your employees on an individual level, engaging in productive one-on-one conversations (that incorporate wellbeing and individual work/life drivers) and creating actionable priorities that drive performance goals, tailored to each individual.

In a world that’s increasingly shifting to the hybrid work model, it’s easy for employees to feel less connected from their employers than ever before, which can result in a major dip in productivity if not addressed. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Hybrid and remote ways of working don’t need to come at the expense of productivity and performance. In fact, when people are placed at the heart of the performance management process in the shift to more hybrid ways of working, productivity can and does increase. With 85% of over 15,000 global businesses confirming that greater flexibility leads to an increase in productivity.

People-centric performance management isn’t just a nice thing to have - it's the difference between success and failure. It’s keeping focused on the fact that there is a human being behind the computer in the office and every laptop at home and at the heart of being human is needing to feel valued, listened to, understood, and taken care of. Satya Nadella CEO at Microsoft notes, “Over the past year, no area has undergone more rapid transformation than the way we work. Employee expectations are changing, and we will need to define productivity much more broadly — inclusive of collaboration, learning, and wellbeing”.

Why is understanding individual employee drivers crucial to a people-first approach to performance management?

To fully understand what your workforce needs, you need to know what makes your employees tick and also what enables them to perform at their best in order to meet their performance objectives. The first step towards doing that is opening up lines of communication that go further than the box ticking annual performance reviews. And yet it’s still common for managers to bypass this as one of the most vital aspects of successful performance management.

During a US-based survey from Interact, a large majority of managers (69%) said they were uncomfortable communicating with their employees, while over a third said they were uncomfortable giving feedback about their employee’s performance if they thought the employee might respond negatively to it. 

Managers, and businesses as a whole, need to start by understanding what has an impact on their employees to work effectively and perform at their best. When they have this understanding, they are best equipped to conduct regular, effective one-to-one conversations that target the core issues at hand and lead to tailored solutions that boost productivity and drive performance. That’s why, at OpenBlend, we talk about identifying employees’ work-life Blend: the makeup of key Blend drivers that motivate and enable them to perform their best at work, whether it’s health and exercise, the time they are spending with friends and family, a flexible working culture, or clear career goals and direction.

What are the benefits of a people-centred approach?

We’ve talked about but how businesses can move towards a people-centred approach. But how will it benefit their business? We’ve rounded up some of the main paybacks below.

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