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Whitaker-Taylor Insights

Three Steps to Successful User Adoption with Continuous Performance Management

Oct 4, 2018 1:32:00 PM / by Ryan Flynn

A trending area of focus across industries is thought leadership surrounding the alignment and evaluation of performance. Ah yes, performance reviews. The dreaded period when employees are evaluated based on their completed work for the prior year. Employees may be unsure of how they’re progressing due to infrequent feedback, or, they are left out of the loop entirely.

The typical performance cycle is a static review, held on an annual or bi-annual basis, and it only allows for limited feedback and communication. The great news is that SuccessFactors Continuous Performance Management (CPM) fixes the issue of poor feedback on employee performance.

CPM is an enhancement feature of the Performance module, innovating the cycle to create more frequent and flexible interactions between employees and managers. This enhancement allows opportunity for two-way communication, tracking achievements, and obtaining real-time feedback. It also allows organizations to step outside of that lengthy time in between performance reviews and provides the structure for employees to engage in dynamic and continuous dialogue, ultimately helping them achieve their overall goals and learn from specific feedback throughout the year. As for the configuration, CPM is a relatively quick and fluid implementation. The tricky part, however, is getting employees on board with the organization’s change management surrounding the new functionality.

Organizations must take into account three major steps in order to increase effective user adoption and use of the CPM enhancement.

Step One: Analyzing the Current Business Processes 

CPM is an expansive feature that allows you to coach your team members, structure one-on-one meetings, and link activities to your goal plan. As you are probably aware, change management is a hefty task with many moving pieces to take into consideration. When migrating to CPM, the first area of focus should be your company’s current culture and processes around employee performance.

Take notes on your processes in place and be sure your CPM configuration reflects a system that will work for your organization. In doing so, it will allow for an easier transition. Your company may take a more relaxed approach, scheduling one-on-one meetings as needed, or a more structured approach with regularly scheduled development meetings. In either scenario, the change management team should be aware that current processes and attitudes, whether positive or negative, do have a significant effect on user acceptance and adoption. It may be beneficial to inform and prepare employees for this new change in structure to increase understanding and help ease the discomfort of unfamiliarity. Introducing the migration to CPM far in advance before implementing it is an effective way to give employees the opportunity to soak in the idea of change.

Step Two: Creating a Plan of Action – Timing and Expectations

After assessing your current business processes and determining the size of the change management needed, the next step is timing and expectation. Migrating to Continuous Performance Management is not an overnight process, and throwing change in the face of every employee at once is probably not going to be sustainable. Create a user adoption plan that incrementally introduces each function of CPM one at a time, to be developed over the course of six months to a year, or longer. 

Here, some basic questions should be asked:

  • Is every employee going to be happy about these changes?
  • Are certain functionalities more desired to start with?
  • How long will it take to get every employee and manager on board?

Afterwards, assess how you want to break up the introduction to the different CPM functionalities. For example, while introducing one feature such as activities and achievements may be your first step, the change management team could be planning to incorporate one-on-one meeting functionality a few months later. Consider creating a timeline and breaking it down into segments. This will enable you to monitor your employees, ensure they are properly using the new functionality, and create an open window for feedback. If user adoption takes longer than anticipated, don’t be afraid to extend the feedback loop before moving to the next function. The idea here is to make sure you are aware of the changes and allowing time for them to take place. Being able to predetermine these realistic expectations of how employees are affected will greatly increase the user adoption for CPM. After all, happiness is a product of expectations.  

Step Three:  Starting off with a Pilot Population

 Now that you have a plan of action for user adoption, how do you go about starting the process? As with the age-old story of The Tortoise and the Hare, “slow and steady wins the race.” Again, you don’t need to feel rushed to get every user involved at once. Consider starting with a pilot population for CPM. This will allow managers and stakeholders to assess true performance in a live, but controlled environment. When selecting a group of individuals to test, you should choose the group that gives you the opportunity to test as much of your new feature as possible. Consider groups that will have the least impact on the rest of the organization while they are undergoing change. This could be a work group, department, or business unit. Using a small group to implement change first will allow for feedback very early on and you can address issues before the full roll out.

Concluding Thoughts

There is no definitive method for change management, but one point is certain: Continuous Performance Management will require a user adoption plan, and the more you prepare, the smoother the transition will be. The expansive and detailed new functionality is sure to help your employees engage, track performance, and stay informed with managers on their progress. No employee likes uncertainty about a one-time performance review, and CPM is an innovative way to defeat this doubt and increase employee engagement. These are merely our helpful tips to ensure that you can exercise your new enhancement at the highest efficiency. So, don’t hesitate and act now. Map out your processes, create proper expectations, and remember: slowly but surely!

Topics: SuccessFactors, SAP, SAP HCM, Performance and Goals, CPM

Ryan Flynn
Written by: Ryan Flynn