Technology’s Role in Efficiency in Performance Management

Advancements in federal HR technology can provide an almost immediate benefit in performance management processes. According to Jason Parman, HR Strategy Branch Manager at the Office of Personnel Management(OPM), in a recent interview with Government Matters, “A real area of opportunity that we’re finding with agencies is on a technology side, with a special aim toward technology that either automates or streamlines existing work processes.”

Addressing inefficiencies and outdated systems offers agencies a prime opportunity for real change that can help greatly improve how they handle an extremely important but often cumbersome performance management role.

For many agencies, these processes are still largely manual. They require hours of paperwork, redundant communication between employees, supervisors and HR specialists, and a long approval process that take away from other tasks. By shifting to an electronic performance cycle, agencies stand to see immediate benefits that can have a tremendous impact across all of HR.

>>> Download the Best Practices in Performance Management eBook to help guide your federal HR strategy.

Pain Points in Manual Performance Management Processes

In the same interview with Government Matters, Parman notes just how many agencies still use paper forms, “Over 100 Federal Agencies are currently doing their performance management process effectively using paper and pencil.” This is not a small issue only affecting a fraction of federal agencies. It affects a large segment of federal HR and represents real opportunity for change. Pain points faced by these agencies include:

  • Pen and Paper Processes – Paper forms are a relic of the past and can be completely replaced by upgrading the technology used to power your performance cycle.
  • Slow Approval Processes – Signing and sending outdated paper forms can severely slow down the approval process at each stage. Electronic performance management ensures all parties have immediate access to performance reviews, performance plans, and objectives or goals set at the team level. Approvals can be made more quickly, and you can see what is pending in real time.
  • Too Much Time Spent on Performance Plans – Performance plans are an important part of the cycle, but they represent only one piece of the puzzle. Reducing time spent on plans with the use of automated forms allows HR and supervisors to shift focus to other tasks.
  • Unidentified Bottlenecks – With a large workforce, it can be difficult to know where bottlenecks are occurring. Visibility into who has a plan, who has ratings, and the efficacy of supervisors in completing their performance reviews is important to manage bottlenecks as they develop.

HR and agency management spend much of their time on performance planning and reviews, with little time available for additional management and training that can address issues. Automated, cloud-based performance management software closes that gap and recovers valuable time that HR specialists and line managers can use to drive improvement.

Spending More Time on Performance Management

The tedious nature of the federal performance cycle creates limits in what supervisors can accomplish. Using technology, many of the most tedious aspects of this process can be automated, including developing performance plans, cascading down organization-level performance goals and core competencies, and conducting and scoring performance reviews. Instead of individually setting goals for each performance review or replicating the same inputs on every plan you develop, software can automate this entire process, ensure all parties have immediate access to the information they need, with reporting and analytics immediately accessible.

By removing the tedious, time-consuming pen and paper processes from the performance management cycle, HR, supervisors, and employees alike will benefit.

Learn more about how technology can enhance your performance management practices, help address recent requirements in OMB M-17-22, and how to establish or improve best practices in your agency. Download our guide to performance management: