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Blog : Talking Talent


Talking Talent

This month we find out from Ashley Murray, Head of Training & Development at Yodel, what performance management means to Yodel, and how it's kept as an ongoing conversation...


1. What does performance management mean to you and Yodel?

For me performance management is more than just an annual discussion which takes place between myself and my manager. It’s an increasingly important cog in the performance cycle which allows the individual, the manager and the business to engage with one another, strengthening interpersonal relationships and in turn the emotional contract between all parties. In its totality, performance management here reinforces best practice; ensuring all have a clear understanding of expectations and KPIs to perform to in role to enable the success of the organisational strategy and mission.


2. For most employees, performance management draws up negative images; what have you done at Yodel to change this perception?

The term ‘management’ in itself is likely to draw connotations that appraisal and review processes are something which an individual is subjected to from the top downwards rather than the reality, which is to be an integral driver in the process. Historically, within Yodel, the adoption of this approach has seen managers and leaders viewing the performance cycle in its entirety as being their responsibility; the end result being a lack of commitment to, ownership of, or motivation to drive performance management at an individual level.

Although in its early stages, we are anticipating that the introduction of a non-manual process (in the form of Talent Toolbox) will drive adherence via a clearly defined, structured process, where both manager and individual each have a degree of responsibility and ownership to drive strategy (in the form of agreed objectives), measure competency (via clearly defined scales of measurement) and build personal skillset and behaviours (through personal development planning and succession planning).


3. To create a culture of improvement, real-time feedback is vital. How important has this been in your own career development?

Extremely! As an individual I need to know that the direction my ship is being steered is appropriate and adds value, purpose, efficiency and effectiveness, no matter how big or small. Without immediate feedback the opportunity to head off course is significantly increased. I don’t always get it right…. and I don’t have the advantage of being able to wait several weeks to learn that! That said, ongoing motivational feedback is just as important as formative feedback. Whilst I’m not one for seeking out accolades and massages of ego, simply knowing when I’ve delivered a great job, demonstrated a core behaviour or made a positive contribution has a positive impact upon motivation, drive and commitment. After all, surely we all deserve to be recognised by our peers and leaders for a job well done.


4. Leading employers ensure ‘performance management’ is an ongoing conversation – how do you do this in your business? 

Yodel is an organisation that is driven by clear KPIs and targets. As a customer orientated service provider we deliver not only on a day-by-day basis, but hour-by-hour. Whilst longer term strategic objectives are reviewed at regular intervals, many of Yodel’s teams across the operation are measured in terms of their performance on a day-by-day; constantly reviewed, challenged, summarised and praised accordingly throughout that period. This fast moving, ever changing environment means that our people need the ability to adapt and flex as needs required, and the foresight to take feedback in the manner that it intended is key – ensuring the continuity of service delivery to clients and customers whilst stretching people to get the best from them.


5. What advice would you give to HR professionals looking to do things differently when it comes to performance?

Firstly, temperature check your organisation and the market place on a regular basis. What’s going on both internally within the organisation and externally in the wider market place may have an impact upon your people and their thoughts, feelings and beliefs – all in turn having an effect upon motivation and commitment and ultimately performance. By understanding the impact of the likely influences organisations and their people face, HR professionals can prepare themselves in anticipation of what’s coming ahead, for both the organisation, its people and the conversations required to take place.

Secondly, empower your people to take responsibility and ownership for the performance management process. Don’t just sit back and think performance management is something done to you, drive what you want out of the process as an individual whilst ever mindful of the needs of your organisation.

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