Once enterprise and divisional strategic objectives are set, the next step is to cascade strategy to the individual. Employee-level Balanced Scorecards can be a powerful vehicle for strategy communication and engagement, however they must be actionable and discussed in the right performance context.
Often organizations use Personal Balanced Scorecards (PBSCs) solely as a list of KPIs that are relevant for individual employees. This can be problematic because it can turn performance management into an abstract data collection exercise that diminishes the connection between the employee’s efforts and the organizational strategy.
KPI-heavy employee review approaches may also lack a platform to discuss skills that need to be worked on to improve performance. If an employee is asked to track their sales performance, there should be a corresponding forum to discuss required competencies.
Lastly, tracking KPIs without a system for managers and employees to discuss performance is not actionable and can lead to data disappearing into a vacuum.
To build a successful performance management process, Personal Balanced Scorecards, like organizational BSCs, need regular review meetings to discuss performance. Conversations and decision-making flashpoints are essential to effective performance management.
One proven best practice to close this gap in KPI-heavy approaches is to include the PBSC as part of ongoing manager-employee conversations. Most organizations already have some form of employee review processes in place, and PBSCs can cleverly leverage that existing structure. Employee reviews inherently focuses on employee performance and act as a natural vehicle for PBSCs.
Employee reviews are ideal because they provide a stable, mandated governance routine, and can easily be expanded to discuss personal goals, metrics, and connection to the overall organizational strategy. They also provide the proper context for performance. If an employee is behind on a metric, effective reviews will allow for qualitative explanation of performance that may otherwise be lost in the vacuum of a spreadsheet
Once integrated into the employee review process, personal scorecards should be aligned to the organizational strategy. Linking personal goals to organizational objectives improves strategic communication and helps employees understand their role in the big-picture mission.
Goals must be accompanied by competencies and development plans. For a meaningful discussion around employee goals, it is necessary to understand the underlying competencies that will enable employee success. A development plan should include both identified competencies with corresponding action plans.
Too many organizations simply identify competencies and evaluate performance without specific improvement plans. An action plan should help employees-managers discuss the specific ways that performance will be improved.
By integrating development plans and PBSCs into an existing review structure, the scorecard process becomes more reviewable, meaningful, and actionable.