Our Tandem Red Logo

Shaping culture for an agile world


The Marriage of Performance Management and Employee Experience

The misconception that employee experience is separate from performance management

There is no doubt that there has been a traditional assumption that employee experience and performance management don’t form a perfect harmony. The inflection in a co-worker’s voice when mentioning that they had a performance review generally serves as its own evidence of just how frequent this perception is. That such occasions are something that are expected to be endured, to be suffered through, and to need to recover from – damaging the employee experience. This belief that employee experience and performance management are naturally at odds with each other is rarely questioned. And it is true that for as long as we can remember it had simply become culturally accepted that these two concepts lived in separate worlds and not sure they would ever have seen themselves as friends.

Performance Management is finally recognising its role in employee experience

Despite those archaic perceptions, the world has now changed. And performance management is arguably forming the biggest agenda in employee experience today. And it makes more sense to acknowledge that, performance management has always formed part of your employees’ experience, although most often it has been a poor one. When considering an employee’s experience, we instead often look at the isolated activities in HR, the pulse survey, the perks, the office environment, the social aspects, and the health and wellbeing activities. While these aspects are certainly noticed by employees and in many cases highly valued, they are still not the sum of employee experience. It is highly unliklely that employees see these things in isolation.

Employee Experience needs to be at a personal level

For our people, it all boils down to the personal level. Whether we are aware of it or not, we often ask ourselves questions to determine how valued we feel. And this is shown most powerfully and effectively through company management embodying a better and more heartfelt human-centered connection. We may ask ourselves ‘how am I treated?’ ‘how well am I managed’, ‘how frequently do I receive constructive feedback’, ‘how frequently do we speak about my career, aspirations, strengths, development gaps and ultimately my performance?’. Each of these moments are crucial to shaping the employee experience, and thus their sense of connection within the performance management process in the first place. They are no doubt the defining impact moments of the year and are more likely the ones that will truly be remembered by employees.

These moments are most memorable simply because they were what had the highest impact on their experience.

Employee experience matters in Performance Management Practices

It is hard to argue against the reality that performance management practices impact how an employee feels. So why do we try to separate the two philosophically, and in practice? And how do we really marry these two seemingly antagonistic concepts? If we are to truly consider our employees’ experience, then making every one of these moments truly count in must be a priority. Questions like “how often do I receive feedback”, “how do I learn more about myself?”, “what does my journey of self-discovery look like in showing me what my real strengths and development needs are?” are a pivotal part of the litmus tests an employee will use to assess their experience. They will be looking to a company to find the answers to those questions.

High touch impacts employee experience in performance management. Weaving high touch moments into your company’s performance management processes has the power to dramatically transform every employee’s experience. Whilst also to build collaboration, genuine engagement and drive a true sense of purpose within the company. Not only will the end goal itself become clearer, but employees will also have a greater sense of motivation. Knowing the organisation also cares about their welfare and growth. So  perhaps now is time to think about how you can make the two concepts work in tandem and see the power their marriage produces.

Designed ensure you have a performance management platform that optimises the employee experience with Our Tandem. Integrating with core ERP systems and Outlook 365, Our Tandem is a seamless experience that puts the user first. Our onboarding program is straightforward, and you’ll get all the support you need throughout the implementation journey. So are you ready to reboot your performance management strategy? Get in touch today to book a demo today.

Do you feel it’s time to change things up with how you handle performance management? With the traditional work environment rapidly developing, it’s important to be dynamic when it comes to how we manage people. As the work situation has transformed – particularly since the events of 2020 – businesses have been forced to adapt in all departments.

It seems that while some managers embrace these changes, others are reluctant to acknowledge a need for the modernisation of HR practices. We’ve all come across managers who are reluctant to move out of their comfort zone. But those who stick with traditional methods (because that’s what they’re familiar with) may be unknowingly holding employees back from reaching their full potential.

In a recent episode of Our Tandem Talks, we spoke with thought leader Tamra Chandler. Tamra shared her insight on managing people in an ever-evolving work environment. During this webinar, we wanted to address the key factors holding people back from changing their performance management – so we asked our audience. Our poll pointed to the following three issues being the most prominent:

  • A lack of executive support.
  • A lack of manager trust.
  • The debate for rewards without ratings.

Now, let’s look at these reasons in further detail: 

Lack of executive support

A common reason holding people back from changing their Performance Management is a lack of executive support. Uprooting a familiar system will more than likely require some level of investment. Leaders may not always see the true value in undertaking a project of this scale. While there are obvious benefits to making changes, it can be difficult to nudge them forward.

This is one reason why there needs to be more open dialogue around introducing new ways of doing things. If you want to see real progress within your business, it should be an environment where new ideas are given space to grow. People should feel comfortable broaching the subject of rolling out new practices. We shouldn’t be left assuming that managers are generally unwilling to try new things. That way people don’t fear approaching managers with ideas. These days, embracing innovation can be a crucial factor in the long-term development of a business.

Manager trust

HR needs to take action to ensure that people feel confident in their managers. It’s not just about putting managers on leadership training anymore. Managers need to act as a coach, giving the right tips and advice at the right time.

People need to trust in their managers and it’s important that they feel like their managers are accessible. Managers should focus on laying the groundwork for openness and honesty in feedback practices. For instance, Our Tandem can provide tools to easily check-in with employees. There’s even a dashboard where you can conveniently view any feedback an employee has been given from other colleagues. This is the kind of modernisation that allows for greater manager trust.

Rewards without ratings

Traditionally, ratings have been used to assess employee performance however the audience results at our recent webinar show many would like to reward without ratings, and that there is great understanding that a people-orientated approach could be just the thing needed to drive ambition in employees. Albeit ratings are still a common and crucial factor in many organisations’ performance management strategies, here are some alternative methods of evaluating performance:

  • Regular performance check-ins that ensure moments of accountability. Often these check-ins can still draw a line in the sand about how you’re performing, without the conclusion of a rating.
  • Express approval and gratitude when it’s due. Encourage employees at all levels to speak up when they believe someone deserves it. People want to be recognised for their hard work and when they are, it drives them to do better.
  • Change the way you think about feedback. Don’t just deliver feedback, make it so that you request feedback too. Substantial and honest feedback from employees can be extremely beneficial from a management perspective. Request feedback frequently so that you can keep improving and moving forward.
  • Drive a ‘lighter styled’ rating if you still want some form of clear tracking. We see a softening of the language in rating systems and fewer ratings, designed to informalise the review, in favour of a more human-centric approach.

The importance of implementing changes in performance management

As you can see, there are countless benefits of re-evaluating how well your current system is really working. It’s important to make sure your performance management is modernised for the hybrid workplace we face into. Our lives have been somewhat upended, both in a work context and within our personal lives. The need to reboot performance management is more prominent than ever. We need to have a means of checking in with people, we need a means of managing performance that nurtures people’s talents. It’s important at times like these, that people feel comfortable to open up – particularly in situations where feedback is involved.

By modernising your methods, you can ensure that employees prosper at work. Our Tandem provides a means of doing just that. We’re here to help you develop and change your workplace culture with the aim of improving performance. We’re offering a new performance management framework and complimentary technology that allows for a sustained approach to feedback.

Our Tandem has been designed to sit naturally in the flow of your work, integrating with core HR systems, Microsoft Outlook and your ERP systems. Our onboarding program is straightforward, and you’ll get all the support you need throughout the implementation journey. So are you ready to reboot your performance management strategy? Get in touch today to book a demo today.

As one of Europe’s most dynamic young business schools, Dublin City University (DCU) Business School places innovation at the heart of learning. John McMackin, Assistant Professor with the Work, Psychology and Strategy Group at DCU Business School, and Chair of the School’s MSc in Talent, Leadership, and HR Strategy programme shares how Our Tandem helps to enhance Executive MBA students’ development journey of self-awareness.

Why Our Tandem – Summary

  • Structured Support – Our Tandem is the enabler for change, giving students the toolkit to focus on their development and personal journey.
  • Detailed analytical reports – understanding the importance of data, Our Tandem allows the DCU Executive MBA team to have a single view of their cohort, providing an understandable, clear analysis of the students’ survey results.
  • Ongoing development and partnership approach – caring about the students’ ongoing development, Our Tandem has a unique partnership approach that ensures success.
  • Partnership with WorkMatters – Our Tandem’s partnership with WorkMatters meant the surveys included a personal agility framework and assessment tool which guided the development journey. As well as dealing with the subject of strategic and organisational agility as part of the MBA programme, this approach enabled the DCU Executive MBA team to establish, in parallel, an exploration of the capabilities that individuals need to be personally agile – a good fit for work and career environment.

The Business Case – Overview

 The DCU Executive MBA teaching team was looking for a way to give Executive MBA students structured support and help them to develop an understanding of their personal development and growth whilst on the course and beyond.

  • They needed a solution that is so user-friendly, the students need no instruction on how to use it. Our Tandem empowers them to conduct their 360 processes and provides them with a framework for guidance.
  • Required the generation of detailed reports for students to gauge their self-assessment of soft skills so they could use them as a proof point with their organisations.

The Business Case – Detailed

The DCU Executive MBA Programme is a two-year course that aims to help students develop an understanding of the range of foundation disciplines and their potential contribution to business leadership and organisational effectiveness. The programme also focuses specifically on the key strategic drivers of sustainable growth and operational excellence. DCU were in search of a provider who could provide a solution for them to effectively measure their Executive MBA students’ development of soft skills (such as their growth mindset). This was with the aim of providing unrivalled support on their personal journey, by setting short- and long-term development goals and facilitating the students with a platform to manage their development. When the students write their final 10,000-word development journey at the end of the course, Our Tandem provides them with a record of their assessment and progression.

The Executive MBA programme works towards four value pillars – Inspiring Future Leaders, Transforming Organisations, Engaging the Enterprise, and Influencing Business in Society. DCU chose Our Tandem to use 360 surveys to assess their development against the four pillars, to ensure the students could finish the course with a clear picture of their future leadership style, how they can transfer the new skills learned to transform their organisations, and how they can impact the future society.

“Our Tandem came along and had exactly the solution we needed. With their ability to support the conduct of the 360 process, generation of detailed reports and their true consideration for ongoing development of our students” – John McMackin, DCU.

The 360 survey is used to develop self-awareness of the student’s own personal and leadership agility, deepening their emotional intelligence and enhancing their leadership behaviours. As a core element of the programme is based around emotional intelligence and self-awareness, DCU wanted to enhance the understanding of these soft skills to carry into the future of their work.

John commented: “Prior to working with Our Tandem, the students were left to conduct their self-assessment and development journey themselves. They would be encouraged to use questions on a questionnaire, recording their answers on an excel spreadsheet, but the Our Tandem platform now enables us to provide structured support in the strongest sense.”

Our Tandem also has a strong link with WorkMatters, founded by People and Leadership Consultant and Coach, Kevin Empey. WorkMatters works to help establishments and leaders with their future of work strategies and organisational agility. WorkMatters worked alongside DCU and Our Tandem to develop the content for the 360 surveys using their personal agility framework and assessment tool – a fine example of their unique partnership approach. WorkMatters have identified the research-based capabilities individuals need to be personally agile, a key capability that is also important for the changing future of the work environment.  The Tandem system was then easily configured to accommodate the assessment tool and 360 processes on their platform.

Our Tandem is therefore empowering students to develop a deeper understanding of their agility skillset and their potential contribution to future business leadership and organisational effectiveness.

To find out more about the Executive MBA at DCU, visit https://business.dcu.ie/course/executive-mba/, or book a demo with Our Tandem to learn more about how we can help your organisation.

Performance management objectives vary from business to business. There are, however, certain goals that are present in almost any performance management strategy. The three most common performance management goals are; developing people so that they can reach their full potential, rewarding people for their contributions, and driving overall organisational performance. 

But what do these goals all have in common? 

They all involve increasing employee engagement and motivation, giving employees a desire to meet larger organisational goals. By focusing on helping develop employees, aligning organisational goals, and providing rewards, managers can provide meaningful and relevant support.

The three most common goals of performance management:

Developing people

Performance management gives us a vehicle whereby we can identify the training and development needs of employees. We can use performance management to engage people and figure out what support they need in order to progress. It gives you an opportunity to share and receive feedback so that you can streamline processes and make the work-environment a place where employees can grow.

A key factor in performance management is evaluating people’s progress. Performance management is a tool that enables managers to keep pushing employee development. It’s a vital component in the establishment of clear goals and it’s a means of offering useful and consistent feedback. This provides a basis to help people succeed. 

Rewarding people

Performance management allows us to reward and acknowledge people’s efforts. Many employees thrive in performance based environments and so rewards become a key motivator. An effective reward system can really inspire reward-driven individuals. When implemented to a high standard, reward systems can contribute towards enhanced productivity and a high standard of work.

Driving organisational performance

When business, individual and team goals are aligned, we can drive organisational performance as a whole. A well structured performance management system will contribute to overall organisational goals through the individual management of people within that organisation. 

The performance management process allows us to set goals with individuals and measure their success with achieving these goals. Any shortcomings can then be met with feedback, allowing the employee to get back on track. When people’s performance is properly managed, they’re given the advice, space and tools they need to reach goals. The accomplishment of these smaller goals supports the accomplishment of larger organisational goals.

Transforming your workplace culture with performance management

Without a performance review system in place, we would struggle to clearly define roles and goals within our organisation. Employees might not be aware of their weaknesses or more importantly, their strengths. We wouldn’t have a basis for providing feedback and offering support where needed. We wouldn’t have a means of rewarding positive behavior. A performance review system makes it easy for managers to effectively lead employees in the right direction. We can use performance management to transform our workplace culture with improved communication between managers and their people.

Our Tandem offers a performance management solution that can help you efficiently and effectively manage your people. Our system has new tools and solutions to help shape a workplace culture that allows employees to thrive. It not only enables a more efficient way of managing performance but it gives employees a voice in your organsiation through an open and ongoing feedback process. Book your demo today and find out what Our Tandem can do for you.

It’s astonishing how feedback – good or bad – can have such an extreme effect on us. Positive feedback has the ability to lift us up and steer us in the direction of success. While negative feedback can result in a loss of hope or traction with achieving our goals. In some extreme cases, a bad experience with receiving feedback can trigger feelings of self-doubt. These feelings can linger for years, even for the duration of an individual’s entire career.

That’s why it’s so important that we make sure our feedback practices are more than adequate for employees. Feedback shouldn’t be something that’s feared. It should be welcomed, seen as an opportunity to get valuable advice and coaching from experienced leaders.

For some, feedback is heavily associated with criticism and negative experiences. But how can we change the feedback process to make it less intimidating?

Why honesty is the best policy when it comes to feedback

Typically, the traditional feedback process consists of a manager assessing and delivering a performance review. This traditional method is very much one-sided. One person speaks and the other sits there and listens. The problem here lies within how feedback is delivered. A healthy feedback process should involve a two-way stream of communication. 

If there are issues with an individual’s performance, they shouldn’t be made to feel like a child who has misbehaved at school. The relationship between management and employees should be ‘coaching focused. You see, a coach is an experienced person who provides support and guidance for an individual. This support is in place to help the individual achieve a specific professional goal. A coach is someone who is helpful, someone you can trust. 

How to improve the feedback process with specific goal setting

In a ‘coaching focused feedback situation, the person being coached feels comfortable being transparent. When employees open up about their goals, their struggles, and their experiences, it becomes easier to offer them the right advice to help them progress. When you provide feedback, prioritise engaging this person in an ongoing conversation around their career. Help them set clearly defined goals. Let them know what work should be prioritised and what they should be focusing on. When discussing their progress in relation to reaching these goals, say what needs to be said in an encouraging and positive light.

Setting clearly defined goals can play a crucial role in our progress at work. When this becomes a part of the ongoing feedback conversation, there is no confusion over what we should be working towards. Everyone should be on the same page with short-term goals and overall organisational goals. That way, there’s no confusion around priorities. 

Goal-setting, when done right, can improve psychological safety and wellbeing. When you think about it, it’s easy to see how having a clear goal in mind can help drive an employee to succeed. When we’re given a specific and measurable goal, we can plan for how best to achieve it. A goal can give us a desire to achieve the end result. What’s more, when feedback relates directly to a goal, it’s easier to discuss the employees progress with achieving this goal. 

Taking the first steps towards open feedback 

The methods of providing feedback that many of us are familiar with are somewhat outdated. It’s time to move away from practices that can lead to an employee feeling isolated or worried. It’s your chance to make positive changes and provide employees with the tools, resources, and support they need to achieve goals. 

Remember that a negative experience with feedback can have a severe impact on our mental state and that in turn can impact our performance at work. When an employee is given a supportive place to progress, they can do truly great things for the companies they work for. 

Openness and honesty are vital aspects of a positive coaching relationship. Embrace an open dialogue, really listen to what people have to say. The benefits of receiving feedback can be just as useful as giving it. Let people feel as though they’re in a safe environment and you’ll get to see the very best of their abilities.

Just because you should aim to deliver a positive feedback experience doesn’t mean all feedback must be ‘positive’. You shouldn’t shy away from giving advice where there are obvious shortcomings. Feedback doesn’t have to be positive, negative or constructive, it just needs to be helpful, relevant, and delivered in a way that is enjoyable for the employee. 

A better feedback experience with Our Tandem

Our Tandem gives managers the tools they need to deliver feedback in a way that is convenient for them and their team. By allowing for a constant stream of conversation, it reassures team members that their leaders are accessible. You see, feedback is delivered frequently over time with Our Tandem. This means that it doesn’t have to be condensed into one performance review meeting. Our Tandem also includes coaching tips for the manager when doing a check-in, helping them to guide a constructive and meaningful conversation. When employees no longer have to anxiously anticipate a performance review meeting, they can focus on what really matters. Get in touch with Our Tandem today to book your free demo.

Click here to watch the testimonial.

We spoke to Maeve McEnri, Human Resources Director at KBC Bank, an Our Tandem client. In the video, Maeve speaks about her experience with Our Tandem, the impact it has had on the business, the features and benefits they use, and more. View the video here: https://hr.ourtandem.com/kbc-client-testimonial

Here are a few highlights:

  • Why Our Tandem?

    “The reason why it was very easy for me to choose Our Tandem over competitors, was because the whole look and feel of the user experience was very much trying to copy the digital employee experience I was trying to bring in. So having both the desktop and the app was an important feature for us. Also, the fact that we could link the feedback to our values which was very important as we were undergoing a cultural transformation and generally just the ease of use and the versatility of the system was very attractive.”

  • Impact of Our Tandem

    “The impact of Our Tandem on our employee engagement has been very noticeable, very quickly. First simple one, is employees were wanting more feedback, so we made it very easy for them to give and receive it. During COVID I actually found It very useful as it was a way for us as managers to really see what kind of feedback was going around and we were able to stay somewhat connected, even in a very disconnected world. And finally, the other area is cross-functional feedback where we are really beginning to see this grow organically now, and that was very important for us so that we really embedded that collaborative working culture.”

  • Features and Benefits

    “There’s a few features we’ve really benefited from, one is the ease of use, clearly because it is very easy to give feedback, but because of that, we’ve now launched our Continuous Performance Management, using all our goal-setting, using the check-ins, all of that is now part of our ongoing Continuous Performance Management. Because employees really enjoyed the feedback feature that we first introduced, they’re really embracing the Continuous Performance Management and being able to link some of the feedback to the goals as well as being able to show their progress against the goals and it’s very visual. And the final point is managers like the coaching report, they like to be able to see what their employees are facing so they can really help them to develop and grow further.”
    “One of the features we’ve really benefited from is the ease of use of the Continuous Performance Management, so we use all the goal-setting, we use the feedback, we use the progress you are against the goals, and because employees had enjoyed the feedback feature, they’ve really embraced the Continuous Performance Management and the whole ethos around that.”

  • Biggest changes at KBC

    “Some of the biggest changes we’ve seen from using Our Tandem is we’ve made it so easy to give and receive feedback that, to be honest, nobody can hide. But, it’s meaning that people are embracing the whole idea of feedback more. And because of that, we are beginning to build the culture of continuous performance management, that it’s not just in the mid-rear view and the end-rear view – there’s less fear around it, there’s more understanding, that with the check-ins, that the organisation can really see how people are progressing and it just adds into that whole agile way of working, that you may set something at the beginning of the year, but, a COVID pandemic hits and all of a sudden some of your goals might need to change. The whole Our Tandem let’s us have that kind of agility and versatility and continuous conversation with managers and employees.”

  • What benefits do you get in HR?

    “Some of the benefits, we in HR are getting from this, is we are really bringing continuous performance management into the mainstream of people’s day today. They’re no longer seeing it as just an HR process, but they’re actually understanding how it benefits them or their teams. But another very strong role with senior leaders is the level of data analytics that we can bring to the table. I’m in banking, data is a very important part of banking and we are now able to show that the HR profession is also bringing a lot of analytics that is able to aid management in both understanding what’s going on in the organisation and applying our limited resources into the right places.”

  • How do you see using Our Tandem in the future?

    “Our Tandem is a very important part of our future. We’re relatively early on our journey so far, but it is a very important part of our future. We’re focusing a lot on leadership and management capability and we’re going to work with Our Tandem in relation to how we can use both the information we have from a data-analytics perspective in seeing how we can grow or develop certain people further. I’d like in time to look at 360s and to use some of the pulse surveys a bit more. So all of that in combo, we were very careful not to introduce too many new features too soon, because then we would have drowned the organisation. But we’ve really got the organisation to embrace Our Tandem and they’ll be very happy when we introduce more and more of the functionality.”

Today is International Women’s Day, a day for celebrating the achievements of women, raising awareness against bias, and taking action for equality. 

Seeing as Our Tandem is a female-founded business – founded by two working mums no less – we understand the importance of celebrating women. Co-founders Aisling Teillard and Clare Bonham are two women who are using their talents, combined with years of experience in the field of HR to bring you a performance management system with a difference. Our Tandem is an employee experience technology platform that has the ambitious goal of changing the working lives of thousands of workers worldwide. By creating cultures that inspire potential. 

In light of this year’s International Women’s Day, we sat down with the CEO of Our Tandem, Aisling Teillard to discuss her experience as a female entrepreneur.  

Over the years, Aisling’s career has presented her with many opportunities to mentor women independently and in corporate life. This has led Aisling to support women by helping them find their strengths and build up their self-confidence, enabling them to excel in their careers. Aisling knows better than anyone that believing in your own power is a big factor in the success of a business. For this reason, she is often invited to speak and encourage other women to take action with their entrepreneurial pursuits. This led to Aisling becoming a keynote speaker for Visionary Voices, an organisation focused on women and non-binary individuals who are underrepresented in conversations about tech and venture capital. 

Tackling gender inequality in tech 

It’s no secret that women in tech are largely outnumbered with 1 in 5 tech speakers being male. Aisling wanted to be a speaker in this forum to demonstrate her dedication to the cause of making tech industries a fairer place for a woman to thrive. This led to her involvement in several different forums to support other female entrepeneurs. One of those is Female Fforte, an active peer group for female founders to share advice, support each other with challenges and more importantly, celebrate their successes.  

The tech landscape is changing and it’s more apparent than ever that women deserve their seat at the table. There’s a gender representation issue in tech and now is as good a time as any to make a change. We need to aim for greater equality for the talented women out there who are taking on a highly competitive and challenging work environment. It’s time we give all of the spectacular female entrepreneurs out there the recognition they deserve. 

Here’s what Aisling had to say about her involvement in the industry… 

As a female-founded company, what are your core values, and how has that come through and changed as the company has grown? 

Our core value was the belief in the potential of people to do great things. When given the opportunity and we built that in as the core philosophy of the product from day one. That hasn’t really changed, if anything it’s just grown even stronger over time.  

What would be your main advice to another female entrepreneur? 

Don’t do it! Just kidding. I think the best advice is to surround yourself with other female entrepreneurs. It is a particular kind of journey and the female experience in start-ups is unique. So you often find other women who understand that experience and can relate. Women lift each other up and there is great camaraderie among female entrepreneurs.  

Are you part of any programmes to mentor other female entrepreneurs? 

Yes, I work with Launchbox in Trinity College Dublin and mentor a female entrepreneur. It’s great to be able to pass on advice, you realise how much you’ve learned! It’s super to see her business and capability grow over time.  

What are the female traits that you believe help you in your job role? 

I think women have great empathy. It comes naturally, and empathy is something that translates into sales, client relationships and many other aspects of managing a business.  

Who are the leaders/CEOs that inspire you? 

I admire too many to mention. But those women who are truly authentic to who they are and it’s a source of differentiation in their business are particularly inspiring. Women like Trinny Woodall, Serena Williams, and a bit closer to home Niamh Sterling, Patricia Scanlon, and Sonia Deasy are all great sources of inspiration. All smart, ambitious, capable women who are truly authentic to themselves.  

How does Our Tandem’s offering help women in the workplace? 

There’s a lot of research that demonstrates how women come out badly from traditional performance management practices. For example, women will often rate themselves more modestly than their male counterparts. This results in lower ratings for women and consequently, lower salary raises. It’s one of the issues that can fuel the gender pay gap. Our Tandem provides a new way of addressing performance management that reshapes how we manage our people. It drives an inclusive strategy that ensures everyone can rise to their personal best. It also focuses on accelerating their growth and performance.   

Throughout my career in HR, I got the opportunity to design and implement a variety of performance management solutions. I even studied performance management in a research master’s, a true performance management obsessive! So, I couldn’t be prouder that we’ve built a solution that defines the future of performance management but leaves nobody behind. I like to think of it as a bridge to help companies move from traditional performance management practices to engaging performance practices, fit for the future. 

Positive changes ahead for female entrepreneurs  

We need to make room for a new generation of female leaders but with 48% of women in STEM jobs reporting discrimination in the recruitment and hiring process, HR have a big part to play.  

Women are currently underrepresented in engineering (14%), computer (25%), and physical science (39%) occupations. This has sparked a worldwide conversation around these inequalities. There’s now more emphasis being placed on hiring and promoting women in entry-level or managerial positions.  

The Our Tandem platform has helped many women to progress in their own HR careers. With several customers being women, the platform has enabled them to build a career off the back of an Our Tandem implementation. By researching Our Tandem, these women have created a compelling business case to present to their superiors. Then, with guidance and support from Our Tandem and Aisling, they have successfully executed the introduction of the Our Tandem software to their business. Many of these women have reached out with news of promotion following the implementation. Aisling doesn’t just open doors for other founders, but she plays a fundamental role in giving her clients the chance to become innovators themselves. 

There are so many talented and hardworking women out there. And it’s vital that businesses prioritise nourishing their confidence in the workplace and in their own abilities.  

Taking the necessary steps towards success may be intimidating for women. But there are many benefits that come with being a female entrepreneur. Yes, it takes bravery, confidence, and talent to succeed but the support of the amazing female entrepreneur community is just as important. These women are making the tech industry a supportive place for female entrepreneurs to triumph and achieve their dreams. 

Our Tandem’s Commitment

Our Tandem is committed to improving the working lives of employees around the world. As a result, giving them a platform to grow, develop and contribute to their own development. And will strive to support female entrepreneurs and leaders to thrive with every opportunity. This International Women’s Day is a day to put the spotlight on women, their achievements and their pote

When reviewing or debating whether to roll out Continuous Performance Management, a frequent topic is the mid and/or end of year review. The new trends and research on performance processes lead to further discussions on whether to rate employees. Or whether to implement three- or five-point rating scale, continuing calibration and the frequency of performance conversations (check-ins). There is an integral part of performance transformation that has been left outgoal management and goal setting. 

A common frustration of the performance review process is that goals are usually only reviewed at the end of the year. And not necessarily because of a focus on goals progress and achievement as the right thing to do. As it’s a measure of our business success. Instead, we are often focused on goal achievement purely through the lens to provide a performance rating. So, we follow the process. This leads us to consider whether we are prioritising the process over its purpose. 

Does the process often overtake the purpose? 

During episode four of #OurTandemTalks, Clare Bonham, CTO of Our Tandem, shared a story from early in her careerDespite performing exceptionally and achieving her goals, but, due to the calibration curve, she did not receive an ‘exceptional’ performance score. Clare was told ‘not to worry, it’s just the process and the budget, we know that you deliver’. This application of the process for an outcome of a performance rating leads employees to have a very cynical view of the true purpose of goal setting. We focus a lot on getting the process right and less about making sure the purpose of goal setting accomplishes the result it was set to achieve. As HR professionals, it is understood that the goal-setting process can have a significant impact on our culture and on employee motivation. 

The famous and widely referenced case study from Deloitte found there is an estimated two million hours a year spent on performance management. It is concerning that after two million hours, HR professionals still didn’t have a better understanding of whether the goal process is right. They still ask the same questions: 

  1. Did we set the right goals? 
  1. Why didn’t we achieve the goals that we set?
  1. How can we improve in terms of goal setting for the next year? 

A deadline is helpful and there is certainly a need for this. But giving a ‘goals window’ forces the transactional nature of goal setting. You might have a piece of work to deliver and you receive the ‘final day reminder’ email submitting your goals. Goal setting then becomes an inconvenient task that must be completedSetting goal can then be rushed and become detached from your work, instead of aligned to it.  

How can we reinstall focus on the purpose in a fast pace environment? 

If only there was one simple solution. As every culture and organisation is unique, there are an array of solutions. An idea from Our Tandem is to separate the processes that have different purposes starting with differentiating the performance assessment – assuming your process includes the goal review. One of the ways this can be done is by increasing the frequency of goal review conversations without managers providing the performance rating. These are distinct processes with distinct purposes. The ongoing goal conversations with employees help them stay on track of their top priorities.  

Continuous Performance Management brings copious amounts of benefits to the business, and especially the employee experience. However, it may sound exhausting for the employee to have your performance continuously monitored. De-coupling performance ratings and goals allow for moments in the CPM model that are purely focused on your goalsThis can be done by modifying the way we communicate the difference between a performance conversation and a genuine interest in how the work is going. Helping the employee to understand the alignment with their goals and the work they do. Shifting greater focus on goal setting in the performance procesis the secret to a high performing employee culture.  

For decades, employee engagement was the key to a happy productive workforce, but what are the ways that you can empower your employees? In the last decade, employee experience stepped onto the stage. Both concepts are united by comparing your organisation to others (Benchmarking) and learning what others are doing and imitating them (Best Practice). And there are numerous studies that show the positive effects of both.  

Since we love new concepts in HR, we want to share the secret sauce that will deliver the employee engagement scores and create the memorable employee experience you desire for your organisation. You can create your aspirational culture and drive business performance through employee empowerment by asking yourself these questions: 

  • Do your employees feel confident in their abilities?  
  • Are they encouraged to do their best work? 
  • Do they feel motivated to develop and reach their potential?  

If you answered No to any of the questions here are five ways you can empower your employees in 2021: 


People are motivated to perform their best when they understand how their role helps to achieve the organisation’s why. Every organisation knows what they do and some know how they do it. But, very few organisations know why they do what they do. Great leaders can inspire everyone to take action by starting with why.1 


It is common for employees to feel more valued when they know what is going on in their team, department, and organisation. When you share what is going on you build an inclusive environment where they begin to feel like owners. If you can get them to feel like owners and they begin to think and act as such they will do their best work if they haven’t already.  


Humans feel most encouraged when they feel seen, heard, and cared aboutThe surest way to create these feelings is building authentic connections with each other. Whether you are still working in a physical office or working at home don’t overthink it. Find ways to connect with each other to show our concerns are heard and someone cares about our wellbeing 


Good leaders acknowledge great work and instill confidence in their people. Challenging them with additional responsibility is an opportunity for them to take on new challenges and learn new skillsGuiding them to success shows you are invested in their growth and development, you value them, and they can feel more confident about their capabilities.  


Teaching everyone they have something to offer and can make each other better is part of an empowered culture. They can all learn how satisfying and rewarding it is to help others becoming indispensable to the team and organisation. It also lets them know you’re confident in their abilities and creates bonds in the team through shared experiences.  


Go back to Our Tandem’s Resources page to read more content.


1Sinek, S. (2009, September 29). Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action?language=en 

January has arrived again, and for those of us in HR the goal setting cycle begins renewed once more. It’s time to cajole, tell, demand that everyone in the business set their goals. When ‘goal setting’ is mentioned, does your heart fill with dread?

Now, of course, not everyone is reluctant about this particular process.  The CEO and Management teams are generally very clear on what needs to be done to make 2021 a successful year. But as this process feeds through our organisations, that vigour and direction is often much less, if not lost.

Why does such a chasm exist between the direction of our business and the way we set goals? And, dare we mention “the new COVID world” that has dispersed our workforces? Can we really afford for the chasm to remain?

As 2021 takes off we need to refrain from putting all our energy into the “Goal Setting” windows and deadlines for goal creation. The conversation with our people has to be, “do you understand the purpose of your work this year and how your day to day shapes the delivery of our organisational purpose and delivery?”

The approach to how we set the goals and where we set them; OKRs, SMART, Agile, FAST shouldn’t matter half so much if people see how their work contributes to the overall business purpose.

Process without purpose creates resentment and fatigue.

As 2021 kicks off we have a natural opportunity to reengage our people with purpose. It shouldn’t be a drag on your business in 2021; it’s the fuel for your growth.

Get Inspired!

Book a Demo