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5 performance management techniques you can elevate with a Totara platform

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Successful performance management practices are built on a foundation of continuous feedback and open communication. Key areas of focus include job performance, opportunities for improvement, notable achievements, and identifying any goals and objectives that employees must work towards. As 98% of organisations believe performance management is necessary, many are experimenting with a variety of effective performance management techniques and exploring ways to further elevate them with new technologies. In this blog, we’ll explore some of these techniques and how to maximise their effectiveness with a Totara platform.

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1. One to ones and appraisals

Traditionally, performance management consisted of infrequent and outdated appraisals, often delivered only once a year. Today, with 76% of workers preferring to have feedback about their performance at least every month, modern-day performance management techniques such as weekly one-to-ones and monthly appraisals have become popular.

When organisations schedule weekly or monthly one-to-one sessions between managers and employees, they provide both parties with the opportunity to reflect on recent performance, raise any queries, address any issues and create new objectives and goals for the following week(s). However, to ensure these sessions have real value, they need to be well-structured and data-driven, providing evidence of what has or hasn’t been achieved since the last session.

Totara Performance Review

With Totara Perform, Totara’s powerful performance management system, admins or managers can create performance activities which can provide structure for appraisals and one-to-ones. Activities can be made up of question types such as text-based questions and answers or customisable rating scales, allowing both employees and managers to provide feedback in a structured and quantifiable format. Totara Perform also allows admins to set the frequency of the activities and send out automated notifications of upcoming performance review deadlines, ensuring employees and managers stay on track with activities.

What is a performance management system? Read our ultimate guide here.

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2. Objective setting

Motivating employees to continuously grow and improve can only be achieved if they have something to work towards, so an essential performance management technique within any organisation is objective setting. This is simply the process of creating objectives or goals and setting out a plan designed to help employees achieve them. These objectives may be role-based, L&D-focused, behavioural goals, or driven by specific tasks, and all of these will need to align with the overarching company goals and objectives.

While objective setting is common practice within any organisation, the execution of this performance management technique is often inadequate - especially when delivered offline. However, with Totara users can create quantitative and qualitative company goals using the platform's goal management functionality. Goals in Totara can be set at a team or individual level with a variety of available types of goals and goal frameworks. Users can also use ‘goal scales’ which can determine the criteria by which a goal is measured, such as ‘Not started, ‘Started’, ‘In progress’ and ‘Complete’. Using e-learning technology to create and monitor objective-based activities will serve as valuable and quantifiable evidence of employee progress, which is far more effective than any offline objective-setting practices.

Want your employees to grow? Discover the best way to deliver an effective L&D strategy here.



3. Personal development plans (PDPs)

Perhaps the most thorough performance management technique, personal development plans (PDPs) are structured frameworks designed to outline any areas where employees can make improvements and how they can go about doing so. Much like the process of objective setting, managers and employees identify any long-term goals and role-based objectives but PDPs take this one step further by mapping out the process of achieving these goals and setting clear markers for identifying employee progression.

The most effective way to maximise the potential of a PDP is to use an all-in-one talent experience platform such as Totara’s TXP. With a platform such as a TXP, each component of the PDP can be successfully managed and monitored from the beginning and beyond by using its powerful talent management functionality.

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With powerful reporting tools and assessment features, managers can design a PDP by first identifying any skills gaps. Once these skills gaps have been identified, managers can create competency frameworks. With features such as dashboards displaying percentage bars, employees benefit from having full visibility of their progress without the need to check in with managers outside of scheduled one-to-one sessions. Users can also create and distribute badges and online certificates within the platform; these not only serve as clear markers for employee progression and achievements but also boost motivation and engagement levels.

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Want to know more about how to create a PDP with Totara’s TXP? Read our full breakdown here.


4. Cross-functional training and workshops

One of the lesser-known performance management techniques is cross-functional training. The purpose of cross-functional training is to allow employees to learn skills and knowledge that aren’t necessarily required for their current position. One of the ways to deliver cross-functional training is to hold workshops where employees can come together with members of various departments and carry out activities such as brainstorming sessions, demonstrations, talks and Q&A sessions.

Using Totara’s seminar functionality, admins can create, manage, and report on face-to-face training sessions such as cross-functional workshops. Users can easily see when and where an upcoming session is using the platform and register for the session. Admins can see who has or hasn’t signed up for events and send out notifications to remind users of upcoming events.

performance review techniques cross functional

With the Totara Engage learning experience platform (LXP), users can engage in online cross-functional training by using features such as forums, discussion boards, and user-generated content creation tools. With these features, employees can engage in continuous cross-functional training activities in an environment where conversations are recorded for future use or content comes directly from SMEs and experienced employees, meaning that training materials are more beneficial as they have been created by the people in that particular job role.

What is a learning experience platform (LXP)? Read our ultimate guide here.


5. 360-degree feedback sessions

When performance reviews and feedback sessions are limited to being carried out between employees and managers, performance management activities can feel one-dimensional. It’s beneficial for organisations to build a broader picture of employee performance by gathering input from other colleagues and managers. 62% of employees said they wish to receive more feedback from their co-workers, which is why 360-degree feedback sessions have increasingly become one of the most popular performance management techniques in recent years.

360-degree feedback gathers input from employees across the entire organisation and asks them to provide insights into the performance of an employee, traditionally by distributing anonymous surveys. These surveys may include questions such as ‘Does this employee work well in a team’ or ‘What could this employee improve on’. Having input from peers helps employees take accountability for any areas that have been flagged such as identifying behaviour patterns, a lack of soft skills proficiency or role-based competencies.

performance review technique 360 degree feedback

With Totara Perform’s 360-degree feedback tool, users can create and distribute forms to relevant parties. These forms can be customised to include a host of question types including multiple choice options or a rating scale to help employees navigate the process of evaluating their fellow peers. Answers will be automatically collated and distributed using Totara’s powerful automation technology, making the entire process much easier for larger companies with multiple employees and departments.


Like the sound of Totara? Improve your performance management practices today by implementing a Totara solution with Hubken.

Having covered just some of the ways Totara can significantly improve your performance management practices with powerful e-learning technology, perhaps you are ready to explore what our Totara solutions can do for your organisation. Whether you’re looking at the Totara Learn LMS, Totara Engage LXP, Totara Perform or the full suite of Totara products in the Totara TXP, our solutions boast the functionality required to elevate your performance management techniques and help you get the best out of your employees. Explore our Totara solutions by visiting our product pages or book a free demo with one of our Totara experts.

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Book your free Totara demo today

Book a demo with one of our e-learning experts and learn first-hand how a Totara solution from Hubken can help you deliver a powerful performance management strategy.

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