Technology has made it possible to reach out to people, regardless of geographical distances. People today use their smartphones not only to simply work, shop, and play, but also to manage their personal life. This includes the way people conduct their interactions in building romantic and non-romantic relationships.
When the Pew Research Center polled Americans in 2005 about online dating, only 44% believed it was a good way to meet people, and the majority said it was a poor substitute for forming connections in the “real” world. Since then, the way people interact, meet, and show affection has evolved tremendously. In fact, when Pew Research Center conducted a follow-up survey ten years later, the proportion of people who thought internet dating was a decent method to meet others had increased to 59%.
The approach of online dating is similar to that of other social media platforms, but it also gives users the opportunity to meet others who share their interests, dislikes, and qualities. This makes online dating applications distinctive as these criteria also increase the likelihood that a user will like the person they meet on a date. Due to this, online dating services saw a rising percentage of people who are forming lasting and meaningful relationships online.
Experiences in online dating
Online dating can be a hit-or-miss proposition. Some people have had great success with online dating, resulting in long-term partnerships. Others have tales of befuddlement and frustration.
According to a poll conducted in 2019 by Pew Research Center, three out of 10 Americans have ever used an online dating site or app, with 11% having done so in the previous year. Some claim these platforms have helped them create meaningful relationships. The study saw that 12% of participants have experienced being married or in a committed relationship with someone they met on a dating site or app.
While most online daters think their experience has been favorable overall, they do point out some of the disadvantages of online dating. Americans who have used a dating site or app in the last year report feeling more frustrated (45%) than hopeful as a result of their previous encounter (28%). Out of those who are active users, 29% think that online dating has made them feel more hopeful, while 35% say it has made them feel pessimistic. Similarly, 32% believe online dating sites or apps have made them feel more confident, while 25% say they have made them feel uneasy.
Advantages of online dating
As with any other method of dating, meeting someone online has both advantages and disadvantages. Finkel et al. (2012), considers three major services that online dating sites offer to understand how online dating varies from traditional offline dating in essential ways. This also considered the circumstances in which online dating produces better romantic consequences than traditional offline dating:
- Access: This refers to the users’ exposure and opportunity to identify potential romantic partners whom they would not otherwise meet. The use of an online dating program is convenient, and the effort of searching matches may be done from any location. It provides users with unprecedented levels of access to potential companions, which is especially beneficial for those who might otherwise lack such access.
- Communication: Online dating applications allow users to use computer-mediated communication (CMC). This helps users interact and garner an initial sense of compatibility with specific potential partners through the dating site before meeting face-to-face. People are more susceptible to sincerely answer questions regarding their purpose of dating to find relationships that will fully correspond to their preferences.
- Matching: Many websites feature an easy-to-use search engine that lets you find matches based on gender, age, hobbies, and aspirations. In an online dating survey, 72% of women said it was extremely essential that the profiles they looked at included information regarding the type of relationship the other party was seeking, compared to around half of males (53%). Women are also more likely to give more significance in finding partners that fit their criteria on religious beliefs (32% vs. 18%), occupation (27% vs. 8%), or height (27% vs. 8%) than men. Other gender disparities are more subtle, such as the relevance of users’ hobbies and interests, their racial or cultural heritage, or political involvement.
Disadvantages of online dating
While there are definite advantages to online dating, there are also some cautions to take. Users should be vigilant in creating relationships with people online as some may have malicious intent. Some of these disadvantages include the following:
- Idealization of the image: An idealistic image of your interlocutor with merits that aren’t inherent in them may appear. If the face-to-face meeting is postponed for a long time, it will be much more difficult to match the created image to a real person later. According to a Pew Research Center survey, women who have used a dating site or app are more likely to find it difficult to find individuals they were physically attracted to (36% vs. 21%) or who liked someone they would like to meet in person (36% vs. 21%). Male users, on the other hand, are more likely than female users to claim that finding people who shared their hobbies and interests was at least somewhat challenging (41% vs. 30%).
- Harassment. While online dating apps or sites provide users with greater convenience in communicating and expressing themselves with potential matches, this is also their drawback – in terms of social communication morale. Based on a survey by Pew Research Center in 2019 of 4,860 U.S. adults, about 37% of online dating users say someone continued to contact them on a dating site or app after they said they were not interested. Out of those, 35% reported that someone sent them an unsolicited sexually explicit message or image, and 28% reported that the other party called them an abusive term after being rejected. These percentages are even greater among younger females; six out of 10 female users aged 18 to 34 said that someone contacted them after they stated they weren’t interested, and 57% say another user sent them unsolicited sexually explicit messages or photographs. At the same time, 44% of respondents stated they’ve been called offensive names on a dating site or app.
- Short-term gratification: Offline encounters appear to be facilitated by location-based structural characteristics of online dating applications (Miles 2017), allowing for a quick fulfillment of users’ requirements (e.g. users seeking sexual encounters or one-night stands are able to find other users within a walking distance). In fact, according to the I-PACE (interaction of person-affect-cognition-execution) model (Brand et al. 2016), short-term gratification on dating apps can cultivate dysfunctional coping styles to deal with unpleasant emotions (e.g. frustration and anger). This also included dysfunctional affective and cognitive responses in relation to dating apps (e.g. craving, urge for mood regulation, and addiction).
- Increased self-objectification: As some people use online dating platforms to fulfill their short-term sexual needs, this objectification of other users has become a concern that may also increase self-objectification (Koval et al. 2019). This has been linked to mental health issues such as clinical symptoms of depression and eating disorders in the past. As a result, more research is needed to look into users’ emotional experiences and how prolonged periods of use may affect wellbeing metrics and clinical mental health symptoms through self-objectification.
When it comes to online dating apps and the separation of dating from the rest of social life, there’s a bit of a causality dilemma. It’s likely that dating apps have built barriers between the search for potential spouses and typical work and community routines. However, it’s also plausible that dating apps are thriving at this point in history because people have stopped looking for potential companions while going about their daily lives at work and in their communities.
Do some managers avoid giving employee feedback because of employees’ reactions or are there any other reasons?
In a 2009 Gallup survey, more than 1,000 US-based employees were sought to qualify the impact of feedback on employees. The results show that managers who focus on the strengths of employees when giving feedback create a solid level of employee engagement.
Accordingly, a manager who gives little or no feedback is not able to engage 98% of the employees. Therefore, to make employees engaged in your future vision, they need to know that their contribution is valued and that they are helping the organization to reach its goals. On the other hand, when managers avoid giving feedback, they make employees feel ignored and unimportant.
Reactions to feedback
Sometimes managers feel uncomfortable providing feedback, especially when it is negative. They often worry that the employee receiving the feedback may react defensively, ignore the message behind the feedback, or blame the manager. Some managers are not skilled to constructively provide feedback, lack confidence, or fear confrontation. They may not have enough experience to give feedback or were never trained to do so.
An employee’s reaction depends on how feedback is presented, one’s readiness, and the ability to adapt to changes. Some employees are not always sure why they are receiving a particular feedback and what the managers want them to do.
An employee may become defensive when feedback sounds like criticism, fault-finding or disciplinary, especially when it is the first time the employee is hearing the information. When employees are confronted about their poor performance, the discussion may trigger feelings of self-doubt, mistrust, and insecurity. A more effective approach is to focus on the desired positive performance rather than highlighting shortcomings.
Feedback is stressful
When managers give feedback, employees are often confused about the manager’s purpose. Sometimes, feedback receivers don’t know how to react because they are not ready to change their behavior. In fact, managers don’t always understand the inability of the subordinate to change so they avoid giving feedback rather than understanding the change process.
In general, managers believe that giving feedback is stressful or difficult because they either don’t have the time to give feedback or they have too many subordinates to be evaluated. On the other hand, managers avoid demotivating employees or want to prevent conflicts. Additionally, managers sometimes believe that employees are responsible for their own development.
Remember that performance and evaluation data are not completely helpful when they are not communicated and interpreted properly between managers and employees. What managers can do to overcome the discomfort of giving feedback is to schedule a feedback routine so that employees will be prepared. Managers can also break the ice with detailed constructive feedback.
Feedback is a gift
Whether you are receiving it or giving it, feedback can be considered as a gift. Feedback should be presented properly and should have something unique and meaningful inside that beautiful package. Here are some things to keep in mind for managers when providing feedback for their employees.
First, employees need feedback to grow and develop. Have short, frequent, and regular one-on-one meetings to find out what is important to your subordinates. Discuss progress and barriers and build trusting relationships.
Second, there are a variety of courses that can help managers improve their skills on performance management. You can sign up for The KPI Institute’s Certified Employee Performance Management professional online training course.
Finally, consider your employee’s success as your own success. Employees who receive feedback are more likely to be successful. It is true that employees are responsible for their own development, but managers can help their subordinates focus on meaningful opportunities based on their needs.
When formalizing and implementing a performance management system (PMS) based on key performance indicators (KPIs), there are multiple activities to be considered and many stakeholders to be engaged in the process. Therefore, you’ll need a project plan to make performance management an ongoing process within your organization.
What matters most is not to have an extra process in place, but to do it right by connecting strategy formulation with strategy implementation and KPI across the organizational levels. The way you will design and implement the PMS based on KPIs will play a huge role in the way it will be perceived by the employees. This is exactly why our approach is based on a combination of analysis and research, workshops and feedback activities.
Zooming out, the proposed project plan includes 14 stages:
- 5 Stages: System Design
- 5 Stages: System Activation
- 4 Stages: Project Management
Zooming in, all 14 stages include major sub activities that indicate how granular this puzzle can be. A real image of efforts and resources engaged.
What are the key elements to ensure that a KPI implementation project plan will be a success story?
The differentiator in creating successful conditions is represented by the employees’ trust in the project. Why? Because change brings fear, and fear must be managed in connection to the implementation of KPIs.
- Fear of becoming replaceable or unnecessary
- Fear of unrealistic (too high) targets
- Fear of extra work
As what I wrote in a previous article, if fears exist, then managers should consider looking for a course, training, or coaching session on how to guide their employees in managing their fears. Another step is to have an organizational message with a system that reinforces the organizational culture and the real intentions and effects of such a project, reassuring everyone that they will not be swept away by it.
Could this project be considered for departmental level only?
The KPI implementation project plan can be applied to the departmental level only. It has advantages and disadvantages Since this KPIs system is not a stand alone, the departmental level will ultimately get connected to the strategic (superior) and individual level (lower).
One advantage of this approach is the system will be founded on a strong understanding of operations and specific processes and developed at departmental (mid) level. Another advantage is increased involvement of employees in developing the system. This can generate a high sense of commitment and engagement based on their contribution.
Meanwhile, the disadvantage of this approach is that starting with the lowest level may not ensure a strategic orientation, and it may be predominantly narrow instead, given the limited understanding of the overall organization’s mid- and long-term commitments.
If you would like to learn more about KPI measurement and KPI implementation, sign up for The KPI Institute’s Certified Professional and Practitioner training course.
How does cascading KPIs to the individual level look like?
Performance management as a practice facilitates the long-term success of an organization, as it brings focus and clearly defines the organization’s identity and strategy, while ensuring resources are allocated towards what matters.
A structured performance management system enables alignment from the organization’s strategic direction towards its departmental key functions and individual priorities.
It ensures that strategic objectives are executed across all units and functions, while establishing relevant KPIs at each level of the entity. The cascading technique addresses the challenge of working in silos and drives cross-functionality and uniformity.
How do we cascade operational strategy to individual level?
Let`s take a look at an example of an HR Department.
First, the same objective can be cascaded to multiple functions, each of them measuring it through different KPIs.
Second, department level objectives and KPIs can be cascaded and aligned at individual level either as they are, with the same or different KPIs:
- Same objectives – same KPIs;
- Same objective – specific KPIs.
Finally, some departmental objectives may not be applicable to cascade to lower levels; however, we can add specific objectives and KPIs based on the targeted employee’s job description.
In terms of the quality of objectives, organizations must focus on developing SMART ones.
The SMART acronym is one of the most used phrases in business. It has its origins in the Goal Setting Theory school of thought and the Management by Objectives concept. The latter was introduced and popularized by Peter Drucker in 1954 through his book “The Practice of Management”. This approach aims to improve organizational performance by clearly setting and defining objectives/ goals agreed by both management and their employees.
Back in 1968, Dr. Edwin Locke published “Toward a theory of task motivation and incentives,” where he investigates the premise that conscious goals affect actions. His research and conclusions lead to four general principles designed to motivate and lead to best performance:
- Goals should be challenging, however attainable.
- Goals should be specific rather than vague
- Employees should be part of the process of setting their own goals
- Goals should be measurable and clearly understood
George T. Doran published a paper in 1981 called: “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives.” Based on his proposal, a SMART objective should meet the following criteria:
- Specific – target a specific area for improvement
- Measurable – quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress
- Assignable – specify who will do it
- Realistic – state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources
- Time-related – specify when the result(s) can be achieved.”
While there are many examples of objectives that are incompletely defined and don’t meet the SMART criteria, in the case of KPIs things are different. By their own nature and definition, KPIs are indicators of performance with the following inherent characteristics:
- Specific – For the objective/ process/ functional area which it addresses;
- Measurable – It has to be a metric, therefore it is required to be quantifiable;
- Assignable – Ownership needs to be assigned to ensure achievement and improvement;
- Realistic – Targets set for the KPIs need to be realistic, taking into consideration available resources, current baselines, benchmarks and market or industry trends;
- Time-bound –Targets must have a predefined time, by which they should be achieved.
Consequently, a KPI shouldn’t even be called KPI if the smart criteria are not met. For this reason, the term SMART KPI is in a way doubling down on the SMART criteria.
Our recommendation is that we should not use the traditional approach to defining SMART objectives, but rather ensure that the objective is clearly formulated and easy to communicate. We will then ensure they are ‘SMART’ once we add the KPIs to our objective.
This involves decomposing the traditional approach to ensure clear linkage between performance management tools, concepts and roles such as KPIs, Targets and KPI Owners, thereby ensuring a clear understanding of the SMART criteria and its direct application in organizational contexts.
To learn how to create a framework for performance, check out The KPI Institute’s Certified KPI Practitioner Live Online training course.
Throughout the years, many studies have examined the use of the balanced scorecard (BSC) in a board’s performance evaluation. Why is this important and how can this be implemented?
The modern business landscape is characterized by fast-changing trends, an expanding weight from the competition, and risks emerging from new trends. This is why a good corporate governance system is what can help companies achieve high business performance despite uncertainties. Having a control mechanism will help managers carry out business activities that can maximize profits for shareholders. Board members represent an important internal control mechanism.
BSC, designed by Robert Kaplan and David Norton, is primarily made of financial and non-financial benchmarks. The BSC model starts from a defined mission, vision, goals, and strategy of the company and identifies specific goals, tasks, benchmarks, and initiatives from four basic causal relationships: financial perspective, stakeholder perspective, internal business process perspective, and learning-growth perspective.
The BSC component in a board’s performance context
In 1996, Kaplan & Norton suggested that the vision and strategy of a company be more specifically defined from four basic, interconnected perspectives:
Later, in 2004, Kaplan & Michael E. Nagel proposed a three-part BSC program:
- Financial Perspective – how to implement a strategy that will maximize profits for equity owners.
- Customer Perspective – how to achieve customer satisfaction and loyalty.
- Internal business process – how to achieve an effective and efficient business process.
- Learning and Growth Perspective – how to gain human capital competitive advantage.
- Enterprise Scorecard – synchronized list of results at company level
- Board Scorecard – synchronized list of Board results
- Executive Scorecard – synchronized list of executors’ scores
Synchronized lists at the company level ensure that top managers, starting from a well-defined company strategy, goals, tasks, benchmarks and initiatives through the four outlined perspectives. This process converts the company’s strategy into operational terms.
It is necessary to build a synchronized list at the board level. That is, the board of directors should evaluate and approve the corporate strategy map and the corporate level’s harmonized list. According to Kaplan and Nagel, a synchronized list at the board level also has four perspectives:
- Financial Perspective – Similar to the company level, the goal is to maximize value for equity owners.
- Stakeholder perspective – This is a broader perspective than at the company level because it is now important to respect the interests of all stakeholders.
- Perspective on internal business processes – This explains how the board contributes to achieving shareholder goals and relates to performance monitoring, reward systems, etc.
- Learning and Growth Perspective – This captures human capital as a source of competitive advantage, related to the specific skills and the knowledge and capabilities of board members.
Application of the BSC to a board’s performance evaluation
According to research published in the Managerial Auditing Journal, studies that have suggested the possibility of using the BSC in evaluating the board performance recognize the financial dimension, the stakeholders’ dimension, the internal processes dimension, and the learning and growth dimension in the BSC.
The framework of the board’s BSC is based on identifying four basic elements in each dimension: the objectives, the performance drivers, the measures, and the targets:
- The objectives reflect the board responsibilities;
- The performance drivers are actions taken by the board to achieve the objectives. Each performance driver should be linked to specific measures and targets;
- The performance measures are used to control the performance drivers and assess whether the board has achieved the goals;
- The targets reflect the best practices of the industry.
Using BSC in a board’s performance evaluation can help define strategic contributions of the board; provide a tool to manage the composition and the performance of the board and its committees; clarify the strategic information required by the board, and help monitor the structure and performance of the board and its committees.
The evaluation process: agents and contents
According to the study “Evaluating Boards and Directors”, evaluating board performance may be done by an internal party represented by the chairman of the board. In some cases, it may be appropriate to delegate the evaluation process to a non-executive member, a lead director, or a committee of the board. Also, the evaluation process may be carried out by an external party who has experience in corporate governance and performance evaluation.
The self-evaluation method is a common way to evaluate board performance. Even though this method is characterized by confidentiality, biases can still occur. The close work relationship between chairman or the non-executive member and the board members can affect the objectivity of their point-of-view. The lack of skills and time in conducting performance evaluation can be a major influence on the evaluation results.
Through a nominating committee or an audit committee, a higher degree of objectivity and independence can be achieved; however, the bias risk will remain.
Hiring an external advisor is applicable for the non-availability of the necessary skills for the evaluation process and achieving greater transparency and objectivity. The external counselor may be a professional advisor. Several enterprises use a trusted adviser as the board prefers to deal with people whom they know and trust, but it is better to use a professional advisor that has a proven technical skill in their past experiences and a high degree of independence.
According to “Board Evaluations: making a fit between the purpose and the system,” there are four basic elements that should be evaluated: responsibilities, operations, structure and membership of the board.
– The responsibilities element aims to evaluate the fulfillment of the board’s responsibilities.
– The operations element aims to assess the board’s relationship with the management.
– The structure element aims to assess the board’s composition.
– The board membership element aims to assess the overall board’s skills and knowledge, experience, competence, ethics, diligence, and independence.
Image source: The KPI Institute
The BSC is an advanced performance management tool that supports organizations to transform vision and strategy into short-term and long-term targets and specific measuring rules. The application of a balanced scorecard in evaluating a board’s performance has been proven through many studies as an effective performance management tool. It also helps a board’s direction to be more aligned at the company and operational level.
Using a BSC in a board’s performance evaluation requires skillful and independent evaluation agents to maximize its potential. To gain the right skills and learn how to implement a balanced scorecard management system in your organization, sign up for The KPI Institute’s Certified Balanced Scorecard Management System Professional course.