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How Mesh Aims To Take The Pain Out Of Performance Management

Can Mesh help employers solve their performance management problems? The HR technology company, which is today announcing an $11 million funding round, believes it can – and over the past year it has signed up more than 1,000 customers worldwide who appear to agree with it.

In theory, performance management is a vital tool that has benefits for both sides. It enables employers to work with their staff to get the best out of them, and to keep them engaged and tuned in to the organisations’ goals. Employees, meanwhile, receive affirmation of where they’re doing well, guidance on how to improve in other areas, and a sense that their employer regards them as an important part of the organisation.

In practice, however, performance management often turns into an irritating and pointless chore for all concerned, characterised by endless form filling. Research suggests that employees dislike performance management more than any other people process. Employers aren’t getting much out of it either.

“Performance management hasn’t changed much since the 1970s and it isn’t working,” says Saurabh Nangia, co-founder and CEO of Mesh. “Many employers do their reviews only once a year, so people rapidly disengage; what is actually required is feedback on an ongoing basis – continuous performance management.”

All the more so in today’s changing world of work. The shift to home working in the wake of the pandemic means employers and employees often have even less chance to connect with one another than in the past. And every organisation is under pressure to become more agile, a shift that must be led by employees.

Mesh therefore offers employers a new way to work with staff. Its performance management platform aims to make it simple for managers and staff to manage goals, share feedback and engage on an ongoing basis. It provides a dedicated channel through which both sides can communicate in real time, reviewing progress towards objectives, providing coaching and just checking in with one another.

While other providers are turning to technology in order to deliver performance management, they typically build it into broader human resource management systems. Nangia believes this approach will inevitably come up short. Staff log into such systems occasionally, he argues – to check a payslip or book some holiday, say – which runs counter to the idea of continuous performance management.

Instead, Mesh has launched a specialist performance management platform. And it incorporates its tools into the way in which the organisation works every day, integrating with software such as Slack and Microsoft Teams. The aim is to enable and support ongoing dialogue. “We exist in the individual’s ordinary flow of work,” Nangia says. “We’ve created something that feels more like a social network, so that people come back to the platform each day.”

For organisations that get it right, the benefits are wide-ranging. Employees suddenly get more visibility about what is expected of them and how they fit into the company’s goals. Managers get an ongoing opportunity to share feedback and set new targets. The organisation is able to communicate its vision and strategy. And the HR department is freed up from the cumbersome processes traditionally associated with performance management.

In addition, the platform is constantly generating a stream of data about how staff are performing, what they’re concerned about and the broader employee experience. If leveraged with intelligence, that data can provide employers with a crucial edge in a market for talent where many industries are struggling to recruit and retain.

Indeed, research suggests that companies making good use of advanced people analytics are four times’ more likely to engage and retain employees, eight times’ more likely to innovate effectively and twice as likely to exceed their financial targets.

The rapid growth of Mesh since its launch in 2020 suggests growing numbers of organisations are convinced of those benefits. The company’s revenues grew 16-fold over the course of 2021 alone.

Today’s fund-raising will allow Mesh to continue accelerating at that pace, with investors led by RTP Global providing the company with the funds it needs to invest in the product team, sales and marketing, and international expansion. The business employed 30 members of staff at the beginning of the year but expects to be at 120 within 12 months.

The fund-raising comes less than a year after Mesh’s $5.1 million seed round. “One thing we’re particularly pleased about is that our seed investors have come back to support us in this second fund-raising,” adds Nangia.

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