Sunday, November 28, 2021

Redefining Performance Management System

One of the positive impacts of covid19 on performance management systems is that organizations are converting the annual process to continuous review and feedback system. During the lockdown, the majority of employees were working from home, and it was necessary for managers to keep them engaged, motivated & productive. Initially employees and managers were overwhelmed because of constant calls and reviews from managers and seniors. Daily, weekly check-ins were too much, however, after a few months it was a routine for all. Managers and employees learn how to manage this. Continuous reviews and feedback became a practice. Employees who were not comfortable became stressful and few left the job because of stress. 

Image: Getty/Google

Organizations realized that this needs a balanced approach. My hypothesis is as under:

“Pandemic and consequent lockdown has forced organizations to review their performance management system.”

“They are focusing more on continuous review and feedback mechanisms which helped them to reinvent the performance management system.”

So, what has changed?   

Performance management became the integrated part of the business processes (and not a HR process)  in organizations. Organizations started working on following five areas,

  • Continuous Reviews (Goal and reviews, earlier so-called PMS)
  • Continuous Feedback, (Feedback and development actions)
  • Continuous Recognition, (Reward and Recognition)
  • Timely Reprimand, (Consequence Management System)
  • Learning and Development, (Overall Learning & Development plans)

Not necessary, above all is one approach and mechanism, but different approaches encompassing all together for one purpose. Systems and practices may be different but contribute to overall performance management. 

This brought a need of 

  • Transferring the HR Process to Business Process,
  • Digital platform to integrate above 5 areas,
  • Creating the culture of accountability and ownership,
  • Educating and Empowering managers to manage their teams. 

Of course, this is not rocket science. Most of the time, we get carried away with technology and digitalization and think that implementing it will solve all your problems and your world will be perfect. Technology is the media to record; it helps you to analyze, review and retrieve the data whenever you need it. However, it is not the replacement of human interaction while reviewing & feedback. 

This is not possible without the proactive role of managers by owning the process. Managers have to change their mindset of management towards leadership. HR role is to facilitate the culture of continuous learning for managers and employees. In this process managers have to learn the approach where employees don’t get overwhelmed by the reviews and feedback. They should see the benefit by participating in the process. Employees may perceive this approach as micromanaging by managers. They may perceive the overall process as being watched too much.  I came across the approach, “tight, loose and tight.” 

Tight: Tighten the goal setting, (even flexible, changing by every month) process discussing ambitious goals (SMART) without compromising on the quality of goal. 

Loose: Give the freedom to work. Let employees decide how they wish to achieve those goals in a given framework and as per expected behaviours. 

Tight: Again have a review and feedback session seriously. Appreciate and acknowledge their contribution and achievement however understand the reasons for non achievement and  give them critical feedback directly without sugarcoating it. 

As a leader, your empathetic and compassionate approach will help you to run the process successfully.  

(Opinions are purely personal & does not represent my organizations, current or past) 

Author's book are available on AmazonFlipkartPothi and BookGanga. Income from books is used for social cause. 

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