Article (January-2021)

Articles

All metrics would shift from numeric system to quality conversations

Shantanu Das

Designation : -   CHRO

Organization : -  Amway India, Gurugram

01-Jan-2021

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How do you see the PMS landscape across organizations and define the new fronts of Performance management that may open up post COVID?

SD Shifting priorities to ensure business continuity largely remains a key focus area for employers, and employees are managing every requirement in this time of need to support their employers. Navigating the new normal has posed multiple challenges for employers in supporting employees and empowering them through new performance management system. Most brands have moved on from numeric yearly assessment program and instead are investing in performance/productivity led quarterly/half yearly program to keep the employees motivated in critical times. Post Covid, the performance assessment would be defined on how an employee contributes to growth patterns and new learning opportunities. The quality of tasks would be of priority rather than the quantity of tasks. At Amway, we have redesigned our performance management system to adopt performance categories for enhanced focus on quarterly quality accomplishments and competencies, as opposed to mapping it on a half yearly/annual basis.

Will it be appropriate time to rethink about conventional metrics HR considers for performance management system? If yes, what changes should be required?

SD The pandemic has forced us to reconsider how we conduct business and the impact can be seen across operations, including the people domain. This has caused a shift in standard HR parameters in line with basics of performance management system. The key focus will remain towards helping employees grow professionally and develop new skills, while enhancing existing ones and performing to the best of their ability to contribute towards the 360-degree growth of the organization. Given the current scenario, all metrics would shift from numeric system to quality conversations and execution of tasks. The leadership is looking at alternatives and new deliverables to align with the changing scenario. At Amway, we have been working on redesigning our Performance Management program since last year. Though the core philosophy remains the same, we have made significant changes in the approach to make the process simpler, frequent and development oriented. Our new Performance Management is focused on inspiring and encouraging personal growth as we learn every day and reach our full potential. We have introduced quarterly performance assessment to help employees understand their roles and responsibilities more efficiently and have more frequent, quality conversations that address learning, priority driven focus and support thus enabling more meaningful conversations.

What can be risk and opportunities in refining PMS post COVID?

SD One of the key opportunities is that it helps employees understand their roles and responsibilities more efficiently and have more frequent, quality conversations enabling more meaningful conversations. This facilitates employees and leaders having a clear picture on how the employee is learning with a goal to support continuous improvement and not competitive assessment. The simple quarterly check-in form covers employees' engagement at work, personal growth, our Founder growth mindset competencies (how) and priorities (what). All these are approached from two angles, one looking back at the past quarter and the other looking forward to the next quarter.

However, I always believe that performance management system like all the other metrics should be dynamic and should stay in sync with times. It should evolve and be collaborative and adaptive according to the need of the hour.

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Keeping in mind the WFH model and remote working that has emerged in a significant way, what new metrics should be included while refining new PMS strategies so that remote/WFH workforce are not discriminated?

SD In the current scenario, it's important we relook at the existing metrics of performance evaluation to make it more conducive and aligned with the new normal that we find ourselves in. The approach needs to be long term taking into account that flexible (remote) working could be the new reality and even though we may resume normalcy, we will certainly not like to go back to the past!  Ensuring that we at Amway are future ready, we introduced a new set of performance measuring parameters. We have a strong value-based performance management process where all employees are recognized in a fair and transparent manner. In the New Performance Management approach, we have moved away from numeric ratings and have instead adopted performance categories with equal consideration for accomplishments and competencies. With focus on growth mindset and in alignment with the company culture, we have also eliminated calibration or forced ranking. Irrespective of rank and tenure, all Amway employees will be rated 'above average performance' for the year 2020 in recognition of their work through the pandemic.

To help employees get a holistic perspective on his/her development, an additional feature of Stakeholder Feedback is also being integrated. This would allow getting feedback from multiple sources including colleagues and other leaders. With all these changes, it was also essential to bring in a great digital experience where all the new features come to life with the introduction of new software to support our new PM process at a time when we all are working remotely.

When many organizations have resorted to pay cuts and reduction in head counts and employees' financial standing have taken a hit, how organizations will meet this challenge of setting employees expectations about assessment and compensation through PMS?

SD Taking the current scenario into account, our new Performance Management is focused on inspiring and encouraging personal growth as we learn every day and reach our full potential. We have introduced quarterly performance assessment to help employees understand their roles and responsibilities more efficiently and have more frequent, quality conversations that address learning, priority driven focus and support thus enabling more meaningful conversations. This facilitates employees and leaders having a clear picture on how the employee is learning with a goal to support continuous improvement and not competitive assessment. The simple yet effective quarterly check-in form covers employee's engagement at work, personal growth, our Founder growth mindset competencies (how) and priorities (what). All these are approached from two angles, one looking back at the past quarter and the other looking forward to the next quarter.

How Performance management and reward strategies should be streamlined post COVID and which performance metrics will determine compensation?

SD With changing priorities, brands are aligning several reward programs to keep the teams motivated and engaging with them through recognition strategies. Amway has a strong pay for performance philosophy and the reward programs that are closely linked to the performance management system. The alignment ensures compensation alongside healthy competitiveness among employees. Amway India collaborates with Best-In-Class Global Compensation consultants for Annual Compensation Benchmarking. We are committed in bringing maximum benefits and awards to our employees via continuing with increments, annual and mid-year elevations and recognition as per earlier plans. We continue our digital rewards and recognition program 'SPARK' to appreciate and recognize the efforts of its team members.

What kind of discussion should be preferred between the assesse and the assessor while measuring performance post COVID?

SD The parameters for performance appraisal meetings have changed across industries to assess the contribution made by each of the employees to further the company's growth plans, review the progress made, and reward high achievers and up skill them for future growth. At Amway, talent leaders have been undergoing intensive coaching skills training to help them enhance their feedback skills and role modeling in their day-to-day coaching conversations with teams. These changes in performance management will help our workforce become more effective in their roles, increase their engagement and motivation, help employees grow professionally, develop skills to perform at higher level and drive better organizational outcomes while building a future-ready business designed to adapt, inspire and succeed.

What challenges organizations and HR in specific may face while refining the PMS post COVID and to how to address them?

SD It will be apt to say that Pre-COVID-19 workplace PMS analytics are no longer fit for purpose in present and post Covid scenario. Leading with KPI driven analytics might not do justice to the employees owing to the acceptance of psychological parameters in performance management system. It is important to be equipped with the right approach to address any challenges that may arise. It is important to remain committed and ensure employees that the assessments are based on their performance expectations set during their open conversations with managers.
    Every organization has its goals and every employee contributes in their own way towards achieving the goal. The on-going pandemic forced many organizations to shuffle their strategies of achieving their goals in an absolutely new environment of remote working and therefore HR should ensure that these are considered while refining their PMS. This level of remote working is unprecedented and, hence, emotional well-being has become one of the top priorities for us at Amway.

Measuring performance post COVID will have its own issues and challenges as we adapt to the new normal and therefore it will be imperative to drive the PMS through continuous communication and partnership between employees and managers to be aligned towards a common organizational goal.