Article (January-2021)


It should be more focused on current organisational priorities

Subir Sinha

Designation : -   Sr. HR Professional

Organization : -  Ghaziabad (U.P)


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

SS 2020 has been a year of unexpected new challenges and learnings. COVID has changed the entire organization eco system and companies had to struggle for survival. New Normal has brought new facets of work life and WFH being one of the most popular and effective way for business continuity. Performance management& appraisals have taken a back stage as business survival and continuity is the focus of the organisations. As the economy is reviving we hear of companies paying bonuses and PLI's, however in many cases the employee performance appraisals have been deferred or not happened.

What I foresee is the emergence of short term performance management cycles and emergence of OKR's (Objectives and Key Results) in coming times as a means to evaluate employee performance and reward them. These are the times of millennials who want instant gratification for their efforts and are restless for reward and recognition. A monthly/quarterly or half yearly performance management system is best suited for them to contribute, learn and grow in the organization. The yearly performance system may give way to quarterly one meeting the expectations of new generation of employees and it is going to be the need of the hour.

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

SS Metrics of performance evaluation may not change however they definitely need to be re calibrated. It has to be more focused on the current organizational priorities and based on more mutual understanding between the employee and his manager. The metrics have to be linked to the KRA/KPI's of the employee and commitment from the employee side has to be made and clearly articulated and documented. The employee has to have a buy in for the performance parameters and clearly shown the rewards and recognition associated with their achievements. Frequent communication, reinforcement of KRA's/KPI's, feedback and transparency are going to become focus areas.

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

SS I see more of opportunities in refining the performance process post COVID. It will be short term (quarterly) which meets the aspirations of young managers in the organisations. Goals will be more focused and sharp. Metrics will be clear and will help in building a healthy and transparent employee manager relationship as all these will call for more one on one meeting between the appraiser and appraise.

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?

SS With the WFH model becoming a part of many organizations remote employee management and their performance management is going to be critical.

Focus has to be on task completion in stipulated time. Hence, time factor which was there earlier also will be more emphasized metric of PMS.

Communication and Technology will play an important role in coming times. Clear expectation of deliverables from employees will have to be set and communicated.

Technology and real time progress of task completion needs to be factored in by use of software's like JIRA, Slack. Microsoft Team channels, Zoom etc.

OKR's will become more important and their management through software will have to be promoted, their periodic management along with one on one discussions between managers and employees, flashing of lead and lagging indicators will be new things to be tried and implements for WFH models performance management system.

Another factor which will come up is employee well-being. Organisations will have to incorporate this metric also in post COVID era as a Performance Management parameter.

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?

SS Pay cuts and reduction of headcount was a knee jerk reaction of the COVID era. Employers took this to their advantage to curtail manpower and save costs. According to me there could have been other areas wherein efficiencies and costs should have been looked at and employee's compensation and headcount should have been protected. We hear of many companies revering the trends and hiring now.

Going forward employees have to brace with sharper delivery outputs from them and focused metrics to evaluate their performance. Organizations will have to communicate and over communicate the performance expectations from their employees and monitor their performance on an ongoing way and reward and recognize them both monetarily and non-monetarily.

Organizations will have to invest more time initially to set the performance goals of employees, take their buy in, communicate and publish it formally, conduct more check ins on progress and monitoring of progress of the task accomplishments, use technology to facilitate these and work on innovative ways of reward and recognition.

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

SS Performance Management and Reward strategies go hand in hand in any organisations. When we are talking of shorter time cycle for OKR based performance management systems, non-monetary rewards will play a big role along with a combination of instant and deferred compensation plans which will also aid retention of employees.

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

SS The discussions will be frequent and ongoing between assesse and assessor, focused pre dominantly on quantitative achievements against the goals set for the quarter. Areas of employee well-being, team collaboration, employee relations with their peers and managers will be other focus areas of appraisal discussions.

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

SS The organization will have to move from yearly performance management process to an OKR based monthly/quarterly or half yearly, Performance Management system, invest on technology and software to facilitate this transition. Next would be the big role of HR to roll it out to the staff and communicate the benefits of the new process to all employees. Making sure that quarterly goals etc. are being agreed and documented and communicated and re enforced regularly, monitoring of these are happening periodically , facilitating one on one meetings between managers and employees, work on innovative and contemporary reward and recognition schemes etc.

Initially more band width of the HR professionals will go in rolling out the new ways of performance management which will stabilize and be a part of the DNA of the organization.Corporations will have to spend financial resources for technology and software to facilitate it.

Commitment from top management and HR to roll out new Performance system, communicate and over communicate will be the only way to make it a success.