Article (July-2021)


Performance Management : A roadmap for virtual teams, gig workers, and Gen Z

Himani Tandon

Designation : -   PGP-HRM, School of Human Resource Management

Organization : -  XIM University, Bhubaneswar

Other Writers : -  Dr. Lalatendu Kesari Jena


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The CoViD-19 pandemic and the transformations that accompanied it have instigated people in the decision-making positions globally to rethink the methods adopted for doing things 'normally'. Consequently, the concept of new normal has captured all tongues recently with the entire species trying to adapt and transform themselves in some way or the other to this novice concept. Now, when we speak of this article and why we find the need to communicate this, we describe the new normal of workforce as not only virtual teams, but also the gig workers and Gen Z, which we believe is no more the future of workforce, but a majority of the hired hands in the present day. And when we inculcate such a diversity in our employees and more importantly the diversity in how and where they work from, the most critical metric is measuring what they do and how effectively they do it: performance management. Many readers might now have the thought that this is what every next article speaks about ever since the need for this arose. Everyone knows we need to focus on what (objectives) and how (key results). But what most people do not attend to these days is the "why" and whether this what and why is the same for every incumbent that caters to the same job role. This impression, along with who sets expectations and who scores it, how we amalgamate both these implications to suggest a roadmap for managing performance in the new normal, is what you will find ahead.

With various modern techniques and models already in place, there are a lot of times organisations report the same problems as before, the roots of which do not lie with the techniques, but the wrong metrics that do not align with the impact on job, relevance to the incumbent (and not the job role), and most importantly the relevance to the mission of the business unit and the organisation. There is a dire need to follow the mantra of assess and align before you assign. Lack of consequences can be a huge barrier in aligning a workforce virtually or even the gig and Gen Z workers. Such workers are engaged when they know how their activities contribute to the mission of the department and the company, and how the targets or performance indicators that they are assigned are fulfilling the needs of all the stakeholders. In absence of these factors being considered while setting targets, no matter how good the employee performed, his or her performance makes no difference at large and is indirectly, a waste of assets. This is where we realized the need to remodel the current performance management and appraisal techniques.

Speaking of aligning business strategy and the initiatives to achieve it being linked to performance of a job role, a balanced scorecard does a fair deal in this domain and might cover the needs of the key stakeholders and making the employee feel his or her contribution is valuable to the organisation. But the workforce of today (as we mentioned above, it is no more just the workforce of the future), cannot be restricted in a circle this small. More than just achieving certain initiatives, learning, up-skilling, development, and innovation form a major chunk of the life cycle of an employee with a considerable amount of time and effort bestowed in it for the betterment of the delivery and performance of their job. Jobs are not the same as they were 10 years ago, and there is no R&D department that has led the nature of work, procedures, and policies to transform with time. It has been the incumbents in those roles which have driven the change as they learned and discovered new ways of doing their jobs more efficiently, be it training or the issues at work which stimulated them to rethink the way they worked. This is where we realized the need of a Personalized Performance Appraisal System.

Personalization has taken over performing sales, marketing, strategy, then why not have it for the ones who actually perform these roles? Every software engineer does not perform the same job and every salesperson does not sell the same product. The needs for every product sales strategy are different and require different tangible and intangible resources. Thus, when every incumbent undergoes a specialization phase of performing and innovating his or her job, his or her performance metrics need to be set on the same lines. When organisations speak of an enabling and learning culture, it also needs to be reflected in how the employee is assessed, recognized, and compensated based on the same. Performance management is an amalgamation of the Organisational Development, Talent Management, and Compensation and Benefits teams. Key Performance Indicators need to inculcate the additional activities that an incumbent performs in order to implement a personalized PMS. Accordingly, the goals can be set at the beginning of the performance appraisal cycle and scored like it is usually done.

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Himani Tandon - PGP-HRM, School of Human Resource Management, XIM University, Bhubaneswar

Dr. Lalatendu Kesari Jena - Assistant Professor (HRM), School of Human Resource Management, XIM University, Bhubaneswar