Article (January-2021)


Time to create objective driven sharp measurable metrics

Reetu Raina

Designation : -   CHRO

Organization : -  Quick Heal Technologies Limited, Pune


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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?

RR Performance Management is one of the strategic HR processes which is a key component in culture building of the Organisation. PMS can be effective if the design has been thought through in alignment with business goals of the organisation. PMS is key driver for creating the organisation culture and the culture it wants to build in the long run (this I am talking irrespective of COVID-19). When we look at the things which have changed drastically post COVID-19 is the business plans and the way of working. And way of working has a huge impact on the engagement and culture of the organisations. New fronts of performance management which will open - up will be metrics of performance management and customisations to meet the different segments of employees. Pseudo impacts on performance management like show up time will go away, and everything will be outcome based.

And one of the key building blocks to make it effective is the design of PMS. Fundamentally there will be not much change in PMS design, but definition of metric and way of measuring metric will have to change drastically. Visibility and show up time can no more over cloud evaluation. HR as a function will have to help the organisation to make this shift from activity to outcome, from control to ownership, from bureaucracy to enablement.

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

RR It is not about conventional or non-conventional HR metric, but need of the hour is to create sharp measurable metrics which are objective driven.One of the biggest cultural changes which this pandemic has done is it has reduced frills and fancies and made everything work driven. Judgments based on face values, corridor and water cooler conversation have gone out of the window, so robust metrics will play a key role in performance management. Methodology like OKR will start becoming more and more relevant. PMS design will be more agile to deal with shorter windows of performance assessment and not year - long drawn process.

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

RR Biggest risk we are facing is applying old rules to new game. Post covid work force management is a new game. It needs to relook at the performance management to make it more conversant with needs of employees which are very different from past. One of the fundamental change would be that you may not be having face to face interaction with your employees and measurement of performance would be completely dependent on how you assess the performance, what are the metrics and how are these metrics governed and measured.

Metrics have to be created on the basis of measurability e.g. for an HR professional measure of engagement is not only attrition but the frequent pulse surveys. Subjective has to be removed from metrics as much as possible. We will have to build strong data capturing measurement tools in the organisation. And the best part is that data measuring tools will not be only used for measuring the business performance but the overall organisation well being.

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?

RR PMS is core for culture building and driving the business performance of the organisation and we should never narrow our lens by linking it only to compensation and assessment process.
    When we broaden our lensand we start talking about performance management as a tool to help business to deliver and in turn help our employees to contribute and get rewarded.

Application of this whole perspective around performance management will change the way employees look at the assessment process and compensation.  Irrespective of covid, performance management has to be looked as one of the key business process which is pivotal for organisation performance.

Organisation which have designed the performance management systems with this perspective will have not much to change. Organizations, where performance management is stand alone from business and only seen as HR process, those businesses will have major challenge. This rule also applies to definition of metrics. If your metric tightly coupled with business performance you will find it easy to manage in situation irrespective of current situation like covid. One of best examples to tightly couple the metric is the OKR methodology.

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

RR Performance management and reward strategies post covid will be more fundamental and realistic in nature concept of Goal Cascade from CEO to down the line will become very important. Performance metric based on value creation will get more weightage and can give more compensation visa vis performance which just drives maintenance and business as usual.Value creation by the jobs will not only defined by the revenue generated for today, but how are we creating sustainability and long term goal accomplishments. Disruption and innovation would be one of the key performance drivers. Organisation while focusing on doing will give equal importance for thinking. Key metrics which will start driving the organisations would be Empathy, design thinking, learning agility which were earlier considered nice to have or soft sides of performance measurement. Now these soft metrics will start driving the viability of hard metrics like top line and bottom line.

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

RR Assessor has to keep in mind the context in which assesse has been operating and we all know it is not normal. Model of work changed drastically; people had to deliver from the ecosystem that is home which was not usual. This pandemic created lot of fears in people's mind, loss of job being the most common. It is very important to make employees comfortable and understand their fears, worries, empathise before moving to the goal achievement discussion. Empathy needs to be guiding factor for all the discussion in the current scenario.

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

RR PMS is one of the most critical processes for HR as well as employee. PMS acts as platform for an employee to navigate his or her career within the Organisation. Pre-covid there was lot of informal as well face to face interaction happening in organisation that used to take care of any immediate challenges which employee was facing. The only way forward is to use the methodology like OKR as a key, design principles for PMS. One of the big challenge's organisations will face with such objective driven methods is the discussion around the need for support for employee to develop himself or herself. Second key challenge would be performance is never standalone outcome of employees efforts,though major contribution is played by the employee,but there are many factors which play role and consideration to those challenges may get ignored in objective driven PMS. This challenge with outcome driven PMS can be dealt right at the time of goal setting. While setting the goals all the challenges like stakeholders management, market reality, business viability etc should be considered before setting the targets for goals. We need to have an employee development dialogue with equal impetus as goal review and both together can help us in making effective performance management.