Article: How Accenture revolutionized Performance Management?

Performance Management

How Accenture revolutionized Performance Management?

Revolutionizing performance management in a span of 60 days at Accenture. Read to know more about the approach being taken.
How Accenture revolutionized Performance Management?

How many of you have hobbies? When you working on your hobby, do you count time? Are you worried about how much time being spent; are you worried about food, drink? You just lose the sense of time. In this case, no one needs to work on any engagement plan. Effectively, high performance happens when you are working on something that you are passionate about. Passion is one of the factors leading to high performance in an organization as mentioned by Unmesh Pawar Global HR MD, Accenture at FICCI Conference on HR Best Practices. Read below to know what spurred performance management in Accenture. 

This voyage started about 18 months ago when CEO Pierre Nanterme told CHRO Ellyn, 

'Performance Management doesn’t work for us anymore and we need to do something different about it”. 

Not only this he also went and spoke to Wall Street Journal that we are going to reinvent PM. 

Unmesh Pawar

This made us look out for best practices in order to create new PMS said Unmesh. We realized that organizations have experimented with change in performance. Although much has been said about changing the system with new rating systems and variables, but no one has done anything significant. This is because there is no correlation between change in performance management and improve in organization performance. 

Coming to Accenture, an organization which speaks to clients about high performance, focusing on reinventing performance is essential. It was important for us as this will truly enable high performance and help business get better. 

So what was being done?

A Sprint Research was being carried out in just 60 days. This involved a series of interaction with management gurus, business people, clients etc. We looked at outlines of companies which are leading the pack in terms of performance called as high-performance companies. This made us realize a big noble truth. There wasn’t a silver bullet which defines what it means to have individual, team and organizational high performance. We realized that performance can be reinvented but not as a process as it is not a process anymore. Performance management is the need of the hour to reenergize the organization and employees. This can be done by focusing only on employees one at a time. 

Great performance happens when you give your best at work”.

The above lines said by Unmesh had a very striking meaning which means that great performance happens only when you do something you are good at and truly passionate about. 

So in an organization where everybody is only working on what they are passionate about and on their strengths, then an environment is created with engaged and highly potential employees. 

How to achieve high performance?

Unmesh listed some simple stages leading to high performance:

Knowing yourself: At Accenture employees are given multiple strength assessment tests in order to know oneself and embrace the path of High performance. You need to know your passion and focus on something that is important in that particular point of time. This means connecting organization priorities to what you are doing. The ability to connect to what your organization wants from you, that’s where high performance happens. 

Engaging your team: High performance happens when you create engagement in the team. This is not once a year phenomenon but a continuous process.  Leaders were enrolled in order to engage their team and understand their field of interest and their potentials. 

Taking action to grow: Leaders should understand the purpose of performance management in order to raise the performance of the organization. And once this is achieved in an organization like Accenture wherein the only asset is people; there is no choice but elevating people capability. 

Have meaningful conversations: This does not imply having a conversation at the end of the year but to have periodic conversations about how the individual can enhance their strengths be any situation.

Giving feedback: High performance happens when you give feedback and it is not an exercise.  Feedback is to be given real time at the moment as it can help change performance. 

How to measure this change enablement?

Unmesh spoke about an innovative method called the ‘Surround System Approach’, which says:

  • Business leaders to be immersed along with HR leaders in order to reinvent performance management.

  • We looked at grassroots and employee champion change. It was the people at the grassroots who were making this push forward.

  • We made sure that Team leaders were equipped and understood the complete journey and how the future would look like. We looked at communication which is transparent and unique. 

  • Enabled technology in a very human-centered design, tools and apps.


 Outcome of Performance Management


Be grounded in research: Look for your organization needs before reinventing performance and do not do copy paste.

Immerse HR and leaders: 5000 HR leaders across the globe completed the entire performance management process including rewards last year with this new approach.

Enable agility with technology: Stay authentically employee centric.

Be transparent and social with enablement:  Go digital to take the message out.

Do not underestimate global complexities: Be geographical, city or political complexities. Plan for it. 

In today’s era, when inflation is more than before and rewards thinner than it was before, the transformation that is seen around requires reinventing performance management for a higher business outcome, concluded Unmesh. 

This story has been built from the session delivered by Unmesh Pawar Global HR MD, Accenture at FICCI Conference on HR Best Practices on the theme “Emerging Trends in HR” at Federation House, FICCI, New Delhi on 7th & 8th November 2016.

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Topics: Performance Management

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