In the hybrid world of work, there is a rapid change in the talent landscape coupled with a high demand for talent. The nature of talent itself has changed, with people more willing to explore new roles. Today, performance is strongly related to growth and employee experience. HR must reimagine the way talent is evaluated and groomed for leadership, leading to a new era of succession planning and PMS.
According to Ajay Kadyan, Co-founder, Zimyo, these are qualitative constructs encompassing thoughts, processes, feelings, emotions, etc., This is especially true for remote working norms with a diverse and distributed workforce, wherein employee wellbeing, continuous performance management, multi-rater feedback hold value. “Going from presence to impact is key to fostering a sense of meaning, purpose, and connectedness,” said Sneha Arora, VP-HR, Myntra.
Remodeling the succession planning process
As the notions of performance and potential changed, the basics of evaluating leadership potential evolved. Krishna Raghavan, Chief People Officer, Flipkart shared the company’s approach by noting, that “leadership competencies are linked to four agilities - ‘mental agility’, ‘people agility’, ‘change agility’, and ‘result agility’ across thought and execution”.
Broadly, agility ties in strongly with the emotional quotient, especially with the myriad growth opportunities available for the hybrid workforce, according to Ajay. Naturally, organizations must focus on employee wellbeing and engagement to achieve outcomes that make employees feel valued and connected. Sneha reiterates, “The ability to build trust is the most important PMS change, it is about how we communicate through conscious conversations”.
Challenges in remodeling succession planning
Building trust does not come easy, the real test is how employees experience it. Krishna shares, “One challenge in a remote environment is how to evaluate performance when we do not have the person in front; lines have blurred and hence have to look at outcomes”. This, coupled with the diverse types of talent calls for greater personalization.
At Flipkart, this is solved through bespoke individualized development plans for current and future leadership performance evaluations. The future of leadership stems from cultivating transparency and trust between leaders and employees. “The challenge lies in how to communicate the trust”, noted Ajay. It is possible only if ‘openness to change’ and ‘innovation’ are core organizational values. And this starts with building a sense of social cohesion, engagement, empathy, and belongingness, according to Sneha.
Overcoming challenges with technology
Digital transformation has the power to enable an agile employee experience. For example, at Flipkart, the Reflect module allows leaders to seek and share feedback in real-time. Data-driven decisions and organization network analysis modules help see people interactions. Allied people analytics capabilities are helping with sharp employee insights to provide specific and customized plans that employees can relate to. Ajay emphasizes that digital cannot be just plug-and-play, HR must design performance technologies around engagement, experience, and happiness. For example, the engage module enables employees to have 1-0-1 chats, team huddles, and mentoring feedback between manager and employee. At Myntra, a process of people OKRs helps build a sense of accountability with managers through engagement surveys, multi-rater feedback, and developmental discussions. “We train HR and business managers to ask the right questions so that individuals can make sense of data and develop their individual development plans”, Sneha said.
“To remodel performance management the role of leadership is pivotal, they are the culture custodians of the company”, noted Krishna. Performance and succession planning are strongly linked to learning. For example, the Flipkart Leadership Academy aims to make Flipkart a factory for digital talent by investing in their leaders, creating worthy coaches and first-time managers for a great employee experience.
Personalization of learning, career planning, manager effectiveness, diversity, and inclusion are critical levers to sustain a great employee experience. “Employees are expecting to be inspired”, Ajay said. For this, managers need to understand that not one size does not fit all employees. Above all, the manager is a lynchpin in this remodeling exercise, and hence communication with managers must be centered on trust, communication, and engagement. Leaders must take ownership of driving such a culture with their personal touch. “Start with the Why”, said Krishna. Performance and learning have to be owned by the business. This shift is possible by getting functional leaders to spell out the overarching strategy, breaking it down into marketing-winning capabilities, and objectively measuring outcomes.
Building robust talent processes is the first step, but infusing them with agility, personalization, and conversation requires a sustained mindset shift. HR professionals must keep asking themselves, ‘What are we trying to achieve?’. This will help them effectively communicate to people that the organization wants to invest in them democratically and fairly.