Productivity is the ability to adapt to a dynamic work environment: Suma PN, Otis India
COVID-19 has changed everything, with organizations remodeling every function to adapt to the changing landscape with new processes. Top leaders today agree that the performance management system should be reinvented and recalibrated for better-aligned results especially after the COVID-19 crisis. But how exactly can HR leaders make performance management more useful this year and in the years to come?
In an exclusive interaction with us, Suma PN, Director HR, Otis India shares with us her thoughts on the new paradigms of performance and productivity management in the second year of the pandemic.
What are some of the paradigm shifts in performance management that COVID-19 has brought about?
With the year 2020, introducing all of us to a new world of work, based on changing customer expectations and behavior, the way companies connect with customers, employees, and stakeholders must be aligned to the changing paradigm. This means considering new ways of working such as working remotely, hybrid working, working from office, working in the field or floating employees.
That said, companies must provide employees with the right working tools and resources to enable them to be agile, collaborate, and able to view the dashboard of their teams or functions. From my perspective, it’s crucial to redefine the parameters of achieving goals, performance assessment, and employee recognition. Key shifts in performance management include:
• Adapting the performance management process to suit the evolving changes in the organizational environment.
• Motivating teams to visualize the bigger picture by breaking down goals into milestones, smaller and more achievable parts to yield high performance from every employee.
• Focusing on continuous performance cycle and discussions in which goals are reviewed and adjusted in real-time. Re-align for clarity and relevance.
• Moving managers from providing only feedback to performance coaching.
• Encouraging managers to go beyond formal performance conversations to understand the employee as an individual and support their development.
• Keeping the uncertain times in mind, organizations are building new performance management systems to encourage high performance based on frequent feedback sessions and a conversation led performance discussion that does not include a rating system that can otherwise be restrictive.
Managers should realize the potential of timely appreciation and recognition to keep employees motivated at their best. Additionally, I believe that the right technology will enhance the efficiency of the performance management process.
How should organizations define and measure productivity amid changing business priorities?
In today’s era of working, productivity is recognized as the ability to adapt to a dynamic work environment.
Agility and collaborative efforts are much needed to achieve individual as well as collective goals. A critical evaluation using the SMART methodology can help managers provide employees with the right work tools and environment to perform. Understanding the shared vision of the company, clarity of goals, execution strategy, self-evaluation of progress, and team dashboard will help to enhance productivity. The adoption of these practices can give employees clarity of their execution ideas and help them to work on their strengths. Encouraging a culture of innovation will keep the creative energy going across teams and the organization.
HR Analytics are great tools for companies to adopt, as they can assist in driving efficiencies, better manpower planning, optimization of resources, measuring success of key programs and investments, level of employee engagement needed etc. Data is essential to help define and measure productivity.
What should be the key components of the new framework of continuous assessment?
Periodic performance conversations, formal as well as informal sessions are at the heart of continuous assessment. Recurring sessions help the managers understand the barriers faced by employees and support in overcoming those challenges. Such conversations help address a challenge as it happens so that employees and teams can get back on track to achieving their goals. Every individual is different, and each employee comes with their own aspirations, expectations, career growth, and emotional baggage.
Understanding the motivation of the team member will enhance the effectiveness of the conversations. Performance coaching which is a series of coaching conversations will help the employees to sustain their effectiveness while increasing the overall employee self-esteem and well-being.
What are some of the practices in performance management that need to be let go in this new world of work?
Performance management should move to a continuous performance cycle, in which goals are reviewed and adjusted in real-time. This process should focus on continuous improvement, fostering collaboration among employees, and building better relationships between managers and employees. More frequent feedback ensures priority alignment and facilitates increased productivity and engagement. The focus should be on employee growth and development.
A No-Rating system will focus towards making the conversations being more growth and development-oriented.
How should HR leaders focus on making performance management more useful this year and in the years to come?
By working with business leaders and managers, HR leaders can play a key role in creating a performance-oriented culture and adopt a performance management process to suit the changes in their organizational environment. HR leaders should support the organization to re-focus and re-align employees to the shared vision of the company. They should continue to stress the need and relevance of having dynamic goals and milestones to match.
Shift the focus of performance discussions from annual cycle to a continuous performance cycle and taking a leap towards making the conversations more growth and development-oriented is another important aspect.
Technology can be leveraged to help simplify the entire process of performance management and lighten the documentation load. Last but not the least, HR managers should help teams in building fluency in digital technologies by upskilling the organization.
From an overall well-being perspective, managers will do well by exercising empathy in their connect, communication, and assessment. Being available to the team, offering support, strength, and motivation can create a culture where every employee feels their best self at work, which can directly be seen in the performance levels of the organization.