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, Swetha Harikrishnan, HR Director of HackerEarth 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?
Last year was one of the best years to happen when you think of the fact that COVID gave us the perfect reason to thrash out our biases. Removing biases from performance management was also one shift that manifested. Many organizations generally believed that performance and productivity would dip as a result of working from home. But the reality made us realize otherwise-that we only need to keep our eyes on performance. It removed all the frills around it-it didn’t matter when the person is coming to the office or how many breaks he is taking as long as the job is getting done.
So the work-from-home situation very rightly placed the spotlight on performance, cutting out the biases.
It also stressed the importance of keeping the focus on the humane side of things. This means effort is also important along with the outcome that the person is delivering out there-especially during these dynamic times.
How should organizations define and measure productivity amid changing business priorities?
We should be looking at productivity outside in, which means from a customer-centric lens. Because it’s really not that simple, considering the circumstances of last year. Hence look at it from your customer’s side, and then ask your people, and then look at the effort and impact being created.
What should be the key components of the new framework of continuous assessment?
Continuous performance management needs to be holistic-which means it cannot start after someone joins the company. It needs to start even before someone joins the company-which means at the time when you are assessing someone’s skills. This holistic approach has worked for us.
Secondly, let objectivity seep in as much as possible and tools are great for that.
I am a huge believer in bringing the balance of tools with human expertise. Use tools to cut out bias and identify the themes that you should focus on to take the actions for your people when it comes to people development. Don’t base anything on your assumptions.
What are some of the practices in performance management that need to be let go in this new world of work?
This whole notion of stressing on the number of hours and where people are based out of-we need to move out of it. I am quite hopeful and looking forward to this year where many organizations are looking forward to working in a hybrid model or permanent work from home. You should let these notions go and open up to the world and don’t restrict yourself to one particular region if you want to access great talent.
Also, we need to rely more on the systems plus human expertise rather than simply relying on human expertise, as it will cut out the biases. A good balance of both needs to be there.
How should HR leaders focus on making performance management more useful this year and in the years to come?
As leaders, we need to start looking at performance management more holistically and tweak our systems and approach.
When it comes to performance management, we struggle to identify skill gap vs performance gap. Many times, people misunderstand between both. It can be removed if systems are holistic and we start right at the time when we are hiring someone. We need to identify their skills mindfully, and then take them through the entire cycle. So keep it holistic, objective, and without biases.