Traditionally, talent management has focused on performance measurement and not on performance management. However, the last decade has seen a shift from an employee-productivity focus to a more holistic performance-management journey. Rampant business disruption demands HR to future-proof all people management strategies. JSW Group, a leader in the industrial sector is a case in point, where HR technology has been leveraged to craft a streamlined and seamless talent management system. Here is how HR tech adoption has enabled better talent management practices for the team of 18000+ employees at the JSW group.
The performance philosophy at JSW
Investing in talent development is the way to win the talent war. As more and more Gen Zs are entering the workforce, new-age HR practitioners have the responsibility of making this shift. The Darwin talent ecosystem sits on the core pillars of talent strategy and planning, employee performance management, talent development, succession planning and merit planning. All these elements are linked together to elevate individual performance, and therein, organizational performance. This is possible only when organizations understand and outline their performance philosophy, which in turn stems from the rewards philosophy.
“The performance philosophy at JSW is considered a business imperative, an architecture for delivery of business growth and sustainable competitive advantage”, shares Rupam Singh, Vice President and Group Head, Performance and Rewards at JSW Group.
The JSW rewards philosophy believes in strong differentiation of talent, enabled by a strong focus on employee development, transparent and forward-looking communication, and performance as the lead indicator to managing career planning. This is the performance philosophy which was to tie in with the Darwinbox outlook to create a future-forward PMS.
JSW’s journey with Darwinbox PMS
Post-Covid-19, companies have relooked at processes from a continuity standpoint. For JSW, which has grown exponentially in the past 25 years, reinventing meant keeping pace basis the below two pillars:
A continued focus on fairness and transparency with a focus on team-based performance. PMS at JSW was designed such that the process helped employees understand how the performance evaluation process was linked to the overall talent management strategy. The process would assess continuous performance in terms of next-level roles, employee potential, etc., providing employees with the right opportunities for growth. Rupam emphasises how PMS is about achieving the perfect balance of contextualization with standardization. “Not everything needs to be changed overnight. Look at best practices, apply what makes sense to your organization, and relook at the PMS system”, says Rupam.
Given the size and complexity of the organization, the focus was on providing a seamless experience to employees on a huge scale. “Tech became the language for employees to see the process in a consistent way”, shares Rupam. Tech was backed by strong communication, each employee was given an opportunity to capture and provide timely feedback, highlight gaps and remove biases. Managers would now rely on real data to convey development areas even for top performers. Thus, with technology, performance insights were made real-time and business-centric. Two features in Darwinbox i.e. the ‘critical incident method’ and ‘conversations with manager’, helped journal this performance data throughout the year with regular system-driven check-ins, thereby fostering the removal of bias.
Key learnings from JSW
PMS is not an HR process, it is a business process. Rupam believes that involving the management was the starting point to relook at the process from an employee-experience point of view. Senior leadership poses the tough questions, “What do you consider as best performance – impact, results, or efforts?”, “What behaviours are getting highlighted?”, and “What are the new ways of doing performance management?”, are some of the key points to ponder. To answer these, leaders must first set the cultural context i.e. to understand the ecosystem and the appetite of the organization. They must clearly outline the rewards philosophy, tie in the performance philosophy, look at market best practices, and finally do what will suit the organization. Here is a step-wise checklist, by Darwinbox, to enable this.
- Define a starting point: Deep dive into the possible challenges and bifurcate them into tech and culture. This clarity helps in building the right expectations from business and leadership.
- Run the process with an iron fist: Ensure basic hygiene such as on-time feedback through alignment with the business.
- Continuously evolve and improvise: Gather stakeholder feedback on both the process and technology front, paying special attention to the dissonance between the perceived value of performance and actual performance.
- Overinvestment in communication and trainings: Even before the process starts every stakeholder should know what is to be done and how. Employees should be able to understand how individual performance links to organizational performance. Invest in training to explain what it takes for an employee to grow from within.
Above all, leadership buy-in is a must to let people learn and grow because the performance experience will be influenced by ‘who is bringing the change?’. A good change icon will first bring employees on board first for any process or technological improvement and a good process owner will own the entire process, from people to technology. HR and business should understand the reality of such a humongous change like the data and checkpoints required for change-success. Only then can organizations provide a seamless performance employee experience while fuelling business performance.