The world around us is changing fast & the future of work is fascinating, though different. With the workforce comprising a diverse mix of the GenX, Millennials, and Gen Z, talent with multiple demographics, the performance management for the next decade shall require a very fresh approach than we have seen in the last few decades put together.
Agile, continuous feedback, human-centric & data-driven are not just buzzwords anymore. Many new-age companies are coming up & growing fast, redefining the workforce aspirations. Mature organizations are trying to reinvent themselves to get their mojo back, and globally distributed teams are becoming the fast-growing norm for businesses. Unlocking performance management for the next decade requires a significant shift in the way organizations & their leaders have been doing it all this while.
We are in an era where the talented team members expect clarity of goals, both the organization and the individual. They also continuously try to self-assess those goals to find the right meaning & purpose for themselves. Today any high performer values ongoing feedback way more than the typical annual cycle of review & appraisal. It is also a time when people truly understand the power of data and therefore find themselves more accepting of the performance metrics derived from factual data & are not just a subjective opinion of an individual manager on their performance.
As the quality of answers depends upon the quality of questions we ask, a good starting point for building a high-performance culture starts with finding the 'why' and 'what' of our organization. Why do we exist & What are we trying to achieve? What are our business goals? What does high-performance look like in the context of our organization's vision? For the organization to achieve high performance, it is imperative to have a strong correlation between its business goals and individual performance goals.
Once we have the desired answers to the above questions, the next logical step is to identify the 'who' – the people aspect of the equation. With 'people' at the core of every business, the high-performing organizations need to get two more fundamentals right – 1. What does it take to be a high-performer in our organization? And 2. Who will be the change-maker, the champion from within the organization, or do we have them at all? Basis this, the organization defines its talent strategy.
Every organization has a unique DNA. Therefore, developing a game plan that can unlock superlative performance could be an exercise in their respective business context. As for most organizations, it will be a path of discovery; here is a simple framework that I propose. I call it the 'DISCOVER Framework for unlocking high-performance.'
DISCOVER Framework –
- D – Define clear yet agile goals that are realistic, relevant & result-oriented. Align goals & associate rewards with milestones.
- I – Build on the foundation of Insights derived from the HR, individual, and business performance data for sound decision-making.
- S – Make it Sustainable. Stick to basics by not forgetting that we are all humans first. Therefore, any organization's performance management strategy must appeal to the core human values & emotions to bring out its people's best.
- C – Coach, the managers, to communicate the performance goals with clarity and being compassionate in their approach.
- O – Practice Ongoing measurement & provide continuous and timely feedback. Move away from the annual review & performance appraisal method.
- V – Help people Visualize how the performance goals & management practices stack up against the organization's values and enable them to find a shared purpose in these Values.
- E – Engage, Energize & Excite people with a 'human' experience. Make them feel a part of the story, as well as the 'prize.' Embrace diversity.
- R – Reward & Recognize on a real-time basis and showcase genuine care by offering extraordinary rewards for extraordinary performance.
To summarize, for any organization to truly unlock high-performance in the next decade, it will need to establish clarity around the business and individual goals, followed by energizing people to feel one with the organization's purpose. Empowering people & creating more ownership, and establishing the right correlation between an individual's performance and rewards, shall help achieve this. The organizations would leverage technology as an enabler to derive data-driven actionable insights, anytime anywhere participation, ongoing review & feedback, and a hyper-personalized experience. Also, the leaders would need to play the role of 'coaches' increasingly, create the right awareness around the individual and organization's performance goals, and prioritize better mental health & well-being of the associates to make the high performance sustainable.