Improving Performance Management Practices in Digital Age

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It was an era when the digital world seemed distant to all of us. If I take a look a back it was difficult for us to believe when we had a smartphone in our hands, LG Prada in 2007 and Apple Inc. later that year. It was an iPhone and LG who brought touch screen phones in existence then but still not approachable to many. Well if we afraid of technology then, we could not be here today where we are. Just give it a thought that isn’t it an aid to all of us for making things simpler and lessened our burdens? It’s definitely not taking over the human mind but is rather supporting all us to evolve.

We are humans and we evolve every day if that was not the case we still would have stuck in the era of Homo Sapiens and not here. We were always aided by some or the other thing to come out as we are today and for what we all have to be tomorrow, shall now be aided by the technology. It goes hand in hand and it’s definitely not a war. We need to apply our human brains to things which are more productive, complex and let’s take a bungee jump in this digital era.

People are afraid that if we are letting technology in our business as they feel that what will be the need of human resource in the organizations in the future? It is not so. Has this happened so far? No. We need to understand that technology is helping us to get over the conventional systems which were way too lengthy, burden full and time-consuming.

Every field is using technology so is the case with the Human Resource industry. It all started with the process of recruitment when the magnificently designed portals helped the recruiters to source the resumes for the prospective candidates and helped them to get over the tedious manual tasks. It was a bliss for them. Later on the payroll, attendance and computing the salary was made easier by various software in the market. It helped the HR departments to work more efficiently and use their time for better policy-making and restructuring the organizations as per the need, rather than sitting and computing salaries for a huge number of employees in an organization.

The role of a human Resource manager just doesn’t end after recruiting an employee and disbursing their salaries on time. It goes on from maintaining the performance of the employees onboard since conception as the skills of a person needs to be bridged and gaps are to be filled regularly. Good training and development sessions are required since the very day of taking an employee onboard till his last working day with the organization.

Well, the maintained performance needs a check and also needs to be appraised as positive reinforcement is equally necessary to retain the employees with an organization. How is that done nowadays? Or shall we give a thought that how was it done previously? So previously the Human Resource department had to chase with the paper to fill up the feedback of all, the leaders had to keep track of the performance of all the employees under them for the last 12 months and of course, the decisions were bias at times. Though still there are quite a lot of companies who have not jumped on to existing PMS, HRMS kind of real-time feedback mechanisms are still working on conventional methods. So if millennials are reading this I would like to throw some light on the characteristics of a good performance management system in all:

Setting up of clear and achievable corporate goals whereby they are aligned with the corporate strategies.

Objectives which are relevant to the business

  • The progress which is measurable and measured
  • Individual performance informed by quality feedback
  • Consistent delivery by skill management

A good performance management system is a now becoming a necessary tool in all the organizations nowadays. Improving the PMS is also important at the same time. As the digital age grows quite rapidly so the PMS and other related systems. They need to be improved in order to improve the performance simultaneously. They should be inducted and accepted where till date conventional methods are being used to contemplate the performance of the employees. The existing organisations who are using it shall be able to set some goals which both are qualitatively and quantitatively achievable and the performance while completing the set goals shall be monitored on regular basis. It’s not only about deploying certain software at work but also to keep a check with them so that the software potential can be utilised to the fullest and we can achieve maximum benefits out of it rather than just using it as a time-saving software. It can do wonders in setting things right in an organization as it is able to contemplate the goals which are more visible to everyone and therefore provides transparency at the workplace. The goals define exact KRAs and help the management to achieve goals collectively.

Furthermore, the review systems should be both ways or we can say a 360 degrees feedback system whereby a leader can review his team’s performance and at the same time the team shall be able to review the performance of the manager/leader so that the training and development not remains incomplete and the reviews can help both the parties to improve on their existing skill set for better results in future. It can also extend to peers and colleagues reviews which will help to create the better team by keeping in place proper training and development sessions as per the requirement.

Also, at the same time, it is very much important to have a good engagement system of employees where they can raise their concerns and can provide the organizations with honest reviews on work environment, job role and pay benefits, training & development opportunities and leadership etc. It helps the employees to connect better with the management and employee retention will increase as they can see their concerns being addressed which otherwise would have gone unheard by the top officials.

Succession planning’s another issue that is coming up but not paid much heed by the employers. It shall be recognised even though the employee retention rate increase by employee engagement activities still there are very few people who hold on their job at one place or organisation and therefore the succession planning with accurate coaching and skill gap is required to be done regularly so that the organisation is always ready with other employees to take over if the previous employee was failed to be retained.

All these are the characteristics which should be kept in mind by the management while having or deploying the PMS in the organization so that the overall performance can be improved while having the digital employee onboard.


Author- Manoj Sharma is an industry veteran with a career spanning more than 29 years as HR Business Partner in renowned organizations across country. He started his illustrious journey with Dabur India Ltd., and went on to associate with Jai Corp Ltd., Ambuja Cement Ltd., Oswal Chemicals & Fertilizers, Monnet Ispat & Energy Ltd. and Prism Cement Ltd.  Currently he is associated with RG Group as Sr. Vice President HR & Administration.  He has been instrumental in strategic planning, implementation of unique human resource initiatives and strategies aligned to corporate objectives. An avid storyteller, the Law and Commerce graduate with Masters in Personnel Administration, his career is replete with interesting stories and achievements.

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