Humanizing Performance Review by Leveraging Technology
2020 was a year of learning for Individuals and Organizations. The pandemic taught us to be more empathetic while adapting to the new ways of working. The result –today, we are more flexible and agile in our approach while working effectively and efficiently across multiple time zones. This is new for some industries who earlier defied the virtual interactions and are now following the new normal else they may be on the brink of extinction.
What Does The Economy Say?
2021 seems hopeful. After a 4.2% decline in 2020, global world GDP is projected to increase by about 4.6% in 2021. In 2021, the focus of investors and policymakers will shift from COVID-19 to the environment. According to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) latest estimates (PwC report), Italian GDP is expected to top the $2 trillion level, re-joining seven other economies including the US, China, Germany, and India. This means great opportunities for employees and maybe a worrying time for Organizations to retain their “right talent”.
Opportunities vs Organization
In the study, Fewer Than Half Of Employees Know If They’re Doing A Good Job, it was discovered that only 29% of employees know whether their performance is where it should be. Imagine how damaging this would be for the Organization and the Individual. Everyone is walking around thinking that they are working towards a common goal, yet not clear. In 2020, employees were asked to adapt to the new ways of working, upskill themselves, achieve this, and more while working from their virtual office which also happened to be their residence, leading to ongoing work. And now comes the time for performance evaluation.
Humanize Your Approach
We would agree that all the adaptability and agility in the ecosystem has led to anxiety, apprehension, and stress for the individuals concerned. Therefore, Managers need to be mindful and have constructive conversations around performance. The end of the year appraisal should move beyond the traditional boundaries – negotiation about compensation and promotion. In fact, it should bring a focus on longevity and career development with the organization.
There are a few things to keep in perspective:
- Make it conversational: Don’t get into confrontations. Have a conversation about “what can be done better” and what help is required to ensure more focus, higher productivity to achieve the desired results.
- Hear their perspective: Ask encouraging questions on what support they require rather than barraging them with what could have been achieved more.
- Give and ask for feedback: It’s always a two-way road. So, while you may have your pointers ready on what went right and not so right, don’t be defensive and ask the team member to share the same.
- Collaboration is the way ahead: set some ground rules like raising a hand as and when and not only during appraisal; why should the Manager only do regular feedback sessions; the team should reach out and ask for it; amongst other things.
- Innovation will be a crucial way to evaluate the performance: This will help you understand and differentiate the ideators from the implementors in the team. At the same time, you will also encourage a behavioural change and inspire others to think differently.
All the above and more through effective utilization of technology. One should be mindful that the objective here is to give and get feedback to create significant value for the organization and the team and everyone involved.
What Does The Future Hold?
This is an exciting question as Organizations have adopted new ways of working and therefore, new methods of performance evaluation ideally must be the way forward.
Amazon has been a leader in pioneering new ways of thinking and is performance evaluation is not an exception. They have initiated team-based evaluation methodologies where the results ownership and accountability rest with the teams and small organizational units. Another brand that has set new boundaries in evaluation is Netflix. People are asked to identify three aspects – what should individuals stop, start or continue doing? However, this requires a mature environment which allows freedom of speech without creating a bank of future biases in perspective.
I firmly believe that if we intend to keep an individual and organization healthy, then the performance evaluation should not be a merely bi-annual or annual exercise. It should be a balance between traditional and modern methodologies while aligning with the values and culture of the Organisation.
The key to follow is consistent feedback which can make us bitter or better. Managers need to learn what to say, how to say when to say but most importantly ensure that it’s not a one-way approach.