The future of performance management lies in empowering employees – Shweta Mohanty

The future of performance management lies in empowering employees - Shweta Mohanty

Rendezvous with Shweta Mohanty, Vice President and Head- HR, SAP in India on Performance Management System

As the head of Human Resources for SAP in India, Shweta provides HR leadership across the region for all entities including R&D, Sales, and Services organizations. She is responsible for designing and executing the people strategy as well as elevating our People Culture.

Her focus is to deliver future-oriented and holistic people experiences, leveraging globally proven initiatives tailored to our local needs, with well-being and employee happiness at the heart of it. Shweta has 20+ years of strong client-facing experience, working with organizations such as Microsoft and Wipro Ltd.

Outside of the office, she enjoys catching up on non-fiction books, watching movies, and cooking for her two young daughters.

Q- How do you see that Performance Management System has evolved over the years?

I have always believed that no performance management can be relevant forever. In the dynamic landscape of modern workplaces, the evolution of Performance Management Systems has been nothing short of a revolution.

In my own 20+ years of experience, I have witnessed the days of cumbersome annual reviews, performance ratings, Potential ratings, shadow ratings, and 9-point grids to today’s emphasis on continuous feedback and development.

This journey has been transformative, yet not devoid of challenges. Picture this: a labyrinth of performance ratings that often spawns confusion and demotivation, where employees grapple with the enigma of what constitutes success, where performance ratings are seen as labels and a culture of feedback is lost.

On the other hand, the complexity of not differentiating performances ensuring that the high and low performers are aware of their success parameters and receive feedback on time.

Q- How does SAP India tailor its performance management system to address the unique needs of its diverse workforce?

So how does SAP India not just adapt but thrive in this ever-evolving landscape? The answer lies in our unparalleled commitment to tailoring our performance management system to suit the diverse needs of our workforce.

Embarking on the global approach, we seamlessly integrate cultural nuances and varied work styles into its performance management fabric, fostering an environment where development-focused conversations flourish like never before. 

Imagine quarterly check-ins in form of SAP Talks that transcend the mundane and become transformative, where managers and employees engage in conversations about not only performance but also growth and empowerment.

Here, continuous feedback isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a way of life—a conduit for perpetual learning and improvement.

Q- Can you share SAP India’s strategies for fostering continuous feedback and coaching to drive employee growth and development?

At the core of our performance management process is the SAP Talk initiative, which occurs on a quarterly or monthly basis. SAP Talk is the regular, open dialogue between employees and managers.  The dialogue is forward-looking and solution-oriented rather than backward-looking. 

An SAP Talk dialogue aims to create the best possible environment for people to develop their capabilities, in alignment with organizational priorities and needs. It puts the employee in the driver’s seat for discussing their aspirations, needs, and working environment, while allowing the manager to create the best possible environment for their employees to grow and succeed.

Anything that impacts the employee can be discussed, including Growth and development, e.g., discussing career aspirations or development needs, Goals and contribution, e.g., setting or adjusting goals, aligning on priorities and expectations, Well-being and working conditions, e.g., discussing work-life balance, reviewing organizational changes, the individual’s leadership role (if applicable)

During SAP Talk sessions, managers and employees engage in constructive dialogues, documenting their conversations based on the goals they have drafted. This structured approach not only ensures alignment between individual and organizational objectives but also fosters accountability and transparency in the pursuit of these goals.

By instilling a culture of goal-setting and regular performance discussions, the “Go for Goals” campaign not only empowers employees to drive their own development but also enables SAP to leverage the collective efforts of its workforce towards achieving shared objectives.

In essence, the campaign catalyzes individual growth and organizational success with tools like SuccessFactors and the SAP Talk tool, we orchestrate real-time feedback and data-driven insights, empowering employees to navigate their growth trajectory with precision and clarity.

Our initiatives like PROPEL and Go for Goals, ignite a fire of ambition and growth in every corner of the organization.

Q- What role does technology play in enhancing the efficiency and transparency of SAP India’s performance appraisal process?

The secret sauce that elevates SAP India’s performance management to unparalleled heights is technology—the unsung hero in the quest for efficiency and transparency.

And as we gaze into the horizon of innovation, our recent strides in performance management are truly transformative.

Imagine AI-driven analytics seamlessly woven into the fabric of SuccessFactors, unlocking a treasure trove of predictive insights for informed decision-making.

Q- How does SAP India ensure that performance evaluations align with organizational goals and values?

We do realise the value and importance of organizational goals and individual aspirations, where employees carry the organisational goals and are encouraged to understand the link between SAP’s North Star and their work—clear, concise, and deeply aligned with the company’s ethos and mission.

It’s not just about ticking boxes; it’s about igniting a sense of purpose and passion in every employee. Our “Go for Goals” campaign at SAP underscores the critical importance of setting and drafting goals, whether they are personal aspirations or professional development targets.

By emphasizing the significance of goal-setting, the campaign aims to highlight how these objectives directly contribute to SAP’s overarching mission and success

Q- Can you share any recent innovations or updates in SAP India’s performance management approach?

The PROPEL initiative at SAP fosters a “Winning Culture” by engaging leaders in enablement and coaching sessions, aiming to facilitate continuous performance conversations and address challenges proactively.

Its core objectives include teaching and empowering leaders to implement the right performance-based culture and employees to collaboratively navigate performance hurdles, thereby cultivating a high-performing and inclusive work environment.

A notable feature of PROPEL is the integration of AI to enhance communication. Through this innovation, employees experience a more immersive interaction with organizational leadership, allowing for comprehensive and timely resolution of performance-related queries.

Overall, PROPEL embodies SAP’s commitment to fostering a culture of growth and collaboration, where individuals feel valued and supported in their professional development journey.

Q- Any Concluding Remarks?

In conclusion, SAP’s performance management isn’t just a system—it’s a catalyst for a high-performing organization, a testament to the power of innovation, adaptability, and unwavering commitment to employee growth and development.

The future of performance management lies in empowering employees to set direction for their growth and development and in ensuring managers are coaches to the employees.

So, as we traverse the labyrinth of modern workplaces, I do believe SAP in India is moving in the right direction.

Thank you, Shweta!


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