Will continuous performance management be a reality in the digital age?

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Published: November 26, 2018 4:08:29 AM

Digital technologies are throwing up a plethora of data at frequent intervals which presents an opportunity to get real-time insights on several parameters.

With millennials forming a significant part of workforce, organisations have had to rethink their tenure, compensation and career growth plan to attract and retain the right talent.

Traditionally, performance management in most organisations is carried out as an annual exercise when managers and employees get together for reviewing the performance against the goals set for the year. This is backed up in some organisations with mid-term reviews.

However, the changing organisation landscape and the dynamic environment in which they function are the triggers for organisations to rethink their performance management system. Disruptive technologies and innovation are demanding flexibility in functioning. With millennials forming a significant part of workforce, organisations have had to rethink their tenure, compensation and career growth plan to attract and retain the right talent. And most importantly, digital technologies are throwing up a plethora of data at frequent intervals which presents an opportunity to get real-time insights on several parameters.

This calls for speedy actions and corrections and also helping employees reflect upon their performance on an ongoing basis. Making the shift towards continuous performance management does not necessarily mean abandoning the annual goals completely. There could be quarterly reviews and resetting the goals for the year on certain parameters as required. Continuous performance management also means incorporating other elements of reviews and feedbacks such as coaching, setting right expectations and facilitating conversations around new insights gathered from the business, talent development through upskilling in order to cope with the changes and remaining relevant for the business and data driven transparent ongoing communications that help build confidence and clarity with all stakeholders. One of the key drivers for continuous performance management is the organisation structure and how employees are enabled to function. There is a need to rethink traditional hierarchical structure, top-down goal definition and reward and recognition driven by positions determined by hierarchy.

Implementing an integrated system blending data driven business metrics with performance management system and talent development system is essential in order to move towards continuous performance management system. Currently most of the HR systems such as payroll, learning management systems, performance management systems, communications between employees on business matters and HRMIS, to name a few, function in silos. It is critical to integrate all of them on a single digital platform making talent development central to the way HR functions and all other systems can converge with this system.

Skills Alpha is an example of a digital platform which facilitates career navigation based on competency requirements supported by coaching and curated or self discovered content with the objective to continuously upskill. The AI tools embedded in the system augment the customisation and adaptive requirements for each learner and at the same time helps build valuable organisation intelligence through the vast knowledge repository culled out of transactions related to coaching and communications between the stakeholders.

The seamless integration of performance management system, talent development system and the new openings arising out of new business needs that call for new skills will motivate employees to embrace constant upgradation of their skills and take ownership on their continuous development. In such a scenario, performance management would no longer remain a process outside of their regular working, it becomes part and process of how work gets done and would have a major influence on the culture of the organisation.

-The writer is chairperson, Global Talent Track, a corporate training solutions company

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