What are the key gaps in current industry practices in managing employees’ performance? – 21 Industry Experts share their insights

In Part 1 of this series, we covered the aspect of who is really responsible for Performance Management.

Many stated that performance appraisals are not effective at all. Its losing relevance to employees and managers.

In this blame game, we thought it would be interesting to dig in and find out from leading HR experts across the globe as to what really is plaguing the performance management process.

What are the key gaps in current industry practices in managing employees’ performance?

We knew strong words were going to fly but surely we would learn a lot more. Find out and see whether you agree/not.

Adil Malia, CEO and Managing Partner, The FiRM

Adil Malia : What are the key gaps in current industry practices in managing employees’ performance? - 21 Experts share their insightsHaving coached several top CEOs, Adil, Managing Partner @ The FiRM, believes that one of the key flaws is how goal setting of employees has become so inadequate. It lacks objectivity or alignment to organizational goals.

Rotating joy in sharing rewards performance rating is skewed. Arguments generally revolve around ‘we have no non-performers..’ we have already chucked out all non-performers..

–  Adil Malia, CEO and Managing Partner, The FiRM

Further, in his list of 8 continued flaws in the Performance Management Systems, he mentions importantly the absence of performance anchored conversations and continued reliance on classical ‘bell-curve’ which operates at the top end, bulges at the middle and absolutely tapers at the bottom.

Kaustubh Sonalkar, CEO, Essar Corporate  Services LLP

Kaustubh-Sonalkar: What are the key gaps in current industry practices in managing employees’ performance? - 21 Experts share their insightsA business leader with an artist’s mind, Kaustubh has an agenda – to go beyond and above as the disruptive thought designer he is at heart. He’s asking a pressing question – what fun is it to go through life if you don’t make sense of it in your own outrageous way?

Kaustubh says that Performance management is the foundation of excellence in an organization and therefore it should be simple, straightforward, intuitive, aligned with organizational goals and have flavors of organization values.

The size, scope, and complexity of organizations today can introduce inaccuracies, biases into the performance management process. The design of the tool, not accounting for human nature, creates a high potential for inaccuracy.
– Kaustubh Sonalkar, CEO, Essar Corporate Services LLP

TN Hari, Head HR at Bigbasket

Hari TNRecognized by LinkedIn as Top 10 Voices in India, Hari feels the inability to give timely, accurate and specific feedback as a result of which many decisions turn out to be surprises and leave a bad taste in the mouth.

Harjeet Khanduja, V.P of Human Resources, Reliance Jio

Harjeet Khanduja: What are the key gaps in current industry practices in managing employees’ performance? - 21 Experts share their insightsA TEDx speaker, SAP HCM consultant, Six Sigma Green Belt, White Belt in Executive Coaching amongst many hats he wears, Harjeet feels that performance management is more than an annual appraisal and four feedback meetings.

Mostly, work-related transactions go unnoticed without capturing any feedback. Even if feedback is captured, it is not passed on to the people responsible.

The biggest problem is that the people responsible, many times do not know that they are responsible for something which can affect top line of the organization.

Harjeet Khanduja, V.P of Human Resources, Reliance Jio

Tom Haak, Director, HR Trend Institute

Tom-HaakWith extensive experience in HR Management in multinational companies, Tom says that many organizations are not employee centric and the focus on a top-down approach, where corporate goals are rolled out, compromises on individual wishes, needs, and capabilities of employees.

“Teams are the main building blocks of organizations and HR practices as performance management should become more team focused.”
Tom Haak, Director, HR Trend Institute

Dave Ulrich, Co-Founder, and Principal, The RBL Group

Dave-UlrichThe Rensis Likert Professor of Business at the Ross School, the University of Michigan, Dave feels there is too much focus on the performance management steps or process (e.g., rate vs. rank) and not enough on the conversations between an employee and his/her boss.

“The conversation or dialogue matters more than the system.”
Dave Ulrich, Co-Founder, and Principal, The RBL Group

Michael D.Haberman, Co-Founder, Omega HR Solutions, Inc.

Mike-HabermanWith over 30 years of experience in dealing with the challenges of HR in the 21st century, Michael feels too many companies are focused on the “event” rather than focused on the outcomes.

“The way appraisals currently happen is like telling the captain of the Titanic that he struck an iceberg, where he should be told he needed to avoid the iceberg that was straight ahead. It is more critical to tell him he needed to correct something to avoid disaster, rather than waiting, letting the disaster occur, and then marking him down for poor work.”
Michael D.Haberman, Co-Founder, Omega HR Solutions, Inc.

Srinivas Chunduru, Founder and CEO, VANS

Srinivas Chunduru: What are the key gaps in current industry practices in managing employees’ performance? - 21 Experts share their insightsRecognized as one of the Top 50 CHRO’s in Asia, Srinivas thinks that appraisals often end up as a check in the box exercise.

Most organizations, give disproportionate weightage to the outcome, and not so much on the fundamental building blocks and hence, indirectly the process may encourage short-term behavior.
Srinivas Chunduru, Founder and CEO, VANS

Colin Mendes, General Manager & Head of Human Resources at Voltas Limited

Colin Mendes: What are the key gaps in current industry practices in managing employees’ performance? - 21 Experts share their insightsWith in-depth experience towards facilitating several HR initiatives that include the Tata Group Remuneration Forum, Tata Sons, Colin believes that process is not everything. In the end, if the individual Manager does not take accountability, then no process will realize effective outcomes.

When employees are not able to see relevance and alignment, your process will have gaps. Implementing it to the last mile by showing the purpose and imbibing ownership across levels are the biggest gaps in the process.
– Colin Mendes, General Manager & Head of Human Resources at Voltas Limited

Sameer Nagarajan, Head, Human Resources at Dabur International Ltd

Sameer Nagarajan: What are the key gaps in current industry practices in managing employees’ performance? - 21 Experts share their insightsWith long years of experience at Unilever & Dabur, Sameer has concluded that the employee is the ultimate owner of one’s own performance.

Organisations can provide context, training, feedback, and resources; the initiative to assess, seek feedback, analyze one’s own situation, commit to change and ask for resources to enable that change will always be a personal commitment.
– Sameer Nagarajan, Head, Human Resources at Dabur International Ltd

Ruchi Bhatia, Founder, Employer Branding India

Ruchi Bhatia: What are the key gaps in current industry practices in managing employees’ performance? - 21 Experts share their insightsAmongst the top 10 HR Influencers in India & Worldwide, Ruchi says that studies worldwide by leading research organizations like Deloitte and CEB Research has shown that more than 50% of companies surveyed did not think performance management was an effective use of time. Thus,
companies have no option but reinvent their performance management practices.

Soumyasanto Sen, Co-Founder & Partner, People Conscience

Soumyasanto Sen: What are the key gaps in current industry practices in managing employees’ performance? - 21 Experts share their insightsRecognized as one of the 30+ Top Global Influences in HR Tech of 2018, Soumyasanto believes that the biggest gap is the right balance between the synchronization of organization goals along with employees and the growth opportunity for the employees through learning and upskilling.

“Performance management is a complex process that is evolving to focus on relating individual goals to corporate values and priorities.”
Soumyasanto Sen, Co-Founder & Partner, People Conscience

Dr.John Sullivan, Professor, Corporate Speaker, and Advisor

Dr.John Sullivan: What are the key gaps in current industry practices in managing employees’ performance? - 21 Experts share their insightsRecognized as HR’s “Top 10 Leading Thinkers”, John believes that performance appraisal is fatally flawed because it is simply a group of opinions from one person at the end of a long year.

“Performance reviews must be data driven based on performance data, but it is subjective, and there is no evidence that it predicts future success within the corporation”
Dr.John Sullivan, Professor, Corporate Speaker, and Advisor

Jaydeep H Goswami, HR Practitioner, Consultant, and Motivational Speaker

Jaydeep H GoswamiWith rich experience providing high-end HR Consultancy services to top MNCs, Jaydeep opines that performance is definitely not just a number as it is really a reflection of behaviors prevalent in and encouraged in an organization.

Managing Performance is so very important because it has an effect on every single person in the organization.
– Jaydeep H Goswami, HR Practitioner, Consultant, and Motivational Speaker

He details 12 key concerns related to Performance Management processes where he highlights that the lack of accountability in processes and the human instinct to survive in the face of uncertainty leads to confusion, poor process definitions, and outcomes. Assessors have an increasing responsibility to ensuring that assesses are evaluated fairly with a clear path guidance towards an improved future.

Kevin Freitas, Chief Human Resources Officer, Dream 11

Kevin Freitas: What are the key gaps in current industry practices in managing employees’ performance? - 21 Experts share their insightsHaving led HR teams at leading internet and e-commerce firms like Flipkart.com and InMobi. Kevin feels that communication is the secret sauce.

“Communicate more often than you’re comfortable with. That more than anything else can prevent surprises and lead to better outcomes.”
Kevin Freitas, Chief Human Resources Officer, Dream 11

Ajay Ambewadikar, Country HR Manager, CNH Industrial

ajay ambewadikarWith 24 plus years strong Manufacturing base HR experience, Ajay reckons that Performance management system is mainly connected with benefits, it’s a big gap.

PMS is the reference point to be used for the capturing the target area and identifying development need and then managing talent. When this system is clubbed with benefits, the whole purpose gets diluted and you don’t get the facts on the table.

Saurabh Nigam, Vice President-Human Capital, Omidyar Network

Saurabh-NigamRecognized as one of the Top 25 Future HR Leaders, Saurabh says that not enough time is spent on defining clear and objective goals for every team member, which in turn defeats the whole purpose of having a performance management system.

“Many organizations do not spend time and resources to build managerial capability in their managers which in turn can facilitate meaningful conversations and feedback discussions between managers and team members”
-Saurabh Nigam, Vice President-Human Capital, Omidyar Network

Kevin Lyons, Senior HR Manager, Pearson

Kevin LyonsA regular voice in media communicating his views regarding Human Resources., Kevin feels that talent Mobility as being underutilized which is all about matching employee aspirations and growth to the needs of the business.

Also, there should be more focus on Talent, with the development of skills and abilities as a key component of performance management.

Anand Dewan, Group CEO – BYLD Group

Anand DewanRecognized by World HRD Congress as 25 most talented global leaders in the field of L&D, Anand feels the biggest gap exists because of the level of maturity of the business plan and the employee development plan.

For example, businesses have a detailed two to a three-year business plan worked out to the T, however, whenever asked if they have an equally detailed plan for developing people and culture to meet the future needs of business, then it draws a blank from Top Executives. need to have is that processes should enable business and not visa-versa.

“Processes should enable business and not visa-versa”
Anand Dewan, Group CEO – BYLD Group

Anil Dagia, CxO coach

Anil DagiaA global trendsetter as an NLP practitioner, Anil says that performance management systems were designed during the industrial era where the workforce was deployed in masses and the workflow was repetitive and the need was to follow standards and systems.

“How can systems of a bygone era serve the needs of this one?”

Anil Dagia, CxO coach

Rob Burn, President, L & L Solutions

Rob Burn: What are the key gaps in current industry practices in managing employees’ performance? - 21 Experts share their insightsA Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) by the Society for Human Resource Management, Rob rather asks where is the alignment. 

Once employees know what is expected of them and what their goals are, it is up to leadership to get out of the way to let people perform – while removing any roadblocks that may be encountered.

If an employee is not performing or behaving within company expectations or cultural norms, they are either in the wrong job or the wrong company.

When this alignment occurs, performance management becomes an afterthought as people are moving to help the company succeed.

Conclusion

So, what do you think?

Yes, it’s a topic that everyone feels strongly about. Many indicated that performance appraisals in its current form are really a checkbox exercise, waste of time, not beneficial to anyone.

Our Experts have given us a wide range of key causes and gaps in current performance management processes.

A few of the recommendations that stood out-

  1. With changing times, performance management should incorporate ongoing feedback for employees to be diagnosed in real-time.
  2. Alignment of organization business plans to employee work objectives to help employees identify the impact of their contribution.
  3. Delinking benefits to employee development discussions from performance appraisal processes.

What do you think? Send in your comments. Let’s keep the debate going.

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1 thought on “What are the key gaps in current industry practices in managing employees’ performance? – 21 Industry Experts share their insights”

  • Performance reviews have a major in-built flaw : they mix support (how can we ensure you’re getting better at your job) and appraisal (you will be judged on your performance, and this might influence your remuneration and career prospects).
    Support requires openness and honesty from the staff and the manager, to equally expose any strengths and any shortcomings; it is really about coaching, not about managing.
    Appraisal will likely get the staff becoming defensive and deflective, trying to hide any shortcomings and exaggerate strengths, in order to get better feedback.
    Mixing the two is a recipe for failure; no wonder performance reviews are on of the least favoured tasks of both, employees and their managers.

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