Ever since he returned to Kolkata a decade back, he has been providing high-end HR Consultancy services to selected top end organizations in the country and abroad. He is also a sought-after Lifeskills Counsellor and a Mentor to students and young professionals, the latter being a service he has been providing gratis through his Linkedin profile.
This year he is starting an organization (Aspire Infinitus) which would bring his entire gamut of services to organizations and individuals at large.
He has over two decades of leadership experience in Manufacturing, Service, Education, Health & Medical Sectors, in managing large and multi-location teams. He has held portfolios in the entire gamut of HR, namely HR Brand Building, Talent Acquisition, Talent Management including Learning & Development, Coaching & Focussed Interventions, Integration Management, Organizational Effectiveness, Performance Management, Compensation & Benefits, HR Operations, Employee Relations and General Administration.
He has worked in leadership capacities in diverse organizations like ACC Limited, Jet Airways, The India Today Group, Synergy Group, MANI Group, IQ City Health & Knowledge Campus and the Heritage Group of Institutions.
He is also an Honorary Director of the Indian Institute of Psychometry.
In addition to his regular assignments, Mr. Goswami is also a passionate academician in the field of Human Psychology, Leadership and Employee Engagement. He has been associated in various capacities with the famous Gallup Organization since 1996. He has published research papers and has introduced the concept of “Combo Leadership” which has been successfully used by organizations in times of crisis.
He has a passion for interacting with students and travels frequently all over the country and abroad to help students achieve success through a positive mindset.
He is a Sixth Dan (Sixth Degree Black Belt) in the Shotokan style of Karate and has very effectively incorporated martial arts in Management Development Programmes in some of his organizations with his signature sessions called “Mindfulness – The Shotokan Way”.
He is currently based out of New Delhi and Kolkata.
More information about him can be viewed on his Linkedin profile (https://in.linkedin.com/jaydeephgoswami)
You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How important is Performance Management (P.M.) in today’s high-flux organization?
Performance Management has always been important for the success of an organization, and it will continue to be. At the end of the day, the success story of an organization is the sum-total of the success stories of its Human Capital.
However, over the years, the “Human Capital” itself has undergone a sea change in terms of what constitutes it’s ”mindset”. Mindsets have followed interesting patterns from the time of the Baby Boomers to the Generation X to the Millennials that are now impacting the current Human Capital. And this change in mindset poses additional challenges for HR which focuses on evolving functional strategies which enable successful implementation of the people element of the Corporate Vision.
These functional strategies are focussed towards facilitating and improving the performance of employees by building a conducive work environment and providing maximum opportunities to the employees for participating in organizational planning and decision-making process. These are driven towards the development of high-performance leaders and fostering employee motivation and engagement.
In today’s high-flux organization, these functional strategies need to be mature enough and agile enough to overcome the mindset related challenges being thrown at it by the new generation. Performance Management System (PMS) is an important functional strategy, which is meant to enable people to achieve organizational objectives. It is inherently a complicated and all-encompassing strategy that encompasses such diverse activities such as goal-setting; continuous progress review and frequent communication; feedback and coaching for improved performance; implementation of employee development programming and rewarding achievements.
The process itself is all-encompassing and starts with the joining of a new incumbent and ends when the employee quits the organization. It is a systematic process by which the overall performance of the organization can be improved by improving the performance of individuals within a team framework. It means promoting superior performance by communicating expectations, defining roles within a required competence framework and establishing achievable benchmarks.
The Performance Management Process sets the platform for rewarding excellence by aligning individual employee accomplishments with the organization’s mission and objectives and making the employee and the organization understand the importance of a specific job in realizing outcomes. By establishing clear performance expectations which include results, actions, and behaviors, it helps the employees in understanding what exactly is expected out of their jobs. And the setting of standards helps in eliminating those jobs which are of no use any longer. Through regular feedback and coaching, it provides an advantage of diagnosing the problems at an early stage and taking corrective actions.
So Performance Management is; and will continue to be a very important aspect of managing organizations.
Whose responsibility is Performance Management?
Traditional PMS has normally been an HR-facilitated process. This, however, lacks the perspective of the entire business process since HR typically has a transactional focus. However if we can bring in Top Management as well as Line Managers as champions of the process, then the strategic and operational perspectives respectively gets added on to the process, thereby making it robust and effective.
And why should Top Management and Line Managers be the champion of PMS and not the company’s HR? Because Top Management is focused on the objective and Line Managers are concerned with how to get there. But HR does not have this perspective. It is a function trained for compliance, discipline and, transaction. It needs to follow rules and procedures to be successful. The PMS, however, needs creativity and urgency to be relevant. And these are the operative words for high performing managers.
The Performance Management System would always be a valuable tool for organizational growth if Top Management; Line Management and HR work together in designing and implementing the system.
That way, the PMS becomes a Line Manager’s tool of choice for high performance; and Top Management’s vehicle for communicating their vision and plans. HR meanwhile has the significant role of championing a culture that is rooted in corporate values needed for the PMS to flourish. This then becomes HR’s challenge on top of implementing the PMS process efficiently for the intentions of Top Management and Line Managers to be satisfied.
What are the key gaps in current industry practices in managing employees’ performance?
We all realize that managing performance and rewards is possibly the most critical of all processes to ensure strategy execution and developing a strong culture in the organization. Managing Performance is so very important because it has an effect on every single person in the organization. Performance is definitely not just a number as it is really a reflection of behaviors prevalent in and encouraged in an organization.
However, there are so many studies that have happened in the recent past that have indicated that while almost all organizations (88%) have a performance management strategy, yet most (71%) rate their performance management as ineffective (Mercer’s Global Performance Management Survey 2013). There have been many other studies, wherein Managers and HR Heads have said that they believe that Performance Management Systems do not yield accurate information.
Following are some of the obvious gaps in current industry practices in managing employees’ performance:
- Lack of clear expectations: There is no stipulated direction set by the Management. Companies that are able to go through the motions of strategic planning have not been able to cascade it to employees, nor integrate into departmental operational plans and deliverables. Thus, targets of individuals are limited to what they are already doing. There are times when employees do not have a clear knowledge of their tasks and responsibilities, especially after re-organizations, lack of proper employee orientation and other movements within the company which leaves the employees confused about their role or expectations.
- The absence of regular performance discussion and coaching: The plans and targets are typically revisited during performance evaluation or another planning workshop. A lot of time is spent in planning. However, it is set aside during actual operation. Neglecting this crucial activity of performance discussion and coaching takes away the opportunity to strengthen organizational talents and realize plans through incremental wins.
- The resistance of employees themselves: There are many managers and employees who view the PMS as a threat to their bonuses and their jobs itself. They typically complain about the unfairness of performance appraisal results and a large number of them actually end up gaming with the system and messing it up.
- Too many KPIs and forms to fill out: In many organizations, the number of KPIs tend to be too many. As a result, there is a confusion between what to do and what results to expect. The forms often are numerous, which often leads to copy-paste situations.
- Not focussing on actual performance: Most of the assessments are done focussing on the person, which includes characterization of their personal traits (for example commitment), knowledge (for example technical knowledge), or behavior (for example punctuality and attendance). While these factors may contribute to performance, they are not really measures of output. Performance measures should be items like output quality, volume, monetary value, responsiveness etc.
- Infrequent and non-timely feedback: It doesn’t make sense to have annual appraisals if the primary goal of the process is to identify and resolve performance issues. It should happen in real time so that the feedback makes sense. At the very least, have quarterly feedback.
- Relying too much on memory: In most of the cases, the assessment relies on the memory of the assessor, which results in biased and subjective data which forms the basis for assessment.
- Cross-comparisons and peer comparisons are not done: One of the goals of the process is often to compare the performance of employees in the same job. However, most appraisal processes (an exception being forced ranking) do not require the assessor to do a side-by-side comparison, wherein each member of the team is compared with one another.
- Lack of accountability of the appraiser: The assessors are never held accountable for the quality of their assessment. As a result, we often find either average scores for everyone in a team; or even worse – extreme scores for everyone in the team, which has no bearing on actual performance, but the boss has “played safe”.
- Assessors are not trained: In most organizations, the assessors are not trained on how to assess and give honest feedback, If the process includes a career development component, it is even more likely that the managers will not know how to enhance the career path of their employees.
- Drawbacks of compensation management linked with performance appraisal: In most companies, compensation is amended immediately after and as a result of the annual performance appraisal. Employees, therefore, answer appraisal questions entirely with the objective of maximizing their compensation at the end of the appraisal. As a result, the appraisal tends to get skewed due to suppression of (negative) facts and over-reporting (sometimes wrongly taking credit of others) facts which are positive for the employee.
- Special issues pertaining to the Millennial mindset: The mindset of millennials is different from the earlier generations. They are extremely tech-savvy. They want to savor life and progress at work. They are extremely impatient and need immediate feedback on their status in the organization. They are focussed more on short-term goals and gratification and as a result, their attrition rate in organizations is very high as they tend to stagnate and get bored very quickly. Traditional PMS, therefore, is inherently incapable of addressing Millennial issues
Other than better pay or job roles, what are the main reasons why people change jobs?
Other than better pay and job roles, I think some of the reasons why people change jobs are:
- Lack of Career Advancement opportunities in their existing organization.
- Not satisfied with the Leadership and Senior Management of the organization. (Includes the Boss).
- Not happy with the Work Culture or Work Environment.
- Not adequately recognized in the organization.
- Stifling HR policies and a rigid atmosphere.
- Generation gap with the peer group.
- Lack of learning opportunities.
- Lack of opportunities to take meaningful decisions.
What makes a really effective P.M. programme?
An effective Performance Management programme must have the following four stages fully integrated and seamless:
The framework must uphold the importance of aligning one stage to the other, in order to affect the status of the organization in the long run. It cannot be implemented in silos or in disconnected parts. For instance, a performance appraisal is just a part of the system. As we have noted in traditional PMS, this alone does not deliver much meaning to the Management and the Employees. Thus, each stage is composed of critical activities that build on the readiness for the next stage. Moreover, every stage has a pre-requisite activity to psychologically prepare acceptance and commitment to it.
A good framework should also emphasize performance discussion and coaching as a frequent practice to drive high performance.
In today’s context, being in tune with the Millennial mindset is of prime importance. This can be a subject of a completely different discussion, but in a nutshell, I would highlight some of the specific ways in which Millennials are different from the older generations and what are the motivators against each of these mindsets that should be factored in a Performance Management System that would be effective today:
- Confidence bordering on Overconfidence: The first thing that you would notice in a Millennial is confidence. They have been brought up in a society enlightened by empowerment, freedom of speech and choice, immediate rewards, and quick access to information. The motivation, therefore, that needs to be built in the PMS is Empowerment.
- Thirst for Learning: Today they can get the answer to any question through a few clicks on the internet. They are always eager to learn new knowledge and skills. They seek opportunities to stay relevant and competitive. The motivation, therefore, that needs to be built in the PMS is Development.
- Sociability: Millennials value relationships. Families and friends are a major source of their happiness. This is manifested in their Facebook posts of celebrations, outings, dine-outs, and other gatherings that connect them with others. In the workplace too, friendships are critical for them. They stay in companies where they have built positive relationships in; have mentors; superiors they can relate with on shared experience, and where they have fun working in teams. This is a generation that can get results by connecting with others. The motivation, therefore, that needs to be built in the PMS is Team Working.
- A Spirit of Inspiration: They value sharing and making an impact on other people’s lives. They emulate others who inspire them. These may be successful people, celebrities, superiors, teachers, friends, siblings etc. They have a spirit of inspiration, especially manifested in their dreams, not only for themselves but for their families and friends as well. The motivation, therefore, that needs to be built in the PMS is Recognition and Purpose.
- Feedback Savvy: Millennials are used to quick feedback in social media, giving and taking comments from others. At work, they look for authority for guidance. They expect their superiors to invest time in reviewing their work, giving immediate feedback on their performance and providing a clear guide on the way forward. This makes them an ideal team member as they are willing to consider what it takes to progress. The motivation, therefore, that needs to be built in the PMS is Performance Feedback.
- Career Oriented: Money is important to Millennials, but this is not a generation that relates to job security and tenure as a priority. They want challenges, they want to contribute to the organization, and they are ever mindful of growth in their career – and they are impatient. The motivation, therefore, that needs to be built in the PMS is Advancement.
- Flexibility: For Millennials, the capabilities of technology, limitations of location and “Me Time” have opened their need for flexibility. Work, for them, is about tasks to be done; not necessarily reporting from 8 to 5. This flexible mindset extends to their preference for diversity, experience, and adventure. It poses serious challenges for highly traditional and rigid organizations. The motivation, therefore, that needs to be built in the PMS is Flexibility at work
These are some of the avenues to tap into, in order to propel high performance, especially for a Millennial centric workforce. Remember, when they excel, current, managers succeed and the organization thunders on in this changing world.