Pramoud Rao, Managing Director, Zicom

Feedback should help an employee improve, not affect his self-esteem

Pramoud is the MD of India’s most preferred electronic security company, Zicom. As the former National President of Fire & Security Association of India, he has always believed in value-based leadership and the integration of ideals in business functions.
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In an exclusive interview with GroSum Performance Management eMag, Mr. Pramoud Rao, Managing Director, Zicom Electronic Security Systems,  stated that performance feedback should help an employee improve, not affect his self-esteem !!!

How important is Performance Management in today’s organizations?
Performance management is a mission-critical activity in any organization. Employee performance is after all the key prerequisite to company success.

We at Zicom take this very seriously and ensure that our workforce is constantly reminded of the importance of individual performance for our success through team meeting, reviews, face-to-face discussions etc.

How does Performance Management actually help?
Performance management is a key driver for Zicom. We believe that even if 30-40% of our employees achieve their performance potential, the organization can easily achieve the next level.

In every organization, there are 2 types of employees -the performers and the non-performers. As with others, it is important for us that the ratio of the performers improve and help bring success and laurels to the company. After all, performance management is an important ingredient for the success of our organization.

What are the key gaps in current industry practices in managing employee’ performance?
Usually, Performance Management does not get the attention that it demands as business is very operationally driven and managers don’t get sufficient time to spend on monitoring & tracking the performance of employees. It operates as a knee-jerk reaction whenever there is a problem & people question performance.

Employee feedback must be considered as an important strategic tool that contributes to the way an organization grows and prospers. In most companies, the Performance Management process is done annually. When it is done on an annual basis, the reviewer remembers the latest incidents of work and not the efforts put in by the employee for the rest of the year. This sometimes becomes the major challenge that hinders the success of an organization.

How many employees in your organization & how are you managing their performance?
We are close to 1000 people at Zicom today. Our performance management process is currently evolving and we need to go a long way still.

On a regular basis, performances are reviewed based on the KRAs. Non-performers are regularly monitored & supported in various forums to help improve their work outcomes.

Overall, we focus on defining KRAs for the staff members and improving the performer percentage within the company. It is critical to ensure that such documents are not forgotten or left in a file and people are aware of what it is. That?s why we are trying to find out even better ways to do it.

What makes a really effective Performance Management programme? Any best practices to share?
Humans are creatures of emotions & performance is a topic that requires sufficient maturity, experience, and understanding of the workforce. So, business leaders embarking on a Performance Management programme should take this into cognizance.

Again, communication plays a very important role? we should focus on giving feedback in a positive manner that would lead to the employee?s improvement in work and career. There should be an adequate precaution that feedback is not interpreted negatively and affects the employee?s self-esteem.

Performance Management should be taken up as a mission-critical activity and needs to be championed by a Senior Leader. He/She should drive it with the focus of ensuring the holistic benefit of the workforce as that then becomes the sole driver of future company growth. On the other hand, the Leader should also be careful about how the program is impacting individuals such that it does not backfire and cause conflict & disruption.

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