Sadek El-Assaad, Business Coach & Mentor/ Chief HR Officer at Aramex

Sadek El-Assaad is a results-oriented Global Human Resources Executive with 20+ years’ experience delivering HRM services to some of the world’s largest organizations. A Pioneer in change management and an expert in organizational transformation, Sadek has joined Aramex in 2016 as the Chief Human Resources Officer with a strong-willed focus on strengthening and accelerating the company’s transformation and a high commitment to rejuvenate the Aramex culture as a modern and progressive employer through people practices, building a culture of engagement, agility and innovation. Sadek engages key stakeholders with inspiring leadership to optimize organizational
effectiveness to exceed commercial expectations.

As a Business coach, Sadek has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs in the GCC and MENA region create and implement actionable business plans while understanding the complexities of their business, its cost structures, revenue streams, and competition. Additionally, he supports warm introductions with potential customers, partners, and investors through his vast network of connections.

What is currently missing in the way overall employee performance is being managed?

When you say Performance Management, a room full of managers goes silent. Everyone immediately starts thinking of the burden these reviews place on their time – from the cumbersome forms, and rating systems, to the daunting procedures and policies. In fact, there’s an increasing amount of evidence suggesting that dated performance management practices do little to keep employees happy and engaged, and no longer fits the way of business today. According to Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends report, 70% of companies are in the process of reinventing their HR performance management process.

Let’s examine the problems. Start with the fact that performance appraisals are usually annual. Employees require feedback much more frequently than annually (or semiannual). This feedback will help them stay focused and know their priorities to be able to contribute. Most managers believe -and rightly so to a certain extent- that performance reviews rarely focus on developing the employee’s skills and abilities. Moreover, they look at past performances rather than future deliverables. That said, organizations can prevent these problems by establishing a system of two-way conversations, resulting in a complete understanding of what is required, when it is required and how everyone’s contribution measures up. Done correctly, this great exercise would help managers gain insights into what motivates their employees and retain the high performers who are achieving organizational goals.

Given that a company’s workforce now has a significant proportion of virtual and freelance workers, how should performance management include them?

Outsourcing and Crowdsourcing is the future of our workforce. To many organizations, they provide the speed, flexibility, and agility needed and our fast-paced economy. However, many companies find it difficult to manage their performance. The main focus is to concentrate on the end result the outsourced or crowdsourced workforce have on the client. When you interact with a full-time employee, you know what motivates them to get the job done, however, what companies want from the freelancers is the end result only, thus identifying, measuring and monitoring the 3 main results that impact the customer is key to managing the performance of all outsourced and crowdsourced employees.

What are employees, managers and decision makers looking to make performance management more effective?

Employees want a performance management system that is clear, easy to understand and which they can relate to. Direct managers want a system that motivates employees and keeps them focused on what matters most. Higher management wants a system to classify employees and rationalize their pay increase or decrease.

The fact remains that not everyone can impact the overall performance appraisal system. So it’s important that management turns the system into a positive, rewarding process for both themselves and the employees who report to them. This is accomplished by integrating effective communication, goal setting, and employee development plans into their system. Furthermore, a performance review is not an exercise that is done once a year, is an ongoing part of the day to day management.

What are some of the new things being introduced in Performance Management that are working/not working?

Some new Performance management development initiatives being introduced with the help of digital technology concentrating on real-time feedback and communication are contributing well to the improvement of companies performance, however overengineering the process and trying to box employees into categories is still the main challenge facing companies, managers and employees alike.

If not periodic appraisals, then what & how?

The new continuous performance management systems being developed are the key to help managers and employees stay aligned on their performance agreements and directions, however, it is important to keep the system focused on the main criteria the performance measurements without over-engineering the process and/or the outcome. A continuous performance management with 3 to 4 clear objectives for each employee that are clearly measured, monitored and more importantly that can quickly be changed, improved and adjusted based on market changes and better visibility is the answer.

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