World is going through challenging times and fight with COVID-19 pandemic crisis is still on. We keep deliberating on economic contraction and de-globalization due to several fundamental forces triggered by this crisis, trade protectionism etc., but reality is business environment will continue to remain uncertain for few more months before normalcy is restored or we may see totally a new normal. Not only with COVID-19 crisis but many organizations are fighting with their own complexities and limitations such as quick response and adaptation to change, ensuring people productivity and on-time delivery of projects. In this context, Business & HR leaders need to think beyond the horizon and innovate people practices to align with organization strategic goal and ensure long term sustainability.
Agility in Decision Making & Product/Service Delivery, Adaptability to continuously changing environment and Responsiveness towards customers and employees are key to organization’s success & future.
One of the important aspect in present context is Organization Performance Management. In the prevailing crisis scenario, we are bound to work from home and monitoring work discipline, performance & productivity remotely can be very challenging. Instilling culture and values among new hires will be tough while working remotely in a virtual environment. Therefore, we need to prepare our workforce and leaders both in various aspects to be future ready. Leaders, Team Members and HR professionals, each one has to play a crucial role:
- Leaders/ People Managers perspective: We have to think on new leadership styles and approaches, how leaders should enable team members to perform better and how they should leverage their creativity and potential to the fullest in these trying times. Which skills to acquire and what values to live with, whether Emotional Intelligence, Crisis Leadership or Adapting to continuous changing business environment.
- Employees Perspective: At the same time, employees also need to be prepared on various aspects such as learnability for acquiring new skills, resilience to achieve desired business outcomes, living with core values like Integrity and Excellence at work and adapting to new role changes based on business needs.
- HR professional perspective: Its need of hour for HR leaders to revisit Policies and SOPs on career pathing, the need to provide flexibility in roles so that employees acquire new cross-functional skills and be future ready by building multi-skilled workforce. Design training programs which are aligned with organization needs for future competencies to sustain in competitive market. As we are forced to work in a virtual environment during this pandemic, when monitoring performance & productivity remotely will become quite challenging, we need to look out for new productivity and performance monitoring tools and bring in total rewards strategy to drive high growth culture. HR experts need to think beyond routine goal setting and performance ratings. Generally, we expect employees to be more adaptive, flexible to new roles and resilient to drive desired business outcomes but we should not only look into what an organization or people manager expects from an employee in terms of performance or behavior rather we should focus on what an employee expects from a people manager or leader to be more productive. People manager development programs can equally support the vision of building high performance culture.
With my previous experience in large conglomerates, I feel exploring holistic tools like Balanced Score Card approach or its derivatives can help in establishing Accountability, Alignment and Agility in the organization culture.
I believe that before thinking of driving high performance culture, an organization should build and inspire high trust culture which becomes the foundation to high performing culture and should think beyond traditional performance management approach. In current scenario and post COVID-19 world, where fear and uncertainties still prevail, we as HR professionals need to ensure that each individual in the organization is driven by purpose and is aligned with organization’s long term goals. To improve individual performance, an employee should not only stick to short term milestones but be driven by larger purpose and contribute for organization success in long run.
Organizations need to build culture wherein employees are driven by purpose to achieve common goal, strive to go extra mile, take ownership and become consistent achievers. People Managers also need to ensure conducive environment and adequate enablement to each team member to perform at their best. This kind of cultural approach will ensure sustainability of any business in long run.
Several researches show engaged employees are 20% more productive and Trust is the basic foundation of employee engagement. But do we practice and strive to build high trust culture in real sense? I believe that we all need to build an ecosystem to enable high performance and rewarding culture for employees. An “Inspiring Trust” can be the key determinant for driving high performance.
Let us see how “Inspiring Trust” at all levels in an organization and in each employee interaction connects to drive performance and financial results both. If we shift our lens from what organization expects from an employee to what an employee expects from a people manager and work towards it, then organization can leverage full potential and expect long term commitment from employees. The final objective remains same to ensure ‘continuous and consistent performance of an employee in long run.
How Leaders or People Managers can win trust of an employee and inspire them to go extra mile and build high performance and rewarding culture:
People Managers responsibility towards team members is not only limited to goal setting and formal review, not only to reward for achievements or reprimand for failure, but its beyond that. They should be equally responsible and empathetic to enable their team members to perform at their best by leveraging their potential to fullest. They need to take ownership to develop every team member. If manager is unable to act as an enabler, problem solver or catalyst, the trust breaks and team members’ performance dip. And if people mangers inspire high trust, it triggers self-drive, improve on productivity of an employee and lead to consistent performance. These enabling factors can be proper suitable guidance to overcome roadblocks in projects, periodic feedback on success factors and areas of improvement, and providing adequate resources to perform seamlessly. Candid and Positive feedback can be more helpful for team member in prevailing crisis.
Trust is of prime importance and it appears everywhere. It comes to play in every interaction or transaction between a people managers and team members. People Manager can focus on few tips to engage talent and inspire trust among team members on continuous basis.
- Instilling trust: Trust is inherently there when mangers sets goals and expectation for any project or assignment. While setting goals and expectations, it’s better to decide on key success factors and milestones in the beginning itself to avoid any future conflicts or frustrations during performance reviews. Listening to employee challenges during review or feedback sessions further improves trust factor.
- Instilling sense of purpose: While sharing expectations or intent, many a times its necessary to discuss and answer to WHY (this goal), WHAT (exactly is the goal) and HOW (approach to achieve goal). This practice helps in aligning individual purpose and effort to organization’s objectives and ensures sustained results. Clear and consistent communication in this regard makes huge difference in trust and engagement levels. The outcome of this is, employees are self-driven by purpose, more result focussed, long sighted than short sighted. This will leave a long lasting employee experience and ensure long term success of individual and thereby Organization at large.
Few new shifts are expected in performance management system in new normal: (refer infographic)
Each one of us, Leaders, People Managers, HR Business Partners and Employees have to play our role as an enabler to build an ecosystem to drive high performance and rewarding culture in an organization (refer context >> role--perspectives). We all need to think beyond the horizon and anchor on new PMS shifting trends (as mentioned in infographic).
“Inspiring Trust” and ensuring “Individual--Organization Performance Alignment” is the key to sustained business performance in the new normal.