The COVID-19 pandemic has emerged as a change management lever for the corporate world over, thereby forcing most organizations to develop newer ways of doing business. Most of the organizations across industries must establish newer organizational structures to stay relevant and competitive. The way companies grow and progress must be aligned to the changing work paradigm and evolving consumer behaviour. The latter is being influenced by three major factors:
- Customers prefer to transact business virtually in the post pandemic era.
- The spending patterns of customers has seen a decline owing to de-growth in the economy. Hence businesses must find unique ways to communicate and connect with them.
- People have changed their priorities with health being on top of their list, while saving most of their earnings to secure their future.
How do organizations respond to the challenge?
In the current environment, organizations must reshape themselves to fit into the changing landscape and create dynamic processes. It is only imperative that the performance management system should be revisited, recalibrated, and tracked for better aligned results. While the performance gets reviewed by the manager at defined intervals, organizations also need to create innovative approach to manage and monitor employees’ productivity which will play a pivotal role in the wellbeing of the organization. This can be done in three ways:
- Re-designing of future workspaces to accommodate physical distancing and ensuring the customer is continued to be extended world-class services even if s/he wishes to stay indoors.
- Agility is going to be the foundation to succeed for organizations and all such enablers should be encouraged. In a rapidly changing work environment, the old hierarchies may not be relevant while newer, dynamic organization structures with fluid teams will become the new normal. The evolved organization structures should enable seamless process to create and dissolve cross-functional teams which could collaborate to work and deliver on new projects and work assignments as they arise.
- Employee’s performance will now have to be measured basis assessment of their achievements virtually.
Categorization of employees in the new paradigm
With the paradigm change towards managing organizations in the post Covid era, the new ways of working for employees can be classified into four major categories which shall further impact the Performance management and Productivity Measurement (PMPM) model. The employee categorization can be done basis their ability to work virtually:
- Work from Home: These employees shall be working remotely to deliver on their work requirements, and will not be physically present along with their managers at the same location. As a result, the job description for this section of employees should include metrics for measuring their work efficiency and performance effectiveness and the PMPM framework becomes extremely critical for this category.
- Hybrid employees: There will be certain employees within the organization who shall work partially from home and partially at the workplace. Their job descriptions would need close ended planning to ensure that there is no overlap and schedules of other employees are not disrupted. The PMPM framework for this category should incorporate checkpoints so that the provided flexibility is not exploited by the employees.
- Floating employees: This category would include employees who are primarily working in field roles such as frontline sales profiles. Such employees cannot work from a fixed location but are required to be mobile. The PMPM framework will be primarily defined around their performance as they are governed by definite and measurable targets.
- Work from Office: Factory workers or healthcare workers have to mandatorily work from their assigned place of posting/ location. These employees cannot be provided any flexibility to work from other locations due to the infrastructural support as well as job requirement.
Each of these categories will require a customised PMPM framework which should specifically define the goals, metrics and action plans. For each of them, deliverables should be further cascaded to individual task level which should be reviewed at defined frequency. It is even more important to measure inputs which becomes as important as output for the employees who shall be working remotely.
Another type of workforce that is emerging is the gig workers or freelancers. They are hired for the talent they bring to the company and the same performance matrices will apply to them.
Performance management must be aligned to altered work structures
The above mentioned categorisation of the workforce has resulted in emergence of new roles and job families in the revamped organization hierarchy. This would also impact the job sizes to either expand or shrink which shall then be linked to the PMPM model. Consider the following examples:
- For agile workers who work in different teams besides attending to their own routine business tasks, their role and the time spent in each project should be clearly defined in order to give their managers a clear appraisal of their efficiency on the job.
- For those who have to make calls from home, companies will have to institute measures to assess quality of calling along with the various other aspects that the manager could have ascertained visually in earlier times.
Further, PMPM framework must be aligned with the compensation structure which in turn must be linked to evolved work paradigm. Incentive structures will have to be re-defined in the light of changing customer behaviour and new ways of working. The entire value proposition will need to be revisited and communicated in an open, transparent manner to maintain trust of both the employees as well as the customers.