Performance Management for New Organizations – Part 2

employee feedback on performance management

Why performance management for new age organizations?

Human resource professionals have lost sight of the connect with their people, because of their obsession with high sounding concepts, processes and metrics.

I have in the last decade watched with horror the decadence of our thinking, from engaging and relating to people to managing human resources.

Intervention through medicines and surgery is when illness has gone beyond self-healing. Human body may respond to this but people at workplace respond better to on-going self-healing, because unlike humans, a workplace illness is an epidemic due to the numbers.

To further this argument let me place before you an evidence of “our obsession with performance management”. We have progressed from the absurd to the insane.

We believe that the system and process of budgeting, goal and metrics, will replace the trust and engagement-intensive process between the performer and the boss who enables it.

The argument again is not that goals and metrics are unimportant, but they cannot replace the human process of working with and showing people the way to achieve them. Here again, the clinical mind-set over emphasizes the impersonal aspect of engagement viz tools, MIS and numbers.

We try to make up for this by eulogizing the term ‘feedback’.

But do we realize the way this sits in our minds is also in ‘mechanical system metaphor’. That it will be periodic, goal-focused, result-centric, direct and action-focused.

Brilliant! We could have had this statement for any mechanical or electrical system. But where is the human here? Where is the place for joining in and assisting? Where is the place for handling emotions – fear of failure, anxiety of not knowing the how, disappointment of repeated efforts not yielding results, angst that a peer is speeding along and I am stuck, the shame induced by target-review meetings, the tight stomach at the end of a day of things going wrong and above all, the burden of having to carry the pressure of the bosses’ performance.

Add to all this, the ‘resource’ centered concept of ‘productivity’ and ‘pay for performance’, the damage is complete. Once again, no one is complaining about having to be productive and delivering performance, it is the approach to it which is being questioned.

If we fail to discover the people at our workplaces and dignify their humanness, we are in for a strife-filled period of resource management, irrespective of what the engagement indices will tell us and the cover pages of ‘Best employers study’ may brag.

Ramkumar: Executive Director of ICICI Bank (a large Private Sector Bank) 2 (Excerpts from his article)

Performance Management System for new age organizations – Part 1

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