Performance Management: The News Broadcasters Way !

<p>I know what is expected of me at work<br />-Gallup Engagement Survey</p><p>If we look at Telecom and News Broadcast industries, both started in India almost simultaneously. Due to its sheer nature of being customer-centric, Telecom evolved into a process-driven industry and therefore was able to not only attract the best talent but also retain, nurture, and grow the same with its well-oiled and researched people processes.</p><p>On the other hand, though News Broadcast, though, a very people-dependent industry, however, due to a lack of sustainable and robust people practices and processes, in general, relied more on the non-scientific manager's judgement. Therefore, it ended up being one where only a select few grew the corporate hierarchy with a non-process-driven PMS system.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><h2><span style="font-size: 14pt;">Performance Management System</span></h2><p>I am touching upon the most crucial part of HR, the Performance Management System of the news broadcast industry.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Challenges in Performance Management System</strong></p><p>The starting point of the <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">PMS</a> , the KRA setting process, was the first bottleneck. The KRAs were mostly non-objective (other than the sales function, which is driven by numbers that are easy to register and appraise someone). Mostly in functions that aren't driven by numbers, like editorial, content, engineering, etc., in news broadcast, thus leaving most of the ranking decisions on a manager's judgement.</p><p>To worsen it further, the industry has yet to invest much in training its managers on Performance Evaluation and the art of giving performance feedback during annual appraisals. This has resulted in managers shying away from providing candid feedback and the appraisals conducted in absentia of the employee being a part of the appraisal discussions or managers committing those typical mistakes like the recency factor, last recall, etc., resulting in a biased approach.</p><p>The result was, almost always, heartburn and sulking and brooding employees and managers running away from facing the employee.</p><p>Imagine the scenario where you are suddenly broken this news of non-performance at the time of final year-end appraisals, and nowhere in the entire year did you get any feedback so that you could improve!</p><h2><span style="font-size: 14pt;">Steps to Address these Challenges</span></h2><p>The solution obviously lies at the starting point itself, making their KRAs by dovetailing the broader organization objectives into the departmental ones and then drilling it down to the last level of the employee well-defined following SMART methodology so that they can measure their own performance and know their tentative ratings thereby resulting into a less painful process for both the parties.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>KRA</strong></p><p>We picked up even editorial functions where it was difficult to measure the performance and designed the KRAs which were objectified and easy to measure, e.g., if to achieve a specific channel rating during the year for a managing editor is one of the KRA, how it goes down to the input and output editors and further down to the reporter level was the major factor we worked upon. This helps even a reporter as he knows what he is supposed to do to help the channel achieve that rating in the year.</p><p>A well-defined KRA for any employee is the first step in increasing their engagement levels with the organization and also the basic question in Gallup Engagement Survey, as stated in the beginning of this article.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Art of Giving Feedback</strong></p><p>The other thing required was to train the managers on the art of giving feedback and managing the expectations of their team members. This is one tough area as, generally, it's difficult to handle this process since it involves emotions, and we need to get trained in our schools and colleges on how to deal with emotions. The managers are involved in many real-life role plays to ensure that when it comes to giving performance feedback to their team member, he is prepared to handle it.</p><p>So, if an organization can handle the PMS process objectively, it lessens the pain for both parties and goes a long way in establishing a fair and transparent appraisal process.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt;"><em>This article was contributed by our expert <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Pradeep Gulati</a></em></span></p><p>&nbsp;</p><h3><span style="font-size: 18pt;">Frequently Asked Questions Answered by Pradeep Gulati</span></h3><p>&nbsp;</p><h2><span style="font-size: 12pt;">1. What are some of the concerns in the Performance Management System?</span></h2><p><strong>Planning to achieve the desired results</strong></p><p>The biggest problem here is well-defined KRAs, which an individual is supposed to be driving throughout the year, on which her performance will be measured by the year end.</p><p><strong>Measurement</strong></p><p>If you can't measure it, you can't manage it. Performance management is concerned with measuring results, breaking all subjective goals into objective ones as much as possible, and reviewing progress toward achieving objectives as a basis for action. The fundamental principle being&hellip;" what gets measured gets done"</p><p><strong>Continuous Improvement</strong></p><p>Concern with continuous improvement is based on the belief that continuously striving to reach higher standards in every part of the organization will provide a series of incremental gains that will build superior performance.</p><p>This means clarifying what organization, team, and individual effectiveness look like and taking steps to ensure that those defined levels of effectiveness are achieved&mdash;establishing a culture in which managers, individuals, and groups take responsibility for the continuous improvement of business processes and of their own skills, competencies, and contribution.</p><p><strong>Continuous Development</strong></p><p>Performance management is concerned with creating a culture in which organizational and individual learning and development is a constant process. It provides means for integrating learning and work so that everyone learns from the successes and challenges inherent in their day-to-day activities. This also means the training is focused and business-driven rather than based on the whims and fancies of the managers, plus also the fundamental belief that training is NOT the only solution for some issues prevailing in the organization. Gone are those days when managers faced with some issue used to say, "send him to a training program". Remember, IDPs are to be owned by the employee duly supported by his manager for continuous learning to become part of the organization's culture.</p><p><strong>Communication</strong></p><p>Performance management is concerned with communication. This is done by creating a climate in which a continuing dialogue between managers and the members of their teams takes place to define expectations and share information on the organization's mission, values, and objectives. It establishes a mutual understanding of what is to be achieved and a framework for managing and developing people to ensure that it will be achieved.</p><p>How many in the news broadcast business have their values and missions clearly defined, and how are employees dovetailed in owning them up and living them by the day?</p><p>Performance review involves communication between the managers and subordinates involving emotions too. However, alas, many managers shy away from giving performance feedback as they have not been trained to deal with emotions, nor have they been provided any training on how to deal with emotions. The result is a one-sided appraisal done by managers with no performance discussion and feedback given.</p><p><strong>Transparency</strong></p><p>Four ethical principles that should govern the operation of the performance management process. These are:</p><ul><li style="list-style-type: none;"><ul><li>Respect for the individual</li><li>Mutual respect</li><li>Procedural fairness</li><li>Transparency of decision making</li></ul></li></ul><p>&nbsp;</p><h2><span style="font-size: 12pt;">2. What are the tools for performance management?</span></h2><p><strong>Management by Objective (MBO)</strong></p><p>Management by objectives (MBO) is the appraisal method where managers and employees together identify, plan, organize, and communicate objectives to focus on during a specific appraisal period. After setting clear goals, managers, and subordinates periodically discuss the progress made to control and debate on the feasibility of achieving those set objectives.</p><p>This performance appraisal method is used to effectively match the overarching organizational goals with employees' objectives while validating objectives using the SMART method to see if the set objective is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-sensitive.</p><p><strong>360 Degree Feedback</strong></p><p>This is a multidimensional performance appraisal method that evaluates an employee using feedback collected from the employee's circle of influence, namely managers, peers, customers, and direct reports. This method will eliminate bias in performance reviews and offer a clear understanding of an individual's competence. However, this appraisal system needs tremendous maturity in the workforce.</p><p>Its five integral components are:</p><ul><li>Self-appraisals<br />Self-appraisals allow employees to reflect on their performance and understand their strengths and weaknesses. However, if self-appraisals are performed without structured forms or formal procedures, they can become lenient, fickle, and biased.</li><li>Managerial reviews<br />Performance reviews done by managers are a part of the traditional and basic form of appraisals. These reviews must include individual employee ratings awarded by supervisors and the evaluation of a team or program done by senior managers.</li><li>Peer reviews<br />As hierarchies move out of the organizational picture, co-workers get a unique perspective on the employee's performance, making them the most relevant evaluator. These reviews help determine an employee's ability to work well with the team, take up initiatives, and be a reliable contributor. However, friendship or animosity between peers may distort the final evaluation results.</li><li>Subordinates Appraising Manager (SAM)<br />This upward appraisal component of 360-degree feedback is a delicate and significant step. Reportees tend to have the most unique perspective from a managerial point of view. However, reluctance or fear of retribution can skew appraisal results.</li><li>Customer or client reviews<br />The client component of this phase can include either internal customers, such as users of products within the organization, or external customers who are not a part of the company but interact with this specific employee on a regular basis.</li></ul><p>Customer reviews can evaluate the output of an employee better. However, these external users often do not see the impact of processes or policies on an employee's output.</p><p><strong>A word of Caution</strong>: The 360-degree appraisal system needs maturity in the workforce; else, the feeling of vindictiveness creeps in, and animosity thus emerges and is difficult to manage.</p><p><strong>Assessment Centre Method</strong>: The assessment centre method enables employees to get a clear picture of how others observe them and the impact on their performance. The main advantage of this method is that it will not only assess the existing performance of an individual but also predict future job performance. Extensively used by many organizations for selecting future leaders and marking the 'potential' of an employee.</p><p>During the assessment, employees are asked to participate in simulation exercises like in-basket exercises, informal discussions, fact-finding exercises, decision-making problems, role-play, and other exercises that ensure success in a role. The major drawback of this approach is that it is a time and cost-intensive process that is difficult to manage.</p><p><strong>Behaviourally Anchored Rating Scale (BARS)</strong></p><p>Behaviourally anchored rating scales (BARS) bring both qualitative and quantitative benefits in a performance appraisal process. BARS compares employee performance with specific behavioral examples anchored to numerical ratings.</p><p>Each performance level on a BAR scale is anchored by multiple BARS statements, which describe common behaviors that an employee routinely exhibits. These statements act as a yardstick to measure an individual's performance against predetermined standards that are applicable to their role and job level.<br />The first step in BARS creation is the generation of critical incidents that depict typical workplace behavior. The next step is editing these critical incidents into a common format and removing redundancy. After normalization, the critical instances are randomized and assessed for effectiveness. The remaining critical incidents are used to create BARS and evaluate employee performance.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><h2><span style="font-size: 12pt;">3. What are some tips for doing performance reviews in a hybrid or remote setting?</span></h2><p>As per a recent Gartner study, post-Covid, 83% of the companies worldwide plan to allow employees to work in a hybrid way, so it goes without saying that it is here to stay! It's important to be aware of the practices for doing Performance Evaluations of such employees since they may not be sitting in front of you most of the time.</p><p><strong>Focus on deliverables, which is the WHAT part, and not on WHERE AND WHEN</strong></p><p>Establish a clear evaluation criterion. 'Management by observation' can lead to many issues. First, it is not an accurate depiction of performance. 'Time at the desk' and the 'number of hours worked' or 'the number of hours online' (for remote workers) does not translate to productivity.</p><p>Second, it can amplify common workplace biases. For example, employees who are seen regularly around the office are perceived as "dedicated, reliable, committed, and dependable". People who are not visible (means remote workers) tend to score lower on these traits.</p><p>For the hybrid workforce, managers need to focus on deliverables and deadlines during their evaluations, not simply what they observe in the office or online.</p><p>To that end, employees' objectives and expectations must be clear, and specific metrics and deadlines must be met. Managers should use their 1-on-1 check-ins (in-person or virtual) to provide real-time guidance and support, and most importantly, managers need to be documenting their check-ins with employees. This will help minimize other unconscious biases that occur in reviews.</p><p><strong>Your evaluation should be DATA based collected through the right tools</strong></p><p>Employees, particularly remote employees, can be concerned about the lack of face time they would otherwise have in the office. They may be unsure about how their performance will be ranked compared to in-office workers who often get regular face time with their managers.</p><p><br /><strong>Face to Face Conversation with the employee</strong></p><p>About 60% of the communication is based on non-verbal cues; hence, misunderstandings in a voice call can be easy. For performance evaluations and check-ins, face-to-face communication is important. For your in-office workers, meet with them in person. For your remote workers, video meetings are key. It also makes these meetings more personal.</p><p><br /><strong>Take notes throughout the year, don't rely on memory only</strong></p><p>Recency bias can result in a manager disproportionately evaluating an employee's overall performance based on their contributions and accomplishments over the last few weeks and months rather than over the course of the entire review period.</p><p>This is a biased way of assessing employee performance and is unfair to employees who consistently performed their best throughout most of the review period but, for example, may have fallen short of their goals in the past month due to, say, a health issue or family emergency.</p><p><strong>Don't compare employees</strong></p><p>Lastly, remember that each of your employees is unique. Their roles, responsibilities, skillsets, strengths, and weaknesses are different, so it's impossible to compare your workers to one another.</p><p>While this can be particularly tempting, especially when you get so much more face-time and visibility into an in-office employee's day-to-day work than that of a remote or hybrid employee, it's crucial to steer clear of this pitfall.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><h2><span style="font-size: 12pt;">4. What are the trends shaping the future of performance management?</span></h2><p><strong>Mentorship Culture</strong></p><p>Senior HR managers today say that collaboration, constant communication, and a mentorship culture between managers and teams will become the future mandate of a high-performing workplace.</p><p><strong>Driving Growth Mindset</strong></p><p>Growth-focused sentiment runs high in the manufacturing industry, as lockdowns have impacted the most.</p><p>Now the Companies are getting market ready to ride the next wave of change. Creating a growth mindset within employees and amongst teams is of utmost importance.</p><p><strong>Collaboration is the Key</strong></p><p>As lockdowns are breaking the traditional workplace models, rethinking the performance management system was of utmost priority. The work-from-home concept is here to stay longer than expected. Hence, a collaborative methodology between the managers and subordinates is the key to defining the goals, measuring them regularly, and providing performance feedback, and constant endeavor is required to keep raising the bar.</p><p><strong>Outcome Oriented</strong></p><p>'Focus on the outcome rather than the process' is slowly taking over organizational ideologies as enterprises are rooting for objectivity and looking beyond a simple checklist.</p><p><strong>Impact Of Hybrid Workplace</strong></p><p><strong>Continuous Feedback</strong></p><p><strong>Decisions Based On Real-Time Data</strong></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p>
KR Expert - Pradeep Gulati

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