CORPORATE BATTLE ON PERFORMANCE FRONTIER

By Aurangzeb Soharwardi

In the volatile and dynamic world of corporations ,SMEs and the Public sector, Performance echoes all around .The individual employee’s performance which has its
reflections in  market performance,financial performance, Sales performance ,Product performance, IT performance,subsequently  leading  to organizational performance ,is of prime concern  to the management. Socioeconomic scenario , Competition and market 
situation makes it more important to survive and thrive for a company.
Most of  the organizations have persistent performance issues as the employees perform much below their capacity. Some times the individual performance enhances the organizational performance during a certain period but does not gets sustainable.Some times the organizations confront low performance due to their mis governance , Poor
work systems and processes or sub standard human resource management. Although  PERFORMANCE and performance management have become cliché but lacks proper application. Organizations  facing enormous performance issues have very
less understanding lack implementation of comprehensive frame work based on objective performance policies .Failure to adopt best practices is also another impeding
factor. Besides this , another daunting fact about poor performance is the lack
of interest of employees and organizations in training programs and activities.
Implementation of coaching and mentoring has also diminished considerably  .All this results into  low productivity and efficiency with poor resource  utilization , declining profits & suspected sustainability subsequently leading to lower productivity
standards in the society , reduced GDP ,decreasing graph of the overall economy.  According to Leigh Branham, who wrote the book The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave: How to Recognize the Subtle Signs and Act before it’s Too Late (AMACOM, 2005), most of the top reasons employees quit companies is centered on performance management: a bad boss, a lack of opportunities for advancement, too little feedback, or the job was not what they expected. Receiving feedback is a normal human desire—we
always want to hear from our loved ones that they care about us. Although we
probably are not going to tell our employees we love them, they at least want
to hear we like and appreciate them and their efforts. Effective feedback is
necessary for employees to grow, improve, and perform at a higher level. In
order to ensure sustainable performance , the organizations have to literally
fight a consistent battle on performance frontier. To do that , a complete
performance frame work has to be chalked out which can be very pragmatic and
useful for organizations to not only enhance performance but also to make it sustainable
for consistent growth. There is an individual component and an organizational
component in performance management. Before revamping performance management
frame work some questions have to be asked like do we and  how much we care about performance ,Is the culture supporting & encouraging performance, Is there a performance management system integrated with the philosophy, vision & objectives ,do
we have a pragmatic performance management process, Are we measuring
performance accurately. Do the managers know how to measure and appraise
performance, Is there a viable accountability & justice system, Is
performance being  rewarded & improved.  According to a study conducted
by Campbell in 1990 ,Performance is a behavior leading to results. It has three
types and two dimensions with eight elements ,five main ingredients based on three
stages of performance management .Further more there are about thirty  Human Resource management concepts related to it. Fifteen different  theories are related
to performance besides many personal traits & organizational factors .Two
very significant aspects of performance are key performance indicators and the
critical success factors. The process of performance management must start  with formulating a comprehensive frame work which contains business philosophy ,performance culture ,performance policy and a performance administration  mechanism.Then  a complete performance management system has
to be devised encompassing vision ,strategy and mission of the
organization,systems,performance management process , desired behaviors,
actions and results.It makes a performance chain having  important ingredients linked to each other like vision / strategy ,organizational objectives,departmental objectives,team
objectives,individual objectives, key result areas,key performance indicators
and    critical success factors. Then there are various methods of performance appraisal , performance measurement scales and techniques.Now the leading global companies are moving further towards performance improvement strategies.Two prominent researchers Pun and White (2005) argued that a Performance Management System  must be linked to an achievement strategy which can take a variety of forms: greater focus on stakeholder value, pleasing stakeholders, motivating people and improving and innovating services and products. According to a study of Harvard business review, historical and economic context has played a large role in the evolution of performance
management over the decades. When human capital was plentiful, the focus was on
which people to let go, which to keep, and which to reward—and for those
purposes, traditional appraisals (with their emphasis on individual accountability)
worked pretty well. But when talent was in shorter supply, as it is now,
developing people became a greater concern—and organizations had to find new
ways of meeting that need.Marcus Buckingham in his article published in Harvard
business review has defined six characteristics of an efficacious performance
management system , First, it must be a real-time system that helps managers give “in the moment” coaching and course-correcting.
Second, it must be a system with a super light touch. Third, it must feel to the individual employee that it is a system “about me, designed for me.
Fourth, and crucially, it must be a strengths-based system. Fifth, it must be a system focused on the future. Finally, it must be a local (customized)system. Paula H. Harvey. A senior HRM specialist advocates that Companies need to start adopting a healthy attitude toward reviews. Supervisors need to prepare for the review thoroughly, address both effective and poor job performance, and encourage continual improvement. They should involve the employee in the conversation and set goals, following up on progress. Evaluate performance continually, not just with formal annual appraisals. Best practice is to have the employees evaluate management, too.If the mindset is changed to a positive one, Performance Management can be a rewarding program for employees, management and the organization as a whole. Companies must decide that it is a business imperative to create a system that fits their culture motivating, engaging, and retaining their employees. In Pakistan , the economic scene is rapidly changing due to intensive use of technology and global competition but the companies are not paying much focused attention to performance management.If the companies in Pakistan wish to survive the tough competition and make them sustainable , they must work diligently and consistently on formulating a comprehensive and pragmatic performance management system based on a supporting performance culture.It requires changing the orthodox mindset about performance. If the mindset is changed to a positive one, Performance Management can be a rewarding program for employees, management and the organization as a whole. Companies must decide that it is a business imperative to create a system that fits their culture motivating, engaging, and retaining their employees.

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