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Building Performance Management: A Holistic Performance Assessment Approach

May 8, 2024

Donna (Head of People and Culture at AIRR Labs) shares how to balance KPIs and behavioural competencies in the performance evaluation process, and most importantly, getting a buy-in from the stakeholders.

Fukuko: Could you share a bit about how the performance evaluation works? Is it solely the manager who measures the performance, and how does the behavior side of the evaluation work? Is it more of a 360-degree assessment? Lastly, is the breakdown structured 50-50?

Donna: At the beginning, the manager is responsible for measuring KPIs because employees need to get used to being evaluated on these metrics. There must be a foundation for this evaluation. If you're unfamiliar with KPIs, you might over or under score. Currently, team leads are doing the scoring. However, there is a process where employees can express their thoughts on the scores before they are finalized.

There is also an opportunity for one-on-one discussions to clearly explain the process. We're rolling out a learning program to help them understand how to effectively participate in performance management evaluations. The measurement is based on set metrics and realistic examples of when the competency was demonstrated. It's not just a generic, flowery description.

As an HR professional, my role is to ensure there is a basis for the descriptions and scores. The scoring is not evenly split; it depends on the business and where the employees are located. For example, in a commercial setting where revenue targets and profit sales are the main focus, there's more emphasis on the KPIs versus the behavioral competencies. In HR, where behavior is crucial for performance, the split is 60% KPI and 40% behavior.

Fukuko: In startups, this is one of the most common conversations that arise: how do we get senior leadership's buy-in on the initiatives we want to advance?

As HR and people and culture leaders, could you share more about how you were ultimately able to secure that buy-in to move forward with this initiative? What were some of the challenges?

Donna: Alright. Essentially, I worked closely with my country head. As she’s on the ground, she truly understands the challenges and questions that arise.

I explained that there’s still a behavioural competency that’s part of the measurement, which is based on the organisations core values. It's also in line with the culture we've built, so people won't be overly focused on competition in terms of performance.

Fukuko: But with that, what do you anticipate will be the next steps after this, once this year moves forward? What are some things you would like to focus on around this time next year?

Donna: For me, I believe the sustainability part will be automation. That's one aspect because we're currently doing everything manually. Automation is one. Another thing is addressing individual performance gaps with the L&D program.

Essentially, devising a strong L&D plan to tackle performance and behavioral issues is crucial for the growth and development of our people. Thirdly, succession planning is important. Essentially, creating a robust talent pipeline to ensure that we address the gaps in terms of attrition and leadership pipeline moving forward is the long-term goal.

Additionally, creating a competency framework to strengthen the performance evaluation process so that career pathing will also be a part of it. I understand that creating a CF is a long-term commitment, but I've actually started with a very basic one right now, not per role, but mostly on a per level category.

That's something that I've recently shared with the region, and hopefully, it's something that we can adopt initially and then improve moving forward.

Fukuko: And I think what you mentioned, related to the organizational goal, is really important. Right. The competency framework really needs to tie into what the strategic goals and priorities are, and double down on those competencies that most impact those goals.

Donna: So, if you have the CF, even your recruitment strategy will be clearly set. What type of people will we need for what roles? What are the competencies required for these positions? So, yes, it's amazing.

Fukuko: Well, Donna, thank you so much. This has been a very dense, content-heavy conversation. I really appreciate you sharing. There are so many other questions I would have liked to ask, but perhaps we can leave that for our next follow-up conversation in the future.

Please keep me updated on how this implementation goes. I'd love to hear more about that as well. Thank you so much, Donna. This has been so fruitful.

Donna: Thank you very much!

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