Rethinking Performance Management for the new world of work

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By Gary Flood, Senior Journalist, The HR Congress

Our profession’s largest online event on HR Strategy & Leadership, HR Congress World Summit 2022, was held at the end of November 2022. We’re now revisiting some of the excellent Keynotes, plenaries, panels, and interviews to aid you in your learning journey.



Today, we delve into the great Day Two Performance Management panel chaired by one of the Summit’s great main sponsors, Betterworks.

Adeline Looi, Global Head of Integrated Leadership Development, NESTLE

Employees and at least some employers seem to have accepted the move to hybrid ways of working.

As a result, do we need to start rethinking performance assessment for this next gen of remote teams?

One of the most enthusiastic panel members at a Day Two conversation in the Performance Management section of the Summit, agreed:

“I think this is a great time to be having this conversation; maybe five years ago, all this would have been disregarded by some people in the business as too forward but with what’s happened in COVID, more and more we see the need to transition our entire process from static.”

The speaker is Adeline Looi, Global Head of Integrated Leadership Development at food and drink processing leader Nestlé.

Chaired by Summit sponsor Betterworks’s Amy Culverhouse, Senior Enterprise Account Executive, Looi was joined by Culverhouse’s colleague Jamie Aitken, VP of HR Transformation at the enterprise performance management company.

The trio were joined for the discussion by M Tamra Chandler, Partner/Principal at consultancy EY.

All deeply familiar with both the discipline of modern performance management but also current post-global health crisis workplace best practice of the approach, the panelists covered a lot of highly useful ground.

A key early agreement: without trust, this just ain’t happening. “You don’t need to measure someone clocking in and clocking out,” said Looi again. “You need to trust your people, trust the process, and trust the outcomes. When you can leverage that level of trust in the organization, then things continue to head towards a good direction.”

The employee badge picture trust test

Aitken provided a rather excellent metric to measure trust in an organization (maybe think about it at your environment?): employee picture choice.

“When I’m talking to HR organizations one of the first questions I ask is, Do you let your employees select their own photograph for their badge/lanyard?

“And if the answer is ‘Absolutely not!’ then I know we’ve got a little bit more work to do.”

Aitken immediately cautioned that no organization can’t learn a different path, however:

“There’s a lot of tell-tale signs if there’s trust in an organization or if there’s not and you need to figure out where the culture is at right now—but don’t make the assumption that immediately everything will change, or that it never will, either.” To illustrate her point, Aitken shared a great anecdote about the transformation of a manufacturing client she had helped who went from people literally screaming at each other on the shop floor to genuinely collegiate conversations just a few months later.

Once trust and even maybe a bit of “courage” is being built up, the next ingredient in making a new approach to digital workplace performance management is what change export Chandler called ‘the three Ms’ of mindset, methods, and muscle.

“I think you have to address all three, but what you’re looking for here is educating not just leaders but the whole organization around modern approaches to people and performance, methods that actually reinforce them, and build muscle—having enough of a trusting enough environment to always be able to say, ‘I don’t think we’re living up to what our expectations were here.’”

Looi agreed, joking that not having all three is a bit like going to the gym and exercising just one part of your body.

The session continued to go into practical examples of how to make performance management fit for today’s changed workplace purpose, such as the right way to approach leadership empathy skill building and other highly useful insights.

If you agree that you need to learn this, too—maybe because you don’t let your joiners choose their own badge pic yet, or there’s a bit too much screaming happening around you every day—then click on the link below to enjoy the whole panel discussion at your leisure.

Go here to see the full version of the panel discussion and the entire Performance Management Track

Written by: Katalin Toth

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