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Performance Management System (PMS)
Harish Picture
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Posted 17-10-2008Reply

The PMS followed by each organization has its own pros and cons, which am sure have been weighed before the system was implemented in the first place by the organization. Every organization has its own goals and a PMS definitely is an integral part of it. Having said that, many a time we hear people being despondent about the PMS followed in their organizations. I find it a little strange, because, I would prefer someone to ask me those intelligent questions when being interviewed, and then take an informed decision if he/she wants to be part of an organization which has an X PMS approach in place. Instead, all that we hear is do we have a cafeteria, how many coffee vending machines are there on each floor, do we have a smoking zone in the office, etc. as part of typical questions posed by prospective employees.

I strongly feel that having a very transparent organizational Competency Matrix is the fundamental thing in any PMS. This would be a very time consuming and tedious task, but once it is in place, it would ensure that there is a career map for each employee and a definite direction towards which he/she has to work towards. I am in favor of having a skill based AND minimum period defined between grades/designations/titles as opposed to solely skill based promotions. There is a counselor for each employee who is atleast 2 levels above him in the hierarchy to eliminate any bias. The rating of the counselor depends on the ratings of his counselees to ensure that the counselor drives the counselee towards excellence. The inputs to the Goal setting documents come from the Competency Matrix. Emphasis is on having goals which can be measured. I am sure with this in place, we are all set to start a new year. Goals thus set are evaluated mid-term to ensure there is adequate cushion to the process and results are not evaluated only at the year end. At the end of the year, the final appraisal documents reflect the measurable goals and their progress. It is crystal clear to each employee how he has fared in the past one year and he knows for himself the rating. This avoids a lot of ambiguity and control that typical managers wield in many corporate. By bringing transparency in the system, we also help foster a healthy culture in the firm which aids directly in retention. Moreover, employees clearly see a career map and start treating their jobs as a career opportunity rather than another job stint.

Only skill based promotions do not work in the long run because at the end of the day, a clinical cut of any organization would yield less than 10 % star performers. The bulk of the employee strength would consist of employees who are doing the job they were hired to do, in other words, these are the average performers. When it comes to employee satisfaction surveys or retention endeavors, we look at the overall firm as a whole and not just at the star performers. The industry experience is that the star performers anyway leave, because for them there is an abundance of offers in the job market outside the firm.

Yes, I do agree that it’s impossible to please each employee even with the most transparent PMS and there would be heart burns. But I would term it as an Occupational Hazard for my HR colleagues.

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