Moving from performance management to enablement (Part 2)

In the two-part series of “Moving from performance measurement to enablement”, part 1 highlighted the problems we have with current performance management process. In part-2, will be discussing on how organizations can move from performance management to performance enablement.

As stated in part 1, the annual ritual of performance management is dead, future belongs to performance enablement.  Companies who will not leverage this change will potentially lose an opportunity to increase their revenue by up to 9% and reduce cost by up to 7%(Source:: Mckinsey).

The outcome of enabling performance are clear. Done right, it can lead to engaged at work & will be more effective as their careers progress. Let’s look at how you can enable the performance.

1.Re-focus on the Core: Organization Culture

Organization culture is not about dogs at work or yoga (Ben Horowitz). Organization culture is about “how works get done and people alignment with organization customers”. To understand your culture, start with analyzing or run diagnosis about what kind of culture or subcultures have been created in your teams in all these years.  And then put down on paper what kind of culture is required to meet and exceed your customer expectations.The output of this activity will be the expected behaviors from the people in the organization. Identified behaviors should be constantly communicated to employees, and should NOT be limited to poster exercises. This may sound like a theory, but believe me, it’s a science. The only difference is, the secret of this science and how to implement it was till date was available with a handful of companies.

2.Enabling Business Heads and Managers to be Better Coaches

There are two aspects which can enable managers and BU head’s to be better coaches:

  • The way communication is happens
  • The way conversations are handled on giving feedback

The way communication is happens

Your business heads and managers are continuously focused on getting transactions done. They occasionally communicate with their team members about what they are feeling and what challenges they are facing. The medium of communication ‘Town Halls’ and ‘Corporate Emails’ are not effective. Managers and business heads need to be more colloquial with their communication so that people in their team feel more connected to them. The art of chasing numbers are easy, but the art of communication is difficult. You need to enable them to think creatively to communicate well.

The way conversations are handled on giving feedback

How frequently your manager gives feedback to their team members. Either it’s annual, during the performance management process or when projects/assignment & targets turn red. You have to put in a discipline throughout the company to enable these conversations to happen more frequently (at least quarterly).  And employees and managers should be kept in the center for this to avoid adoption failure.

3.Implement a Dynamic Goal Setting Framework

The business world is dynamic where targets and priorities keep changing continuously. But the goals to be achieved remain static throughout the year. And they largely don’t get connected to the day to day work of the employee. An ideal goal setting framework gets connected with the daily, weekly, monthly & quarterly assignments. It should be simple enough to change and track. And it should have the ability to define the performance metrics for every role in the company. OKR is one such goal setting framework which acts more like a management tool and has the ability to link entire organization with CEO’s priorities.

4.Enable More Transparency

Transparency can be enhanced at two level: – team level and company level.

4.1Transparency at team level

There are 3 types of team members. One who think he is a Hercules, one who know he is Hercules and the one who needs to know whether he can become Hercules or not. Within the team, if you can show the data and enable calling a “SPADE a SPADE”, it will help in achieving excellence in execution.What is the different between a non-performer employee of corporate and start-up? In start-up, the shelf life of non-performers is maximum 2 to 3 month; in the corporate its 12 months or more. By enhancing transparency, you will be able to identify non-performers in lesser time and can start working on their development at the faster pace.

4.2Transparency at organization level

An employee always keeps guessing how my work is affecting overall organization progress. And few of them want exposure to more opportunities available, to enhance their career growth. A simple way to achieve this is by making all goals transparent at the company level. You need to show them the path for growth.Employees who want to grow will be able to figure out how to travel on that path.

To conclude, as an HR leader, being an early adopter of initiating the journey of performance enablement,   you will be able to contribute towards business growth in a tangle manner. Newly empowered employees of the digital age are constantly looking for the value proposition from their employers. Companies, new and old alike, and their HR leaders cannot afford to sit on the sidelines.


  1. Focus on how you can determine your sub-culture(s) and fix them.
  2. Enable your managers to be better coaches with continues feedback.
  3. Implement a more dynamic goal setting framework with goals making sense to employees.
  4. Enable transparency in teams with data to identify non-performers by implementing team level OKR’s.