Tuesday, 31 July 2012

EPFM:A two way feedback mechanism


Almost all organizations conduct performance reviews for employees in one way or the other. Performance reviews are conducted on a set half yearly or yearly basis. Regardless of when they are performed, performance reviews are important to both the employee and the supervisor. Employee performance reviews serve to gauge employee performance and allow a formal setting to speak about expectations. There are several ways for an organization to maximize this procedure and ensure employee review effectiveness.
About a year ago we had an opportunity to work on some HR initiatives, one of which was to establish a work environment where performance mattered- to create a performance culture. And that is what we did. Over a period of 12 months we incorporated the Employee Performance Feedback Mechanism (EPFM) at People Equity (EPFM is a tool developed by our consultants and it enables the organization to manage and enhance performance of its staff through systematic developmental feedback).
We began with implementing the performance feedback mechanism for our staff. EPFM follows a systematic method of linking organizational vision, mission and goals to individual outcomes and creating a structure of ownership and accountability, adequately supported by developmental initiatives. The EPFM’s uniqueness is the fact that it is driven in a feedback mode, rather than the rating scale approach of most Performance Management Systems. This system completely eliminates the use of rating scales. Additionally EPFM provides for two-way feedback to be recorded and acted upon, ensuring supervisors carry accountability for the performance of their teams.
The appraisal exercise outputs were utilized to prepare a progression plan for the staff as well as for each division/ department. Employees who are currently doing justice to their role, achieving majority of the goals, displaying  positive performance traits expected of them, were put on developmental plan that enables them to continue growing by enhancing their skills, adding new responsibilities and setting higher goals. These staff may be considered for training, sponsorships to courses, considered for promotion etc. The employees with larger number of unaccomplished goals or higher degree of need for performance improvement were put under the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Staff under EAP are provided a special assistance in terms of re-skilling, re-orienting, mentoring/ counseling etc. as needed for a specified duration to enable them to improve their performance, failing which the organization may be forced to take a decision on separation.
Through 4 cycles of reviews over a period of one year we clearly benefited from the implementation of the EPFM- 
  •   Creating an engaged workforce
  • Making employees accountable for their decisions and actions
  • An increased employee productivity and quality of work.
  •   Employees experienced greater job satisfaction.

“A mechanism that eliminates fear and builds trust between staff”
Along the way we observed factors for the success of EPFM:
  •  A performance management system should be such that it clearly links individual and team performance to the goals of the organization.
  • All employees must understand the performance management system, the process-how it works, measures and should be able to clearly communicate.
  • All employees must be committed to the system. As soon as the commitment waivers, the system will fall into disuse.
  • All supervisors must be accountable for using the system diligently, faithfully and with integrity.
  •  All supervisors must be trained to use the system. All supervisors should clearly be able to use the system, how to apply it to both good performance as well as poor performance.

Of course there are number difficulties in the success of a performance management system. But it is believed that a well designed performance management system and a strong managerial commitment can be hugely beneficial to the organization.