Managing organisational performance post Covid-19

Author, Dr Caroline Sekiwano. PHOTO/COURTESY. 

What you need to know:

  • One of the greatest contributions of Covid-19 to the corporate world has been a mindset change fueled by absolute necessity. 

It is no surprise that organizational stress and anxiety are hitting all-time highs amidst the pandemic third wave in Uganda.Ongoing uncertainty coupled 

with complex family needs, potential financial strain and the return of children to school a er two years of disturbance presents a unique challenge for everyone and therefore employees’ worries are likely to be amplified. 

Organisations need to re-evaluate aspects of their performance management to better respond to the current context of their programmes. Performance management is the process of identifying, measuring, managing, and developing employees and their work in support of accomplishing the strategic objectives of organisations. 

Some companies have decided to skip this process because of the disruptions brought about by the pandemic, however, this is a pivotal moment for them to improve their performance management processes. Performance management conversations can be a daunting experience for managers and employees when they are not carried out properly. Carrying on with your performance management process without any amendments in these times will likely lead to negative experiences for your employees leading 

to increasing burnout, declines in perceptions of fairness, and could even result in managers holding back critical feedback. 

One of the greatest contributions of Covid-19 to the corporate world has been a mindset change fueled by absolute necessity. 

Organisations need to set fresh goals since many goals may no longer be relevant due to discontinued projects and fast-changing priorities. 

Having year-end performance conversations without relevant or updated goals could result in poor outcomes.Managers and teams should update goals on a weekly or even real-time basis and discontinue the- goals that no longer apply, maintain ongoing discussions on what adds the most value and what are markers of success.Managers should move beyond annual KPIs and introduce a more agile, quarterly rhythm to more effectively manage distributed teams. With remote working many managers feel they don’t have good visibility in- to employees’ performance while employees may also feel more anxious in these circumstances and this is likely to negatively affect performance. Therefore, in addition to the year-end appraisals, managers should conduct ongoing development for employees, introduce new ways of work- ing such as daily check-ins/-outs and regular retrospectives, reinforce the importance of feedback sessions and provide guidance on how to conduct them remotely. This is an opportunity to instill a more permanent feedback culture. 

Employers need to focus on rewarding the clear over-performers in the year end appraisal while developing others and defer or flex the timing of formal reviews if needed but ensure that there is still a mechanism in place for evaluation of performance. 

Organisations should as much as possible send positive signals to their employees by continuing to reward and promote the highest performers and to emphasise that performance management is about development and growth and not a backdoor to justify headcount reductions.Fairness remains the foundation for effective performance management, and as the year begins, it is imperative that organisations, employers get this conversation right.One key lesson that organisations should learn in these uncertain times is that resilience and innovation is essential to survive any crisis. 

Dr Caroline Sekiwano is a human resource & organizational development advisor.


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