Jan 11 2021

Performance Management in a Post COVID scenario: Emerging Trends and Tools

“PERFORMANCE drives ENGAGEMENT and not vice-versa. When people perform well, they get engaged. And that should be the key focus when HR teams re-design and revamp their performance management systems.”

by  Sriram Iyer, Founder & CEO, hrtech.sg

HR TEAMS have now stopped asking as to when work would be “back to normal”. As a result, there is an unprecedented demand for Digital HR adoption and HR teams are looking for newer systems to automate and digitalize their HR processes.

And a key aspect of the HR function that has been impacted by the pandemic is the Performance Management System (PMS). Infact, HR teams of all sizes are now forced to not only modify but look at revamping them to meet the fast-changing business needs. 

With work-from-home (WFH) becoming the new reality, personal living spaces have become the new workplace. Hence there is a strong need for performance management to become more decentralized, continuous and agile.

In 2019, pre-COVID, let’s take a look at what people were saying about Performance Management when employee performance reviews were already in desperate need of an update. 

  • According to Gallup, only 14% of employees believed that the performance reviews they received actually helped them improve. 
  • According to Gartner, 81% of HR leaders were considering changes to performance reviews in 2019. (And this has become 87% in 2020). 
  • CEB's whitepaper even boldly mentioned 'Nobody enjoys performance reviews.

Here are some key trends that are emerging in the PMS space: 

1. “Annual Form-filling event" To “Frequent Performance Conversations”

Performance Appraisal is slowly undergoing the image of a once-in-a-blue-moon “Form Filling” event to a format of more Frequent Performance Conversations, real-time catch-ups and development conversations, with questions like: What is happening? What is going well? What needs to be made better/changed? What help is required?

And Gallup polls have indicated clearly that employees whose managers regularly communicate with them are more engaged, than those whose managers rarely interact with them. Frequent reviews, instead of the stressful and cumbersome yearly reviews, have been found to increase employee engagement, reduce employee turnover, and improve employee satisfaction.

2. “Closed-door” to “Remote, tech-based” Conversations

Discussions are Shifting from closed-door discussions to remote, technology-based conversations. Tech-powered continuous feedback allows companies to iterate and thereby improve on a continuous basis, giving businesses the much-needed flexibility to evolve to meet ever-changing customer needs. 

Leveraging tech has many benefits like customised goals tracking, 360 feedback, Instantaneous feedback and recognition. It enables HR teams and Managers to take prompt action on performance data, and be agile in re-crafting goals and KPIs to meet current business needs. Not just that, big data algorithms can spot patterns that humans might not. AI capabilities can help take you to the next step and help employees quickly view the steps they need to take to improve.

3. A shift in “Focus on Process” to “Focus on Objectives” 

HR leaders must focus on delivering the exact value that employees and businesses expect from the PMS. HR teams should focus on spending less time on how to simplify the performance management process and “instead focus on how to make performance management more useful and outcome-driven and results-oriented.”

4. “Lack of clarity” to “Continuous and Clear Communication” 

There needs to be a continuous communication of the business needs and its performance, and employees’ goals and the related action taken. This is significantly different from earlier times when employees were unclear of the performance management process. HR teams must also be sure to communicate the rationale for customizing the employees’ goals in an open and transparent manner. 

5. “Manager” to “Mentor / Coach”

Giving real-time feedback to employees and acting when the information is fresh translates into coaching which helps employees leverage their strengths. In fact, mentorship or a coaching culture between managers and team members is becoming a key mandate of a high performing workplace of the future.

6. “Consumer” to “Creator”

There is an increased need for transfer of control of personal performance development to employees from the HR teams or Managers. HR and Management should ensure that employees are the creators, and not just the consumers, of broader performance redesigns. Employees need to be provided with structured guidance and tools to individualize their performance management experiences and plans, and thereby employees to identify where their accountabilities intersect with others and construct a detailed plan for collaboration. 

Today, the market is flush with best-in-class performance management tools that can help Enterprises of all sizes in making their PMS robust, agile, and continuous. Some of these tools include EngageRocket, Fitbots OKR, Flowyteam, KPISOFT, PeopleStrong, and Synergita.

To understand how companies are managing "employee alignment to goals", and engaging them to the right outcomes, Fitbots & hrtech.sg are collaborating on "Future of Strategy Execution with OKRs 2021 & Beyond Survey". If you are an HR professional, participate in our survey to help us understand how you are leveraging this super-efficient framework or how you can take the leap of faith and gain greater benefits by using OKRs.

PERFORMANCE drives ENGAGEMENT and not vice-versa. When people perform well, they get engaged. And that should be the key focus when HR teams re-design and revamp their performance management systems.


Sriram Iyer is the founder & CEO of hrtech.sg, a Singapore- headquartered #hrtech market development and analyst firm. A Human Resources practitioner with over two decades of experience, he is also a Certified Strengths Coach and a passionate #hrtech advocate. In his career, he has played leadership roles with the Singtel Group Enterprise and Nasdaq-listed Cognizant Technology Solutions. LinkedIn


Shows only hrtech.in recommended products

Subscribe to the preferred newsletter of HR Technology enthusiasts.


Ikigai Enablers Pte. Ltd.
#05-95, 18 Boon Lay Way,
Singapore - 609966

Follow hrtech.in