In today’s dynamic global market in order to stay competitive the companies need to cope with the increasing business pressure and the need to become even more effective and efficient. Forward thinking companies such as Neomobile have embraced the Performance Management as a strategic business tool that drives productivity, engagement & compliance.

[*Editor’s note: the author was a Neomobile emloyee until May 2016]

Join us as we discover the mechanism behind a successful performance management with Enrica Lipari.

In recent years, performance management has become an indispensable part of every successful company. Could you tell us a bit more about the process itself and its importance?

I think I could sum up the answer into one simple word: targets. Setting up specific personal targets for each employee and aligning them to global corporate objectives is the key to a good performance. Furthermore, the alignment process all of targets, both personal and general, specific and strategic ones, is essential for establishing a solid base for a team work. It is also very important to set the right targets because only then you can motivate and challenge the employees, and allow their professional growth.

Of course, in order to do that you need to know the people and the system itself, only then you can assign the right objectives, inspect and adapt, and then improve them: it is a constant virtuous process. You can easily imagine it as a spiral of continuous improvement and growth since day one.

The Company knows why it hired you, you should know it too! Only when you have these 2 conditions you can create the right path with occasional “checks” with your HR partner and discuss targets, issues, promotions, job rotations etc.

 

Could you give us an insight on Neomobile’s best practices?

As a tech company, operating in a dynamic mobile industry, with numerous units working on different projects, and also dislocated globally, we tried to introduce a new, so called “objectives matrix”, where each team has a target that directly contributes to the macro target that contains both innovation planning and business planning.

Another best practice that refers to a more personal level, is the culture of constant feedbacks, between colleagues and especially between managers and employees.

It’s the only way to know that you’re on the right track during a task and that you are being efficient and productive, but at the same time also it can indicate how valuable someone is within a team. This is one of the reasons why in Neomobile the performance appraisal meeting takes place minimum 2 times a year, allowing constructive discussion on the points of improvement. In our experience the more feedbacks one receives the more he/she improves and grows within a company.

 

How difficult is it to tighten the link between strategic business objectives and day-to-day actions when it comes to employee engagement?

It’s all about having a dynamic and flexible mindset, on all levels. Our business is constantly evolving and with it our priorities too. This is why we are becoming more agile, splitting the big macro tasks into smaller ones, and with the right feedback at the right moment the employee engagement and satisfaction becomes very attainable. The coherence is also very important, no matter how big or small the targets are, they need to be carefully aligned: only then you can have a fully motivated and engaged employee.

 

What is the relationship between talent management and performance management?

These two concepts are very different but also very connected. I often think of talent as a hidden quality that a person has, and only when it emerges on the surface it can be called a good performance. Sometimes it stays hidden forever, because it needs specific conditions in order to rise.

A vast majority of people working in our industry is very curious, and have different skill sets, so basically not having a talent program is a great risk for a company: without it you might never discover someone’s high potential. Therefore I think that both talent management and performance management are essential for every dynamic and technological company.

 

In tech companies like Neomobile the work environment is very collaborative, social and fast paced. Do you think that performance management will also become more agile?

Neomobile’s performance management process is already becoming agile! In the HR environment agile referrers to 3 basic concepts:

Transparency – targets have always been considered something very private and personal, but we realized that if all members of the team are informed on their targets they perform better and the work atmosphere is more collaborative and productive

Constant feedbacks – we are adopting the so called “iterative and incremental process” from the agile methodology, which is an evolutionary cycle of continuous actions, feedbacks and improvements

Precise target timeframe – targets need to be well defined and scheduled at the moment of their setting, only in this way you can provide a good and timely feedback

As a part of agile adoption we are also experimenting new approaches, for example in 2014 we tested a new way of evaluation called “360”, where the feedback on one’s performance and teamwork arrive not only from the supervisors, but also from colleagues from all organizational levels. Even though it has numerous positive aspects, as it helped us fine tune individual performance and reliability of each employee, we also realized that some evaluations were not “helpful” at all, since they were based on personal and not professional experiences. For example, if you’re fond of your colleague and you appoint the maximum vote based on their personality and not their performance on a specific task, you are not helping them, you’re doing the opposite. This is why we need to invest into better tools that will allow us to guide the evaluation if we want a precise and valid result.

 

What is your advice to your fellow colleagues for a successful performance appraisal?

Above all, you need to understand what the company and your team expects from you, what you expect from your role and what you can do to improve your results and achieve your objectives. Also, you need to know what is considered a good performance, and only then you can fully understand if your position and your duties are suitable for you. If these conditions are fulfilled you will have the right motivation to achieve your goals. Of course, you need to have the right competences and skills to do it, but with the right motivation and enthusiasm you can always ask your HR partner to help you improve, to provide the right tools or trainings that will facilitate your work and at same time challenge you to aim for better results. This is how you’re able to face your objectives with tranquility and confidence, because you are satisfied with your performance and you’re motivated, you learn new things, you grow continuously and there are no obstacles to achieving the highest possible results.

In the end, it’s all about communication. But I’m not talking about a simple exchange and flow of information and ideas from one person to another, rather the effective communication, that occurs only if the receiver understands the exact information or idea that the sender intended to transmit. This is why asking the right question at the right time often provides a solution for any kind of problem.

Be curious, never stop asking and discovering, step out of your comfort zone – it will help you improve and grow, and achieve your goals.