MUMBAI: Companies are likely to junk strict annual targets this appraisal season and may favour a more dynamic approach, giving managers the freedom to revisit goals periodically as businesses and the economy recover from the impact of Covid.Many companies had to adjust business targets to account for an unusual year. While performance appraisals will remain transparent and largely target-oriented, what’s changed this year — other than the process going virtual — is that it has become more flexible and personal development-oriented. At Marico, the annual performance management cycle has been restructured across all geographies to ensure members are able to map the right targets. “This has ensured a fair and transparent approach in aligning member contributions with desired organisation outcomes,” said Marico CHRO Amit Prakash. Bajaj Allianz General Insurance has formalised appraisals with quarterly evaluations and incentives. With this, 95% of the company is on quarterly/monthly plans. Bajaj Allianz General Insurance CHRO Vikramjeet Singh said, “This has helped align business strategy with goals on a continuous basis. As the market dynamics change, we are able to replicate that into quarterly goals. For employees, they get a very sharp sense of direction and feedback.” While in 2020 targets were revisited midway due to the pandemic, this year they have been set as projected in most of the organisations across sectors, said HR society SHRM India associate director (advisory services) Dedeepya Ajith John. “However, some organisations have the provision to revisit goals from time to time, depending on how the business is moving, instead of just sticking to one for the entire year. This is the shift from annual goals to that of agile goals,” she said. 81265633Performance management at Marico has been adapted to provide a strong response to uncertainties witnessed in the current context and allow for the best possible business delivery. “This has been done through simplification of key business metrics and aligned reward strategies, which are driven by the front-end functions. The targets and metrics were recalibrated and shared on a monthly and quarterly basis to drive focus on the most critical agenda, on the basis of the changing economic scenario and dynamic needs of the business,” said Prakash.According to Singh, the policy change at Bajaj Allianz General Insurance promotes a ‘do more, earn more’ philosophy and entails a metrics-oriented assessment of key performance indicators for individuals. “Managers are able to observe positive behaviour from employees, as the new structure empowers them and provides clarity of earning potential based on the level of performance,” Singh added.As challenges in the business environment grew, KPMG India came up with innovative ways of working responsibly and harmoniously with one another. KPMG India partner and head (people, performance & culture) Sunit Sinha said, “Like always, the review process allows the performance manager and the team member to discuss one’s evaluation against base expectations and stretched goals, performance assessment and development planning, except that it would be a virtual connect for many of our people rather than in-person.”At KPMG, there are two aspects to the process. One is the ‘what’ (metrics, goals, etc), and the second is the ‘how’ (behaviour and mindsets). On behavioural aspects, since 2019-20, employees have been evaluated on the basis of ‘everyone a leader’ mindset to summarise their contributions and list not just their achievements but also how the individual achieved their goals.Given that many organisations plan to have work-from-home this year as well, the major changes in the process are the evaluation parameters and appraisal outlook, where organisations are more outcome-focused than the number of working hours clocked in. “Additional competencies are being focused on for evaluation, which are more relevant in a post–Covid workplace, such as adaptability and flexibility, self-reliance, resilience, creativity, change management and versatility,” said SHRM’s John.In 2021, teams are expected to be more agile and seamlessly working across time zones with different cultures. “This calls for organisations to resort to more frequent feedback discussions to get a sense of their achievements as well as hold transparent developmental conversations and to hear out the concerns/stress that the team members may be facing through the virtual mode of working,” said John. What this means is further digitisation. Digital mediums, AI and ML are used to provide frequent and data-driven feedback to ensure the entire performance appraisal system is more robust and bias-free.