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The question isnt whether to get rid of performance reviews, but how to make them better

The face of performance management is changing across the world with leading organisations such as Microsoft, Deloitte, Accenture and General Electric streamlining their annual performance reviews, or even scrapping them. This trend comes from a growing perception that annual performance reviews might not be the best way to manage and improve performance in the workforce.

 

Perhaps the question isn’t whether we should abandon performance reviews, but rather how we can do them better. Rather than treating it as a dreary exercise in complying with policy, we must think about how we as leaders and HR professionals can drive a culture of continuous feedback where every interaction can build commitment, engagement and productivity. At Sage, we are wrestling with these matters ourselves. We know that the world of work is changing, and we are striving to position ourselves at the forefront of good practice for HR.

 

Research from CEB HR Leadership Council, a multinational corporate management company, shows that 77% of HR execs believe performance reviews don’t accurately reflect employee performance; there is also not much evidence to show that performance reviews have a positive effect on business goals.

 

Yet CEB’s research also indicates that one should not be in too much of a rush to scrap annual performance reviews or ratings. Many organisations that completely do away with performance reviews see productivity decline; what’s more, employees tend to rate their conversations with their bosses lower in the absence of a formal performance rating.

 

Structure is needed

What this shows is that some of us resent structure when it’s there, but crave it when it is absent. Sure, scrapping performance reviews frees everyone from a process that can be viewed as a tick box exercise, but it also means that the business lacks a formalised programme for linking people’s goals and performance with the strategy of the business. It’s hard to be fair and consistent without a formal process.

 

Taking a step back, performance management is about helping employees set career goals, correcting any performance issues, and ensuring they have the tools they need to do their work. Even with the best intentions, much-needed performance interventions may fall by the wayside if they are not documented and actioned.

 

Perhaps the question isn’t whether we should abandon performance reviews, but rather how we can do them better. Rather than treating it as a dreary exercise in complying with policy, we must think about how we as leaders and HR professionals can drive a culture of continuous feedback where every interaction can build commitment, engagement and productivity.

 

Feedback should be constant

One answer that keeps coming up to the question of better performance management is that it should not simply be an annual process, but that it should allow for more frequent feedback. A PwC study reveals that 60% of survey respondents (and 72% of those under age 30) wanted feedback every day or every week. 

 

This makes enormous sense – employees should be learning all the time, their managers should be constantly providing feedback on performance and encouraging positive behaviours to ensure the  employees’ performance and goals are in alignment with its strategic objective. Annual performance reviews are useful in this regard, but they’re not frequent enough in a business world where the pace of change is so fast.

 

Here are a few ideas about how organisations can roll out a more agile approach to performance management:

 

  • Set clear expectations: Have clear performance goals that are linked to the overall business strategy with objective metrics, so that employees understand what is expected of them.

 

  • Provide feedback more often: A single performance review session each year is not effective and regular feedback and discussion should be the norm. In addition to formal feedback sessions, encourage managers to have monthly or even weekly check-ins with their teams.

 

  • Keep it simple: Get rid of those long performance review sheets and focus on the most important questions and metrics.

 

  • Look forward rather than backwards: Rather than dwelling on past glories and failures, focus on what the employee can do to grow in his or her role and how the business can support the person’s ambitions and performance.

 

Closing words

Whether you’re a business builder or an HR professional, you’ll appreciate that it takes hard work and continued effort to build a high performance culture. You should consider every interaction as an opportunity to influence your employees’ performance in a positive way to build commitment, engagement and achievement of the desired results.

 

Anja van Beek is Vice President for People (HR), Sage International (Africa, Middle East, Asia & Australia)

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Business

Stargems Group establishes Training Center in BW

20th March 2023

Internationally-acclaimed diamond manufacturing company StarGems Group has established the Stargems Diamond Training Center which will be providing specialized training in diamond manufacturing and evaluation.

The Stargems Diamond Training Institute is located at the Stargems Group Botswana Unit in Gaborone.

“In accordance with the National Human Resource Development Strategy (NHRDS) which holds the principle that through education and skills development as well as the strategic alignment between national ambitions and individual capabilities, Botswana will become a prosperous, productive and innovative nation due to the quality and efficacy of its citizenry. The Training Centre will provide a range of modules in theory and in practice; from rough diamond evaluation to diamond grading and polishing for Batswana, at no cost for eight weeks. The internationally- recognized certificate offered in partnership with Harry Oppenheimer Diamond Training School presents invaluable opportunities for Batswana to access in the diamond industry locally and internationally. The initiative is an extension of our Corporate Social Investment to the community in which we operate,” said Vishal Shah, Stargems Group Managing Director, during the launch of the Stargems Diamond Training Center.

In order to participate in this rare opportunity, interested candidates are invited to submit a police clearance certificate and a BGCSE certificate only to the Stargems offices.  Students who excel in these programs will have the chance to be onboarded by the Stargems Group. This serves as motivation for them to go through this training with a high level of seriousness.

“Community empowerment is one of our CSR principles. We believe that businesses can only thrive when their communities are well taken of. We are hoping that our presence will be impactful to various communities and economies. In the six countries that we are operating in, we have contributed through dedicating 10% of our revenues during COVID-19 to facilitate education, donating to hospitals and also to NGOs committed to supporting women and children living with HIV. One key issue that we are targeting in Botswana is the rate of unemployment amongst the youth. We are looking forward to working closely with the government and other relevant authorities to curb unemployment,” said Shah.

Currently, Stargems Group has employed 117 Batswana and they are looking forward to growing the numbers to 500 as the company grows. Majority of the employees will be graduates from the Stargems Diamond Training Center. This initiation has been received with open arms by the general public and stakeholders. During the launch, the Minister of Minerals and Energy,  Honorable Lefoko Moagi, stated that the ministry fully endorses Stargems Diamond Training and will work closely with the Group to support and grow the initiative.

“As a ministry, we see this as an game changer that is aligned with one of the United Nations’ Six Priority Sustainable Development Goals, which is to Advance Opportunity and Impact for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). What Stargems Group is launching today will have a huge impact on the creation of employment in Botswana. An economy’s productivity rises as the number of educated workers increases as its skilled workmanship increases. It is not a secret that low skills perpetuate poverty and widen the inequality gap, therefore the development of skills has the potential to contribute significantly to structural transformation and economic growth by enhancing employability and helping the country become more competitive. We are grateful to see the emergence of industry players such as Stargems Group who have strived to create such opportunities that mitigate the negative effects of COVID-19 on the economy,” said the Minister of Minerals and Energy.

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Business

Food import bill slightly declines

20th March 2023

The latest figures released by Statistics Botswana this week shows that food import bill for Botswana slightly declined from around P1.1 billion in November 2022 to around P981 million in December during the same year.

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Business

Moody’s Reaffirms African Trade Insurance’s A3 Rating & Revises Outlook to Positive

13th March 2023

Moody’s Investors Service (“Moody’s”) has affirmed the A3 insurance financial strength rating (IFSR) of the African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI) for the fifth consecutive year and changed the outlook from stable to positive.

Moody’s noted that the change in outlook to positive reflects the strong growth in ATI’s membership base – that has resulted in improved portfolio diversification, strengthened capital adequacy, and the good profitability despite the challenging operating environment. In addition, ATI benefits from its preferred creditor status (PCS) amongst sovereign member states which protects it from the risk of default by member sovereigns through securing recoveries against claims paid on guarantees.

The strong membership and equity growth are some of the key considerations for the consistent reinstatement of ATI’s A/Stable rating by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s rating, over the years. Also supporting the rating affirmation are; consistent improvement in financial performance, commitment of its shareholders who continue to uphold the preferred creditor status, its high quality and conservative investment portfolio as well as strong relationships with a number of global reinsurers that provide significant risk-bearing capacity.

With the change in outlook to “positive”, ATI is now better placed to provide enhanced support to its member countries, attract additional shareholding and grow its portfolio. The positive outlook is an indication that if ATI continues to demonstrate its strong underwriting performance and ability to recover claims under the preferred creditor arrangements, among other factors, an upward pressure towards an upgrade may be generated. The Moody’s press release can be accessed from here

Commenting on the rating, Africa Trade Insurance Chief Executive Officer Manuel Moses said: “This positive revision is in line with our 2023 – 2027 strategic objectives in which we set to improve our rating outlook to positive in the first year, and achieve an upgrade of at least “AA”/Stable rating by both Moody’s and S&P within this Strategic Plan period. We aim to achieve this by doubling our exposures and increasing our capital to more than USD1 billion.”

ATI’s mandate is to provide trade-credit and political risk insurance, as well as other risk mitigation products to its member countries and related public and private sector actors. These insurance products not only directly encourage and facilitate foreign direct investment as well as local private sector investment in our member countries, but also contribute to intra- and extra-African trade.

About The African Trade Insurance Agency 

ATI was founded in 2001 by African States to cover trade and investment risks of companies doing business in Africa. ATI predominantly provides Political Risk, Credit Insurance and, Surety Insurance. Since inception, ATI has supported US$78 billion worth of investments and trade into Africa. For over a decade, ATI has maintained an ‘A/Stable’ rating for Financial Strength and Counterparty Credit by Standard & Poor’s, and in 2019, ATI obtained an A3/Stable rating from Moody’s, which has now been revised to A3/Positive.

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