Employee performance management in the Middle East: employee or customer centricity?
Does your organization adopt an employee or customer-centric operating methodology? For decades, the main focus of businesses in the Middle East has been on the customer, embracing mottos such as “The customer is always right” or “Customer comes first,” with the primary objective of attaining high customer satisfaction to expand market share. While this remains a universal goal, the approach to achieving it varies among companies, with some prioritizing employees over customers.
Employee performance management has gained increased attention in recent years compared to previous decades. This shift is largely a result of a changing mindset in both the private and public sectors regarding core business principles and operating methodologies. Companies have started to be more aware that what leads to customer satisfaction is a happy workforce, prompting them to focus more on managing employee performance.
Business magnate Richard Branson encapsulates this shift with his statement: “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” This shows us the importance of transitioning towards a more employee-centric business model to keep employees satisfied and engaged while achieving business goals. For all these reasons, employee performance management plays a pivotal role.
To better understand what employee performance management entails, it is important to examine its sub-processes:
- Employee performance planning: The planning phase is a prerequisite, establishing the groundwork for the entire process. It is imperative to clarify roles, responsibilities and competencies by having the proper job descriptions and competencies framework developed based on the market’s best practices.
- Employee performance measurement: This phase teaches the creation of scorecards at the employee level, guiding the assessment of competencies and behaviors. It also delves into the advantages and disadvantages of creating a final performance index for each employee, incorporating clearly defined criteria such as objectives, KPIs, competencies, and behaviors.
- Employee performance review: This phase details organizing and conducting employee performance review meetings, ensuring value for managers and employees. During meetings, managers transparently discuss employee performance, acknowledge achievements and progress, and highlight improvement areas.
- Employee performance improvement (talent management): This phase emphasizes the right course of action after the performance review meeting and the enablers of performance improvement. It guides the addressing of low-, medium-, and high-performing staff members, underscoring the importance of a monitoring process to ensure the effective implementation of corrective actions.
- Performance recognition: This process guides the creation of rewarding models for acknowledging high-performing individuals and teams, enabling the design of a sustainable reward system encompassing financial and non-financial rewards.
In 2023, several aspects of performance management, especially employee performance management, have evolved. This shift is a response to the so-called “post-pandemic new normal,” forcing businesses to rethink survival strategies for 2024 and beyond. Six main trends have emerged:
- Aligned employee and business goals
- Investments in upskilling and reskilling
- Improved approaches to feedback
- Prioritizing employee wellbeing
- Embracing hybrid flexibility
- Technology in Performance Management
A noteworthy change is the evolution of the job landscape. Financial security, which once deterred employees from leaving their jobs, is no longer the sole factor. Jobs now offer employees opportunities for growth, continuous feedback, flexible working hours, remote or hybrid work options, and comprehensive benefits, enhancing their work-life balance. These trends underscore the imperative for businesses to shift towards employee-centricity to achieve strategic objectives and foster sustainable business practices with reduced turnover.
Employee performance management will witness further changes, particularly in performance review and goal-setting. The workplace will increasingly focus on personal and professional goals, transforming performance reviews from a process into project-based evaluations, enhancing the workspace and contributing to a more sustainable business.
To prepare you for the year ahead, The KPI Institute can equip you with the industry-leading tools and skills required to nurture employee performance. Sign up for the Certified Employee Performance Management Professional and Practitioner courses now and secure your slot here.