Practitioner Interview: Mahmoud Mansi
In 2016, the Performance Magazine editorial team interviewed Mahmoud Mansi, Founder of HR Revolution Middle East, Egypt. His thoughts and views on Performance Management are detailed below.
I strongly believe that for it to be completely fair, performance management should be directly linked to the talents of the person.
- Which were the 2015 key trends in Performance Management, from your point of view, and how have these impacted the HR field?
Lately I have been reading a lot about holacracy, and strongly linking it to HR and PM. My bemusement arises at a certain point where each person is responsible for a task by his/her own choice, while everyone else know that this person is responsible for that task. Perhaps in this case, performance is not documented on papers, but clearly measured through end results, and performance within the organizational system goes through “word of mouth”, which is exquisitely much more effective than having it on paper and archived in a file.
Holacracy is interesting because it allows the employee to discover his/her talents and fully utilize them through totally different job descriptions, that’s why it is most suitable for the millennials.
However, holacracy deserves further solid investigation from HR professionals and needs to have its effect compared to those of the already established performance management methods.
- What are your thoughts on the integration of Performance Management at the organizational, departmental and employee level?
Performance has always been measured at the organizational level when management only cared about results; afterwards, the development of human resources management generated an interest for individual performance.
So far, this doesn’t completely make sense without working on the “departmental level”. When this became the norm, management started to care about many more aspects, far beyond results. It all became more about the reasons behind such results and the key persons in each department.
However, I strongly believe that for it to be completely fair, performance management should be directly linked to the talents of the person and to whether his/her talents are fully utilized or not, and also linked to the distribution of talents within each department.
- Which will be the major changes in managing performance, in the future, from an HR perspective?
Being in the Middle East, I would love to share a common Arabian proverb that I found very interesting and relevant:
“God loves someone who when works, he performs it in perfect manner” – Prophet Muhammed.
I guess perfection will always be a destination to humankind, and perfection may differ from one era to the other.
When we reach the intelligence level necessary to understand the link between performance management, talent management, financial results, and risk management – we, as HRs, will be directly engaged with the corporate strategy.
I think another smart approach is to build a correlation between performance management and waste management; to measure the performance of each employee and the amount of waste generated, in order to come up with the perfect result, where waste management for each employee would be a new section in the performance appraisal process.
I think as HR people, we should consider the environment as well, and I also mean “time” by waste. A non-intelligent HR system tends to encourage waste with paperwork and wastes the time of the employee as well. Paper can be recycled but time cannot.
- What aspects of Performance Management should be explored more through research?
I know the trend now is all about Employee Happiness, and HR is all about putting the right person in the right place. But, the thing is people change by time, and the reasons that affect our happiness change because our goals change depending on each stage of our lives through our career path.
For example, a fresh graduate has a different professional potential than a midcareer, a parent or one close to retirement. Sometimes, remaining in the same department all your life is not a happiness booster, sometimes when you overcome doing what you love, you lose passion about it.
That’s why some employees lose passion when they become supervisors. Since potentials change, then it is about “the right potential in the right place”.
Employee Happiness can be recycled through helping employees attain new talents that are relevant to their current department, and job rotation would then be in place across the entire organization.
Therefore, researchers might focus more on linking performance with the potential of employees at each career stage they are in.
- What benefits could these novel findings in Performance Management research bring to Human Resources?
First of all, they will prove that employees are dynamic, as is human nature. The problem at work is that organizations split between the personal and professional life, where one has the right to be a dynamic human being, but at work this person should be static, should be a “smart machine” that can cope with whatever changes upper management is working on, and is not allowed to be dynamic and change on his/her own.
By closely analyzing this situation and taking note of research based around it, HR people will be able to match the “right potential” with the “right place”.
- Which organizations would you recommend to be looked at, due to their particular approach to managing performance, and their subsequent results?
Personally, I prefer to look at this from a different perspective. I would observe a fitness trainer for example and how he/she works with the trainee and how performance is measured. This shows how performance can be customized for each person differently and not as a one-size-fits-all model.
This is what we do in HR Revolution, we compare simple case studies in our daily lives and magnify them under our own microscope, linking them to their organizations and how these could benefit from such approaches.
We do not have to always look at large organizations to learn something new and useful. Without a doubt, they are great examples, but not the only sources of knowledge. This is the traditional way of doing things and HR people should have the creativity to invent their own approaches and have role models and inspirations from non-corporate sources, and that’s what I work on integrating in my “HR Thinker” course.
- Which are main challenges of Performance Management in practice, today?
It is easy to measure performance, but the real challenge is in measuring the factors causing the increase or decline of performance in a person. This is the main challenge from my perspective.
- How can we improve the existing HR curricula, to better fit today’s organizational needs?
There should be a given space for learners to imagine new organizational problems and create new ideas to prevent these problems. What I regret in the HR curricula is that it doesn’t give much space for creativity.
It makes one very aware of the best practices and so on, but this awareness will soon fade after each day because the environment is changing rapidly, so we need to prepare HR people to be innovative.
Innovation comes when one uses his/her imagination. For example: instead of providing the person with a traditional case study and asking them to solve it, ask them to create their own case study and another colleague would work on solving it.
This way, we will increase engagement between HR learners and encourage a mindset of overcoming unexpected challenges. So the HR curricula should contain material that encourages imagination, therefore creativity.
- What is your opinion on the emerging trend of measuring performance outside working hours?
Organizations exist to make the world a better place. As HR people, we work on developing individuals to make them better employees and better human beings. That’s why the role of HR should not only be on measuring performance inside and outside the organization, but motivating employees inside and outside of the organizational activities.
Personally, I would add additional grades on the performance appraisal sheet regarding an employee’s civil work and their contribution to society, because each employee is an ambassador for his/her own organization.
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