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Practitioner Interview: Zainab Mohammed

Zainab-160x160In 2016, the Performance Magazine editorial team interviewed Zainab Mohammed, CEO Property Management & Marketing at wasl, in the United Arab Emirates, for the “Performance Management in 2015: GCC Special Edition” report. Her thoughts and views on Performance Management are detailed below.
Many practitioners are limited by their knowledge regarding their own trade and its success factors.


  1. Which are the 2015 key trends in Performance Management, from your point of view?

Employee goals are increasingly more aligned with organizational visions. SMART objectives are increasingly set by employees, instead of managers. A key benefit of this is employees being the owners and drivers of their own success. Managing risks through performance management is also a developing trend.

  1. What are your thoughts on the integration of Performance Management at organizational, departmental and employee level?

Integration of Performance Management at all organizational levels is of paramount importance. The organizational vision must be cascaded across all departments, including functional, divisional, department and employee relations. For instance, we see Balanced Scorecards being implemented in many organizations, but rarely beyond the departmental level.

  1. Which will be the major changes in managing performance, in the future?

We believe a major change will focus on ongoing performance improvement. Instead of it being a one-time annual event, primarily linked to rewards such as salary increase or bonus, forward thinking organizations will regularly utilize performance management exercises.

These will be tools to constantly improve employee skills and capabilities, resulting in improved efficiency across the organization.


  1. What aspects of Performance Management should be explored more through research?

Greater understanding is needed to find the optimum number of reviews conducted in a year and how to align rewards to performance more objectively.

Research regarding how to carry out performance management can be seen as a more comprehensive human resource management system and would also be beneficial; this will combine an employee’s professional development and career aspirations with alignment to goals.

  1. Which organizations would you recommend to be looked at, due to their particular approach to managing performance, and their subsequent results?

Motorola and GE received much attention in recent decades, with Silicon Valley giants such as Google setting examples in the present. Google has had sustained performance even during challenging economic scenarios, and combined this with highly effective employee engagement, resulting in it being highly valued by current and potential employees as one of the best companies to work for, particularly due to workplace motivational factors.

  1. What Performance Management question would you like to have answered by researchers?

How to link rewards to performance during recessions or sluggish economic conditions.


  1. Which are main challenges of Performance Management in practice, today?

Linking rewards to performance in an objective manner and retaining good employees.

  1. What should be improved in the use of Performance Management tools and processes?

Objective goals, accurate updates, timely updates and reporting. Where it’s possible, monthly or quarterly reporting of performance is a must, for which good performance management tools and processes are a prerequisite.

  1. What would you consider as a best practice in Performance Management?

In my opinion, Balanced Scorecards, when deployed properly and systematically.


  1. Which aspects of Performance Management should be emphasized during educational programs?

Setting objective goals, accurate measurement of performance indicators, combined with timely and frequent feedback.

  1. Which limits need to be surpassed in order to achieve higher levels of proficiency in Performance Management, among practitioners?

Understanding their own businesses and its critical success factors are limiting factors for many practitioners. The next one would be to accurately articulate the necessary KPIs. Good practitioners master both of these two aspects.

Personal Performance

  1. What is your opinion on the emerging trend of measuring performance outside working hours?

Only performances that consistently impact the organization’s bottom-line count.

  1. What personal performance measurement tools do you use?

No specific tool, but for my function, I measure overall performance against KPIs on a quarterly basis. Key customer-centric KPIs are measured more frequently, some even on a weekly basis.

Specific Question

  1. Which were the recent achievements in generating value from performance management in your organization?

wasl has successfully deployed enterprise-wide SAP, which provides instant performance information on various key KPIs. At an individual level, many employees are part of the organization-wide personal development program, for which accurate and timely measurement of performance is also key.

This has helped in succession planning and retaining outstanding employees.

Should you be interested in having your interview featured in one of our publications, contact us at [email protected]!

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