Managing Talent and Digital Performance on a global level, an interview with Daniela Sturm

Picture of Daniela

Daniela Sturm

Global Lead Talent Development bei SKIDATA AG | PEOPLE CLUB SPEAKER

Is data-driven talent management the panacea? And how do you develop digital skills AND mindset?

Data-driven HR is the big trend, with more and more tools sprouting up like weeds, creating the illusion that talent can be perfectly managed in this way. And of course, the new transparency is an advantage, especially for global companies. But can such subjective topics as the assessment of talent performance really be captured in a digital way? What can national companies learn from global ones? After all, spatial distance is also a mega issue for local players today!

We asked DANIELA STURM – dedicated expert in the field of global talent management and development, who shared her insights and learnings from renowned companies such as Red Bull and Skidata… Her answers surely provide good food for thought!

Daniela: The future of performance management needs to go away from purely assessing past performance and calculating bonus payments to helping our employees to continuously develop and become better at what they do. If the resource binding process of reviewing performance is not helping our employees to become better in the future – why bother?

However, not everything about the old performance management approach is bad – people still want to know what goals they are working towards, they want to see progress and they want to understand how what they do matters for the company overall / other people. 

The evolution of performance management is nothing new, especially since the early 2010s, reworking the performance management approach and systems has been on HR Managers agenda. However, in the past 1.5 years the focus on performance management has changed due to Covid and our new way of working. Most HR Managers now want to develop their performance management approach by focusing more on driving employee productivity and engagement and helping them to develop. It is less about pay/rating and succession planning.

Whilst for a long time the common tenor was to go away from ratings completely, there is a counter trend ascending that goes back to ratings. However, the focus here is to combine pure manager judgement with either peer-rating or performance analytics (e.g. Uber drivers get assessed by their customer rating). Another trend in the performance management systems is that technology is used to nudge users about potential bias or possible differences in bias given to different groups of employees. Again also this development aims at helping us to become more objective in our ratings. 

Whilst continuous performance development is definitely a step in the right direction it is not (yet) the ultimate solution for every company. Some questions that are still to be solved are: how to ensure fairness in payment and bonus decisions and how to objectively identify talents if we dismiss ratings. Even though the old solutions did not have a perfect answer to these problems either, they at least had a process in place.

Thus, every HR responsible is now challenged with the question: “Do I want an established talent process that’s out of date or do I want to take a risk, try something new and maybe innovate the way performance management can be done in the future?”

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