Information technology (IT) security services company, Quick Heal Technologies — erstwhile CAT Computer Services — is all set to make a change in the performance-management system in the coming year. The Company is looking forward to implementing the concept of OKR, that is, objectives and key results — a framework that will help track the employees’ objectives and their outcomes.
Earlier at Quick Heal, the performance management system had four parameters – cost, quality, quantity and efficiency. With these parameters, it used to undertake the traditional annual performance review.
However, the Company has now done away with these parameters and has changed it by introducing the balance score card as a goal-setting process, in which every employee has to have goals in four buckets — customer, financial performance, people and learning and process excellence.
Reetu Raina, CHRO, Quick Heal, says, “We are moving away from an activity-driven culture to an outcome-driven one. Our new parameters and the OKR model indicate that you are your own boss and that you have to deliver without any micromanagement. This is the underlying philosophy behind this new performance management system.”
Raina believes, “It is not the physical presence of the employees in the office or their being around, that matters, but how strong an organisation’s performance management system is, and how one has put to use the metrics that help in achieving the outcome.”
Appraisal, bonuses and incentives
The Company concluded the appraisal process in the month of May, and bonuses or performance-linked incentives (PLI) were also disbursed.
The bonuses were performance linked and connected to three major drivers – company performance, functional performance and individual performance.
For the senior management, the focus was more on company and functional performance, whereas for the entry- and mid-level managers, it was focussed on the individual.
The Company gave out bonuses to 85 per cent employees and the remaining 15 per cent comprised either those who had exited the company or were non-performers.
“If your basic business model is robust and agile, then you will think of employee reduction only as the last resort”
“We have given out an average of 50-75 per cent bonuses. Some of the employees have also got 100 per cent bonuses based on their ratings. The parameters where they got less was the functional or company performance,” she adds.
Another pandemic-led change undertaken by Quick Heal was the correction in critical roles and new skills. “We re-looked at our salary benchmark, studied certain new scales that exist in the market, and accordingly, made corrections in terms of critical roles and skills,” she states.
From a process point of view, the appraisal cycle was carried out as usual. According to Raina, “Before putting the performance rating into the system, managers were asked to converse with each and every employee. After all, the value of a dialogue or a discussion shouldn’t be ignored, just because the employees are working remotely.”
The IT security services company also rolled out increments, but only for a select few. The remaining increments have been postponed to September. The same will be finalised after the board meeting to be held the same month.
Earlier, the Company was considering reducing the salaries of employees and laying off a few, but eventually, decided against the move.
“These are testing times for any organisation, because it tells you how strong your foundation is. If your basic business model is robust and agile, then you will think of employee reduction only as the last resort,” the CHRO explains.
In India, work from home is a relatively new concept. The pandemic has forced people to go without leaves or breaks for a longer period of time, as the entire work culture has transformed.
When Quick Heal looked at the employee burnout ratio of its employees in the past three months, it realised that the employees were working beyond their work hours and that too without taking any leaves. Therefore, it decided to revise its leave policy and began to encourage employees to take leaves.
As per the new policy, which will be applicable from next week, the leaves will lapse by the end of the year if the employees do not utilise the same. A Burnout Report was shared with the managers, which talked about the number of hours that employees are working and the number of leaves they have taken in the first half of this year. The managers were asked to encourage their team members to take leave to rest and relax.
“The intent is to ensure that employees take breaks to care for themselves, and spend time with their families. We have asked them to exhaust their leaves and clarified that the unutilised leaves will not be carried forward,” she adds.
Employee Engagement Policy
Several engagement activities were to be rolled out this year, such as Fun Fridays, Team Meetups, Award Meets and so on. Thanks to the pandemic, the Company had to bring about changes in its employee engagement model. It decided to continue with its plans, but with certain alterations. The impact it has had on the organisation is huge. In keeping with the new remote-working structure, the Company is planning to increase the spending budgets on employee-engagement activities.
Fun Fridays were replaced with ‘Coffee on Fridays’, wherein the managers sit with a cup of coffee and have a chit-chat with the entire team. Team and Award Meetups were replaced with online get-togethers.
Quick Heal introduced ‘Moon Short Walks’, where every employee records the number of steps covered in a day. The numbers are shared with the employees after a span of one week.
In Raina’s words, “These engagement activities help us bring momentum and prevent employees from feeling lonely. Earlier, most of our employee-engagement practices involved the physical presence of the people in the room, where they would have a dialogue, discussion and fun moments together. We converted the entire offline practice to the online mode with a different flavour and ensured that employees don’t feel lonely in this journey, but experience a feeling of virtual togetherness.”
In order to maintain the sanity of the employees, Quick Heal has engaged a counsellor. The employees can book an appointment and have a one-to-one conversation with the counsellor, if they feel low or depressed.
Keeping in mind the current situation, the Company has renewed its health insurance policy. Earlier it covered employees for Rs 4 lakhs, but now the amount has increased to Rs 5 lakhs. It has also added a feature on warranty top up and one for parental coverage, which did not exist earlier.
Currently, around 90 per cent employees at Quick Heal are working from home, while the remaining 10 per cent are coming to offices for need-based work.
“Giving utmost importance to employee wellbeing, no employee was forced to come to office unless required,” Raina concludes.