Cigna TTK: Engaging workforce through a new performance management system


The company aims to create an environment of collaboration, innovation and engagement through quality conversations.

A high-performing and motivated workforce is most sought after by any given company. Organisations, these days, try different routes to engage and motivate their workforce. Revaluating and restructuring the performance management system is the latest fad now.

Cigna TTK Health Insurance Company, has adapted a similar route. It has introduced a new system — Connect to Growth.

Reena Tyagi, head-human resources, Cigna TTK Health Insurance, says, “The traditional performance management model of performance ratings, mid-year performance reviews and annual performance reviews with extensive documentation is neither efficient nor effective any longer.”

“Though, the intention has always been to motivate people, provide transparency, and compensate them fairly, research in recent years reveals that this approach has significant invisible disadvantages and hidden costs,” she adds.

Reena Tyagi

The company believes that engagement, development and collaboration help companies stand out amongst competition, in addition to creating a positive work environment where employees are more empowered and accountable.

An internal research laid the foundation for this new strategy. The study identified the parameters that make a company ‘irresistible’ and a workforce great—meaningful work, effective management, great work environment, growth opportunities and trustworthy leaders

Research also showed that people thrive through coaching, feedback and opportunities for development. On the other hand, people get stressed and anxious in an environment focussed on backward-looking, gap-oriented feedback and coaching.

As per the new system introduced by Cigna TTK, the focus is on creating an ongoing conversation between the manager and the reportee. The company aims to create an environment of collaboration, innovation and engagement through these quality conversations.

“The objective of this new model is to energise, grow and connect employees, peers and managers,” says Tyagi.

“It’s a vibrant approach in which we’ll reinforce with positive words, such as energy, stretch, growth, flexibility, and time well-spent,” she asserts.

At the heart of this new model, is a movement to a flexible cadence — a frequent, informal and quality ongoing coaching with higher-quality conversations and informal documentation occurring after the conversations.

Another significant change is that in the new scheme of things, there will be minimum quarterly check-ins between managers and employees, which have an important impact on performance and development.

These conversations, on the other hand, will revolve around goal setting, career, progress, and outcomes.

“More often than not, the check-in will cover multiple topics in the same discussion,” Tyagi says.

The emphasis is on the quality and frequency of the conversation and not the documentation unlike in the past. In addition to a focus on the conversation, the biggest changes are the frequency, informality, future-focussed orientation, and strengths-based development aspects.

As an indicator of performance in this new model, the differentiation will be in two broad segments — On Track and Off Track. The idea is to summarise an individual’s performance, specifically with regard to expectations aligned with goals and behaviour.

Expectations will vary on the basis of individual situations, so the manager will assess an employee’s performance based upon what would reasonably be expected for the length of time in the role versus a seasoned professional.

It is expected that the majority of employees will be identified as On Track.

On Track will be used for all employees who contribute to enterprise results and demonstrate behaviour in line with expectations, including those in new roles or those slightly underperforming with significant stretch goals.

Off track will be reserved for employees not meeting expectations, and will be linked closely to the corrective action process. There will not be a guideline (number or percentage) of employees that need to be off track.

With the new model, there will be no structured review process and governance. Each manager and employee will work together to set the frequency, approach, and content for these ongoing discussions, determined by what works best for them, with emphasis on agility and expectation of short-term goals that change frequently, in line with business needs.


  1. How would the performance be evaluated at the end of the year..would it not give way to a more biased approach of evaluation…would like to know the thought process behind this

  2. To make this work, it’s important to mentor and train the managers to have an effective conversation each time and use coaching as a tool to develop their team members. Such initiative might fall flat if the executors keep the old mindset or ways to talk to their subordinates

  3. Sorry would strongly disagree. Here Margret Thatcher’s views alone would be relevant. Effective leaders as well as progressive organizations need to demonstrate steel in their approach; implying a visible sense of purpose and discipline. Rider ofcourse shall be a fully involved and ethical leadership. It is only in the absence of this imperative trait at the apex level that these compromises / cosmetic formulas are being floated from time to time under the garb of HRD.

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Prajjal Saha is the editor and publisher of HRKatha, which he founded in 2015. With nearly 25 years of experience in business journalism, writing, and editing, he is a true industry veteran who possesses a deep understanding of all facets of business, from marketing and distribution to technology and human resources. Along with his work at HRKatha, he is also the author of the Marketing White Book. Thanks to his extensive experience and expertise, he has become a trusted source of insight and analysis for professionals across a wide range of industries.