3 minute read – Last updated: April 20, 2020

Modifying performance expectations for the current circumstances

Ask the Expert with Robert St-Jacques — Episode 5

Our GM of Professional Services Robert St. Jacques has been answering the questions we continue to receive about HR and people management changes during the health crisis. 

Q: How are organizations modifying performance expectations and reviews for people whose priorities and work are impacted by our current situation? 

RSJ: A lot of organizations plan annually, some of them semi-annually, and a few on a quarterly basis. It reminds me of the quote by Donald Rumsfeld. “You’ve got your known unknowns and your unknown unknowns.” Now, we’re definitely going into the territory of a lot of unknown unknowns. What a lot of organizations are doing is helping to add an element of certainty to the situation and focusing on the quarter. 

In Q2, for example, what they’re doing is based on what their business objectives are, or how this current crisis has impacted their business. Typically, they fall into two groups. One is they’ve lost a source of revenue and they’ll never be able to get it back. Think of airlines, hotels, and the tourism industry. The second group’s revenue is deferred. There are services that they provide which will need to happen as soon as things come back online. In those two areas, what you have is one situation where you’re preparing to create a new channel, a new way to bring revenue into the organization. Or, if you’re part of the latter group, where you’re just deferred, your business is preparing for a new world, so to speak. And so what does that look like? In some situations, some of our clients are going to have to move from what would be normal daytime nine to five, Monday through Friday, to playing catch-up and servicing all those customers that are now able to receive the help. And how do you do that? With expanded hours working on weekends? In the case of a couple of clients, they’re looking at expanding to 24/7 operations. How do you plan for that? And how do you do that? At the same time, giving feedback on a quarterly basis and focusing on the quarter not only provides an element of certainty, but it also provides shorter feedback loops in order to see what’s working and what’s not. 


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