Future of WorkHr Library

Goodbye performance ratings, hello impact!

By | Steven Baert | CHRO at Novartis, passionate about shaping culture, leadership and organizations to reimagine medicine

I often get asked what we’ve learnt about people and leadership in the last year and how it will impact our future ways of working. The pandemic has dramatically and irreversibly changed the world we thought we knew, transforming the workplace beyond recognition. But it has also affirmed and accelerated our commitment to unboss the future of working, underlining even more clearly the need for the entrepreneurial spirit that our ‘inspired, curious, unbossed’ culture asks of us.

Faced with challenges or uncertainty, our leader instinct is often to try and take control. But attempting to manage and manipulate situations that are complex, fast-moving and unpredictable, without listening to and learning from our people, is in fact counter-productive. 

By leaning into our culture, we’ve been able to take a different approach at Novartis. Instead of tightening our grip, we’ve chosen to give our people, those who are actually closest to the customer or product, the freedom to own the important decisions about their work for themselves.

I recently shared with you how the introduction of our future working model, which we call “Choice with Responsibility”, is giving our people greater flexibility to decide how, where* and when they work to be their best. But our plans go further. Now, I’d like to share how we’re empowering our people to take ownership of their growth and impact by reimagining our approach to performance management.

Our people are greater than numbers

Two years ago, we launched a crowdsourcing event to unleash our collective imagination and generate ideas that would help us to live our culture. Our people told us that to enable them to really grow and contribute, they wanted more ownership over their goals and expected more feedback and coaching. But above all, we needed to ditch performance ratings. The fruit of their work could not be summarized in a number!

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