Lessons in Performance Appraisal from IPL 2022

May 06, 2022

A performance management system is a critical part of an organization and plays a significant role in the talent evaluation and management process. Good organizations have a robust and uncomplicated PMS and associated processes, so that the management and the employees find it easy to understand and use. There are some amazing takeaways on deploying and using a PMS and performance appraisal process, from a completely unrelated domain like sports. Here are some of our biggest learnings from the ongoing IPL-2022, based on the first few weeks of action, both on and off the field.

  1. Rajasthan Royals: The RR team has clearly defined the roles for each and every member of the playing 11, and hence has been able to ensure that every base is covered. So, there is a Yuzvendra Chahal who is tasked with breaking partnerships and picking up wickets in middle overs, while his fellow spinner Ravichandran Ashwin is focused on ensuring that the run rate is under control at the other end. Similarly, Trent Boult is the enforcer in the powerplay, while Prasidh Krishna handles the difficult death overs of the innings. Jos Buttler is the designated anchor and aims to bat through the innings, while Shimron Hetmyer will walk in and look to finish the innings with a flurry of boundaries.
    Key learning: Define roles and responsibilities clearly for each employee and team, so that there is clarity on expected deliverables.

  2. Delhi Capitals: Head Coach Ricky Ponting has made it a habit to acknowledge the best performances of his players at the end of every match, regardless of the result. In just the first 4 matches that DC played this season, he singled out different players for their contributions, including Prithvi Shaw, David Warner, Rishabh Pant, Khaleel Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman, Lalit Yadav and Sarfaraz Khan. This ensures that the players know that the management is taking note of their contributions, irrespective of the end result.
    Key learning: Management needs to ensure that the appraisal process is constructive and acknowledges the contribution of employees, so that the process leads to further growth.

  3. Royal Challengers: This is a classic case of how to involve former leaders and other key stakeholders of the top management while making decisions or evaluating performance. While Faf Du Plessis is the official captain of the ship, he has not shied away from getting valuable inputs from the others in the team who have been former captains at the IPL. So, there are occasions when Virat Kohli is sharing feedback on the Indian bowlers and their strengths with the skipper, while Du Plessis relies strongly on Dinesh Karthik for decisions on reviews or field placements. Similarly, Glen Maxwell is also seen sharing his thoughts during critical junctures of the matches.
    Key learning: Ensure alignment with top management on key decisions and appraisal, so that different perspectives can be accommodated.

  4. Kolkata Knight Riders: When a team or organization has veterans who have handled bigger roles in the past, it is a challenge to ensure that they are aligned to today’s objectives, and that they are enabled to perform as per the current expectations. It has been a pleasant surprise for many that Ajinkya Rahane settled in so comfortably as the opener in the initial few matches, as the general opinion was that he was past his prime. Similarly, Umesh Yadav has reinvented himself as a powerplay wrecker, many years since his peak performances in the IPL. Other veteran players of international and domestic repute like Mohammed Nabi, Sheldon Jackson and Tim Southee too have bid their time and stepped up to deliver whenever they have been called on.
    Key learning: The organization needs to ensure that the morale of old-timers and other employees is not affected as the objectives and priorities evolve over time.

  5. Sunrisers Hyderabad: Identifying talent is one piece of the puzzle; this however needs to be backed by the right coaching and mentoring support. SRH have invested heavily on young pacers with raw pace, with the likes of Umran Malik, Kartik Tyagi, Marco Jansen and Fazalhaq Farooqi in their ranks. All of these players are young (between the ages of 20 and 22) and can consistently touch speeds in excess of 145 km/hr. By onboarding these players, and bringing in a legend like Dale Steyn as the bowling coach, SRH have ensured that the right support and guidance is available for these youngsters.
    Key learning: Learning and development, based on feedback and output from the performance appraisal process, would ensure faster and focussed growth of the individuals and thereby the organization.

  6. Gujarat Titans: Players like Sai Sudharsan, Abhinav Manohar and Darshan Nalkande were relatively unknown names for the majority of the IPL audiences, at the beginning of this season. However, GT entrusted the crucial No.3 position in the batting order to Sai Sudharsan, while Abhinav Manohar has been a crucial cog in the final overs as an enforcer. Darshan Nalkande has been airdropped straight into high-pressure situations in the dynamically changing middle orders, and has delivered in multiple matches.
    Key learnings: Change management is a critical component of the outcome of the performance management process, and new employees need to be backed when they step into the arena.

  7. Mumbai Indians: Ishan Kishan made his IPL debut in 2016 after having been purchased for ₹35 lakhs by the Gujarat Lions franchise. Based on his performances in the next couple of years, his price increased to ₹6.2 crores in the next auction in 2018, where he was snapped up by the MI team. Again, he continued to perform really well, and this ensured that the same franchise bought him back in the 2022 auctions at the price of ₹15.25 crores, at a multiple of 43X the price that he commanded in 2016. He has justified the amount thus far, with some phenomenal performances in the initial few matches, before going through a rough patch off late.
    Key learnings: Top-performing employees need to be given the right incentives and compensation so that they continue to stay engaged and motivated.

  8. Lucknow Super Giants: There are players or employees who at times don’t get the acclaim or fame that they deserve, but continue delivering value and being steady if not spectacular. Quinton de Kock, Jason Holder and Evis Lewis have been playing in the IPL for many years now, but often get overshadowed by the more flashy or prominent players of their teams. Similarly, Indian players like Avesh Khan, Deepak Hooda and Ravi Bishnoi have been consistent without always getting their due. By backing these players and giving them the confidence to go out and express themselves, LSG have benefited from their contributions.
    Key learnings: The management needs to understand and evaluate contribution in terms of not just absolute numbers, but also the impact on the team’s overall performance, and back employees who continue to consistently deliver results in their own way.

  9. Chennai Super Kings: Over the years, CSK has developed a reputation for backing players even when they fail in consecutive games. This year also, they have backed players in the starting XI, and are now being rewarded by the likes of Shivam Dube, Mukesh Choudhary and Maheesh Theekshana, who have come up with match-winning performances in spite of failing in their first few games. In the past seasons also, the franchise has won important matches where out-of-form players have stepped up in key moments and delivered when it mattered the most.
    Key learnings: The management needs to identify the right talent and then back them strongly when they go through patches where performance is not as good as expected.

  10. Punjab Kings: This is one team that clearly knows their strengths and weaknesses, and ensures that they play to their strengths. With a relatively inexperienced bowling line-up (barring Kagiso Rabada), PBKS have had to go the extra mile while batting to ensure that their bowlers have enough to defend. Hence, the batsmen have adopted a hyper-aggressive approach and targeted high scores; they are the only team to have racked up scores of 180+ in 4 out of the 5 matches so far this year, and this has ensured them defending scores successfully.
    Key learnings: Identify the strengths and weaknesses of your team/employees, and strategize so that you get the best outcome out of their performances.

  11. So, these are some of our key learnings and takeaways from the IPL-2022, in terms of the performance management process. Let us know if you agree, or have any other points to add to these. We hope you find these to be valuable and relevant for implementation in your HRM system too. Best of luck!

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