Top performers are catalysts for growth

Maersk’s talents are the ones to deliver the exciting business growth plans. This is according to the Head of Group HR, Lucien Alziari, when asked five questions following recent changes on performance and rewards.

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Head of Maersk Group HR, Lucien Alziari, has travelled to many markets to meet business leaders and HR colleagues to identify areas where HR can improve its support of the Group's businesses and employees. Photo: Rick Molloy

Talent is a commonly used word in Maersk. How do you define talent?
”We use the term ‘Top Talents’ to denote those colleagues who can make a significant impact on the growth of their business. This includes both deep technical experts as well as those who demonstrate the leadership characteristics to take on expanded responsibilities over time. The common denominator across these groups is a track record of strong performance. Our overall goal is to become a talent-enabled company – one that has the talent and capabilities to deliver the exciting growth plans for our businesses.”

How do you identify talent?
”Firstly, we keep an eye out for people’s contributions to ensure that the biggest opportunities are available to those who make the biggest difference. Secondly, we want to help all of our people understand ‘what do I need to do to make a real contribution to this company? What’s expected of me?’ We then aim to provide lots of opportunities to those who have the ambition and the technical and leadership skills to make a big difference.”

Some of the employees are labelled ‘talents;’ are the rest then defined as ’non-talents?’

”Clearly, everyone can contribute to the success of the Group. In order to support this, we ensure that all employees have annual objectives, receive feedback from their manager, are appraised and have a personal development plan. So we are investing in the development of all of our employees. With our top talents, that level of investment goes up – but so do our performance expectations!”

You recently introduced a number of changes to the performance evaluation system, which involved discontinuing a separate rating on how employees live out the Group Core Values. Why is it that employees are no longer rated on values?
”We are actually reinforcing the notion of values by integrating them into a single performance score – you can’t be a top performer in the Group unless you are living the Group Core Values. How you deliver results is just as important as what you deliver, they are all part of the same evaluation.”

The above-mentioned change is just one out of a number of recent changes and simplifications. Are these changes interlinked and how do they benefit the employees?
”We’ve recently taken a number of steps to simplify employee evaluation, compensation and succession here at Maersk. Decisions on people are made by line leaders, not by HR leaders. Therefore, our goal is to equip them with simple, intuitive tools that drive decision-making and are grounded in great HR thinking but don’t require a large amount of technical instruction to use. You can see this approach reflected in the Talent Review and also in the simplified performance management process and incentive designs.”