Home Insights The Secret is in the Sauce: 3 Ingredients for Effective FRM Performance Management

The Secret is in the Sauce: 3 Ingredients for Effective FRM Performance Management

6 mins read
Steve Fields Elise Ratcliffe

Operationalizing performance management with Field Reimbursement Managers and other non-promotional field roles requires a nuanced recipe that is not easily achieved – quality ingredients can make or break the overall product.

Almost all employees begin each year aiming to exceed expectations. When expectations and goals are not clearly spelled out, employees and organizations suffer through attrition and even worse, actively disengaged employees.

It can be challenging to establish a comprehensive rating and evaluation system that stays true to the spirit of non-promotional efforts while cultivating a culture of accountability and collaboration through fairly assessing an employee’s performance.

To further accentuate these challenges, companies invest heavily in these services and struggle to assess impact of improving the patient experience with the prescribed therapies.
Understanding the roadblocks to performance management requires the expertise of an HR business partner as a complement to field leadership. Blending the unique perspectives of these functions provides distinct insights to leadership teams seeking to achieve a better experience for their field teams and realize greater value from their talent.

While attaining a customized performance management approach isn’t as simplistic as whipping up a meal, we distill the best practices and imperatives to performance management into a simple, three-part recipe. We call them the three Cs: clarity, coaching and culture.


Ingredient 1: Clarity

Experience has proven time and again that there are two key mechanisms for measuring success in these roles: data and behaviors. How should leadership use these as modalities to set a standard for clarity?

In the intricate realm of ideal behaviors and data, clarity is the bedrock. Theoretical ideal behaviors pave the way for an optimal data output, and both these facets find their roots in the essence of clarity.

Correctly implemented, clarity generates understanding, serving as a defense against misunderstandings and, consequently, reducing the likelihood of errors.

To ensure expectations are clear, begin with explicit guidelines that provide examples of specific actions and behaviors. For example, while saying “let’s go to Boston” indicates a destination, it lacks the essential details of expectations of timing and travel arrangements.

Leaders must recognize that the “what” of a goal may not always align with the “how” of achieving it. It is a leader’s unwavering commitment to clarity that ensures employees hit every milestone on target.

Data can be a fickle creature in this world. Measurements such as case triage rates, conversion rates and turnaround times are common. Yet the question that must always be asked is, “can the activities of this role impact a measurement, and can this measure be collected with 100% accuracy?” If the answer is, “No”, to either question then that data point should be not be included as a measure of performance.

When considering behaviors, i.e., MBOs, there are a few key things to consider.

The behavior must be clearly described including what underperforming, performing, and over performing would look like. We have found that using a framework that recognizes consistency and impact provides clear differentiation for the employees and allows for objective measurement.

Your performance management process may require a mix of these measurements, even down to a territory level due to market conditions, if each employee understands without exception how they will be measured they can work with confidence.

Through data and behaviors, defining clear expectations will yield clear results, just as vague communication on desired outcomes creates ambiguity in achieved results. In the realm of organizational success, the cornerstone is, undeniably, clarity.


Ingredient 2: Coaching

Feedback, feedback, and more feedback. The field leader must ensure that they are getting regular and consistent opportunities to assess the employee against the objectives and provide clear feedback including specific language as to how the current performance is trending. These opportunities would include field rides, virtual engagements, business meetings and regular performance check-ins quarterly at least.

The principles governing constructive feedback are paramount; at the core, the feedback must be balanced, objective, observed, specific, and timely. Constructive feedback, delivered within 24-48 business hours of the event, holds the power to make a meaningful impact on future behaviors.

Addressing undesirable behavior promptly is a critical aspect of leadership. Failure to do so not only tacitly approves such behavior but also sets a precedent for future actions.

Consistency is the linchpin of effective feedback. Reflect on your team dynamics and one-on-one interactions with employees. How frequently do you revisit goals to maintain clarity? Do you collaborate with employees to identify and eliminate obstacles hindering goal attainment? What is your coaching, and in turn, leadership style and approach?

In the dynamic business landscape, accountability demands revisiting the communication of expectations. Leaders must ensure clarity and be agile in recalibrating expectations through coaching and feedback when business optics shift. Productive conversations instill accountability in adapting to new circumstances within dynamic environments.

From the perspective of HR, actionable guidance to apply here would begin with self-reflection: What does your feedback loop look like, both from you to your team and vice versa? Nurturing a robust feedback culture is key to fostering growth, accountability, and success in any organization.


Ingredient 3: Culture

Your HR Business Partner serves as an invaluable litmus test when devising behavioral measures and setting expectations for field leaders in this area. Additionally, involving your HR Business Partner at the start of a program and when metrics need to change in the business climate aids in pressure testing if the most meaningful measurements can be captured.

At Inizio Engage, we believe that culture is the pivotal ingredient that is crucial to empowering our people. A robust and positive organizational culture not only fosters employee engagement, satisfaction, and productivity but also serves as the cornerstone of our success. Inizio Engage’s People and Culture professionals are the architects of this cultural framework, entrusted with the task of cultivating and transmitting our values and cultural ethos to our leaders and the team(s).

Granting your HR Business Partner a seat at the table empowers them to play a pivotal role in aligning program goals with cultural values. Our People and Culture team (including our HR Business Partners), function as the custodians of our organization’s culture, consistently working to nurture and disseminate it across the workforce.

This, in turn, influences employee behavior, fosters a positive work environment, and becomes the secret ingredient contributing to the overall success of the program.



Having the right ingredients in your performance management process can either help your FRM (Field Reimbursement Manager) and other non-promotional roles rise or fall flat. The secret to success lies within the recipe.

If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of an integrated approach to field performance management, connect with us by clicking here