Yes, the dreaded performance appraisal.
The result (if you can call it a result) is a blurred message that leaves even your good employees feeling disappointed. But if the right approach is taken, performance appraisals are a wonderful opportunity to reinforce solid performers and redirect poor ones.
The performance appraisal process is about reviewing past actions, looking in the rear view mirror to reflect past performance. But to be successful they need to be used as a basis for making development and improvement plans and reaching agreement about what should be done over the next 12 months.
The appraisal process revolves around things that an employee requires from their manager:
• Tell me what you want me to do (Position description, development and improvement plan)
• Tell me how well I have done it (Feedback)
• Help me to overcome defects (Training)
• Reward me for outstanding performance (Wage increase, recognition)
For an appraisal to be effective, the emphasis is on two way conversation discussing the skills and abilities demonstrated on the job and the objectives set at the previous session a year ago. The aim is to build strengths, overcome weaknesses and set new objectives. Setting objectives gives you tangible data to review during the appraisal process. Focus on what they are doing that is effective, what they are doing that is not working and what actions are required to improve these areas.
Be careful not to use generalizations such as ‘you need to be more proactive' or' your attitude is an issue'. Be specific, give examples and focus on behaviours.
Many review forms have an employee rating scale - the emphasis should not be on scoring, but on performance improvement rather than whether Billy should get a 3 or 4 out of 5 for knowledge of a specific job characteristic.
So how about taking the performance reviews out of the too hard basket and use them to grow both your business and your employees? If you can build a great team, they can build your business. More on training in another Roundabout.
Battersby HR Consulting provides practical, on-call HR advice to employers without their own Human Resources team. Why not have a chat with Paddy about making performance appraisals easy for your team?
Battersby HR Consulting