“Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.” – Stephen R. Covey
Employee appraisals are known to strike the fear into the most valuable and hardworking employee. Not only do members of staff not like them, but managers and supervisors who need to conduct the evaluations are also equally unhappy about being forced into a situation where they could be perceived to be unfair, judgemental, and harsh.
The rationale behind the employee performance appraisal process
Succinctly stated, an employee performance review is based on a set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that are ultimately used to measure an employee’s value or worth to the company. And, when stripped down to its most basic function, it plays a role in determining whether the organization should terminate the employee’s contract or not.
However, the idea behind, and concept of, the annual performance review is meant to be a positive and constructive employee performance review process. Its primary aim (and goal) is made up of the three following components:
- To help management and staff determine their true worth to the company.
- To provide a platform for open and honest engagement between employee and manager or team leader.
- To determine work-related areas where the employee can improve; thus, contributing to the company’s success and value proposition in the marketplace.
It cannot be stressed enough that it is vital that the employee performance review does not degenerate into a critical, negative experience for all involved. While performance reviews are necessary, it is equally essential to treat staff with respect and dignity.
This ideology is echoed in the quotation mentioned above by Stephen Covey. In short, staff members must be treated the way management would like them to treat customers.
Tips to keep performance reviews positive and constructive
Therefore, the question that must be asked and answered is how does management keep employee performance reviews constructive and prevent them from ending up as a primary cause of employee resignations?
By way of answering this question, here are some valuable pointers that will make the difference to the outcomes, and consequences, of the performance review process:
Processes and outcomes
The employee review processes and outcomes must be made clear to each staff member from the date of employment. Job descriptions should be complete, clear, and concise, leaving no doubt in the employee’s mind about the position’s function and role.
For this to occur, management (right up to the CEO and owner of the company) must set up well-defined job roles at the outset of the job creation (and advertisement) process. Any ambiguity will cause confusion resulting in the reduced capacity by the employee to perform the job functions properly.
At this juncture, it is vital to note that implementing robust, well-designed, optimally-functioning performance review software will make a substantial difference to the success (or failure) of the employee review process.
Communication between staff members and management (as well as each other) must be kept open, honest, and respectful. Putting this principle into practice will go a long way towards ensuring that the employee appraisal process remains a positive process.
Otherwise, companies run the risk of the process degenerating into a disrespectful fight between staff and management. And, the negative relationship between the different levels of employees in the organization will result in reduced employee capacity and output.
Consequently, and in the worst case, should the work environment become toxic enough, it can result in the closure of the company.
The successful organization’s culture must emphasize that all employees are equally valued, and their roles are correspondingly significant, irrespective of their function and purpose.
Succinctly stated, the person that makes the tea and cleans the offices plays a similarly vital role in the optimal functioning of the organization as the CEO does. Otherwise, the CEO will have to perform these roles; thereby, taking time away from his/her core function and job role.