Employees are the lifeblood of any organization; they play a vital role in making sure that it succeeds now, and in the future. It’s only realistic, then, for companies to have systems in place that will streamline the performance review and appraisal processes – this will allow them to engage every individual and get the most of the existing potential.
The business world is dynamic, and keeps advancing with time; and while most companies strive to stay ahead of the trend, there are some that still hold on to the traditional way of running things; like the using documents and spreadsheets, viewing the performance review process as administrative work, and giving feedback once every year.
Today, companies still provide annual performance reviews, but also supplement them with regular reviews and discussions all year long. According to a recent study, young managers lead the charge of having more frequent performance meetings. About 60% of bosses (between 18 and 35 years old) have weekly meetings, compared to just 39% of bosses who are aged 52-70.
In this article, we highlight some of the myths and traditions that surround the performance appraisal process.
Assuming that everything will fall into place after the performance appraisal
A performance appraisal intends to help grow the employees and the company’s bottom line. However, it is unrealistic to assume that by increasing the salaries of these employees, they will suddenly become more productive. Other factors like training, feedback culture, clear goals, effective use of technology, and communication also play in.
Managers should cultivate a strong feedback culture to help the staff increase their contribution. Contextual and relevant feedback (negative or positive) should be a crucial part of performance appraisals. Ideally, employees should know the reasons behind their appraisals, and should also receive guidance wherever possible.
Giving performance appraisal on the spot
Performance reviews can’t and shouldn’t be done in the heat of the moment. Managers have to keenly gather all the relevant information around how the employee in question performs so that they can give a contextual review. Not giving performance appraisal on the spot also provides enough time for a manager to cool down and think everything through, so they won’t say anything that would rub the employee the wrong way.
While giving a performance appraisal, managers should address all achievements and weaknesses, so that the employee doesn’t feel as though they are being attacked. Beginning with complements allows one to be receptive to their shortcomings.
Associating performance appraisal with pay raise
Although the salary increment is a great motivation, it shouldn’t be the center of the performance appraisal process. Instead, other intangible aspects like performance feedback, training, and development, coaching, and guidance, should also be factored in.
But because the focus is always on compensation, most managers seldom invest in developing the abilities and skills of the employees while carrying out performance appraisals.
Evaluations are integral and are meant to offer developmental feedback to facilitate the growth of employees, so they can, in turn, contribute to the company. Performance appraisal provides a perfect chance for organizations to communicate their expectations to the employees, so managers should seize the opportunity to get the most of it.
Basing appraisal on goal completion
Some companies determine appraisals by goal completion. If an employee were to accomplish 100% of his or her goals, then they would be eligible to get appraised, but if he or she didn’t achieve the set target, then the increment would be cut according to the failure.
While this approach is applicable in companies that work within the Management By Objective (MBO) framework, where attaining 100% target is the standard of completion of a goal, the same cannot work for organizations that use Objectives and Key Results (OKR) framework. In the latter, a completion target of 60-70% is acceptable. Even so, when one hits the set target and gets an appraisal of only 60 or 70%, they won’t be fully satisfied.
An appraisal should be crafted with these conditions in mind so that employees are not discontent – the process should focus on the efforts of an employee, and the results of the effort.
Viewing performance appraisal as a one-dimensional job
Managers who look at performance appraisal as a one-way street – where it’s all about them reviewing the employees – get it all wrong. The best approach is to use the 360-degree feedback program, which is more of collaborative than one-way. Continuous feedback encourages self-awareness, offers a balanced view, uncovers blind spots, cultivates skills and most importantly identifies the strength.
Performance appraisal allows managers to offer positive feedback, and also identify areas that require improvement. It also provides avenues where employees can go to the management for discussions, as well as to point out issues, clarify expectations and set up short- and long-term goals. Companies should, therefore, invest in the latest methods of performance appraisal to ensure they are getting the most from the process.