Hitting the mark! – Performance Appraisals which work

It’s that time of the year again where if you don’t tackle performance reviews differently, you’ll hear the audible groans of your workforce when they are booked into calendars.

One of the busiest times of the year for Human Resources professionals can also be the most dissatisfying and frustrating, not to mention how time consuming they are.

Well, who’s fault is that???

We have the power to make performance appraisals matter. We have the power to make them effective for both the company and the individual and we have the power to ensure that people emerge from their reviews in a happier and, god forbid, inspired state than when they sat down… So why do some organisations do these so badly??

In my experience, this occurs for a few reasons:

  1. Organisations getting so caught up in ticking the boxes to state that the reviews have been carried out rather than focusing on the real purpose of the review
  2. There is no consistency in the processes
  3. Managers and individuals have no real rapport prior to reviews – team members must feel comfortable with their reviewer and work closely with them – even if they are not located near each other.
  4. There is not enough real-time put into the preparation for a review.
  5. Individuals do not have real accountability for their own career progress and there are no check-in points from one review to the next.
  6. Feedback is limited and does not necessarily capture true performance and achievements or, for that matter, issues.
  7. Career development plans/goals are not SMART(I) – Smart, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely.. Or INSPIRATIONAL at all!

A consistent approach to performance appraisals is the key to their success and whilst I acknowledge and fully support the ‘non tick box’ formula, I do know that a system with consistent information to assess against to form part of the review is essential. However, the system provides you with the framework and is just the tool.

What needs to accompany this are three areas which MUST be directly linked to remuneration

  1. Relevant data and information to discuss and regularly come back to
  2. A good solid inspiring career development plan
  3. A direct  or indirect link to company goals and strategic plans

When linked to remuneration, it immediately requires engagement from both managers as well as individuals to provide tangible evidence to assess performance. Individuals need support from their managers when establishing career development goals but if they are inspiring enough and they are relevant to both current job roles, company goals and further progression, there is a far higher chance that they will be achieved.

Performance reviews should be structured but free flowing as far as general conversation, hence the need for proper time to be put aside.

Managers and individuals should be clear at the end as to what each have committed to and then regularly check in with support from us in HR to drive it all forwards.

Think outside the square and get back to the basics of why the reviews are happening in the first place- if necessary, get managers together and discuss it openly. Ineffective and disliked review processes should not exist!

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