Performance Appraisal Checklist for Managers
There is an age-old joke going within the corridors of corporate sector: Firing and Performance review are the only two things which a manager is scared of and ‘Getting fired’ and ‘Performance Review’ are the only two things which an employee is scared of.
Performance appraisal was once the unquestioned way of doing things, the familiar ritual in which employees and managers sat down for an annual evaluation. If the employees were lucky, they walked away with raises, often tied to a ranking on some sort of rigid numerical scale. Nobody really liked it, but in the old command-and-control style of organizational leadership, this seemed like a perfectly appropriate model for measuring performance.
But today, with the widespread emphasis on teamwork, shared leadership, and an on-going struggle to find and retain qualified employees, it's a model that is falling increasingly out of favour.
In a recent survey conducted by SHRM, 32% of the HR professionals surveyed cited deficiencies in leadership development, coaching, 360-degreefeedback, and development planning in their performance management process. 22% said that the greatest challenge they and appraising managers face is a lack of a defined structure and post review metrics.
Top 4 reasons why majority of performance appraisals fail:
- Vague feedback
When a manager isn’t ‘bought’ into the process, he may be tempted to rush through and simply give some general feedback. Vague feedback doesn’t help an employee to improve or to know what they did well so they can repeat that in the future.
- The Recency effect
It’s easy to let one recent mistake or success cloud the entire review process. While it’s natural to discuss the most recent events, your business is aiming to review performance for the entire year in an appraisal.
- No follow-up plan
Once the appraisal is done, it is often put into the employee’s file and forgotten about until next year. If each appraisal isn’t tied in to the business or company’s strategic goals, it’s a waste of time for your business. A performance plan is a progress report which indicates monthly, and quarterly what the goals of the position are and how the employee can make a difference in his/her role.
- Reviewing Tasks and not Behaviours
The number one reason performance appraisals fail is because they only measure skills to do the job, and not abilities that are needed for the job. In other words, having the keen ability to interface with customers and peers in an effective and emotionally intelligent way which is and should be part of all types of jobs, is not measured.
At Learngage, we have been training managers and appraisers with a comprehensive 2-day workshop delivered in-class and over-the-web with exposure to industry standard tools and video aids that will help make effectiveness of the process better.
Having worked with over 500 participants in this journey, following are broad steps that managers need to keep in mind during their performance appraisal
Step One: Preparation
The key to success in any appraisal is preparation. In this case, preparation means sitting down and creating objectives for the performance period. Managers need to ensure that people know what's expected of them if we ever expect them to achieve it. If people don't know where they're going with a road-map, how can we ever expect them to get there?
Step Two: Assessment
A manager’s critical responsibility is assessing and giving timely feedback to team-members on their performance. There are many benefits to doing this. Feedback on performance that is given as soon as possible has proven to be the most effective. It's not fair or effective to tell someone how he is not doing well or did well weeks after the job is done. Let people know quickly so they can either address the error or replicate the success.
Continuous assessment and feedback is the key to ensuring that there are no surprises, which of course also lessens the likelihood of a confrontation. Surprises create confrontations. Communication prevents them.
Step Three: Reviewing documents
Before you actually do sit down with the employee, review all your documentation from the year. Take a look again at the objectives that you and the employee agreed to and documented at the beginning of the year. Look for any recommendations or letters you may have received from clients and peers during the year. It's another great technique for reducing or eliminating surprises.
Step Four: Appropriate setting
Make sure that you have an appropriate setting in which to deliver the appraisal. The most commonly used location, a manager's office, is often the worst place. It's not neutral territory and no matter how much rapport-building you do or how long you've worked with the employee, it's still "your turf."
A conference room is often best, but if that's not available, find some other meeting room.
Step Five: Deliver it clearly
Deliver the appraisal in simple language. Don't use code or jargons, and don't mince words. Don't beat around the bush even if the appraisal is not as positive as the employee might have hoped.
Step Six: Encouragement
At the conclusion of the performance appraisal meeting, which also marks the end of one performance appraisal cycle and the beginning of the next, your job is to encourage. You want to motivate the employee to continue doing that which he does well and to improve in the areas where there is room for growth. This is the best way to make these meetings productive and positive. Even if the person's appraisal has not been as high as he might have hoped, remind the employee that he is still valued and that you'll support him in his development.
I look forward to hear from you on how you are creating an appraisal culture within your organisation by making performance review an enjoyable and a rewarding process for managers and employees.