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Performance Appraisals, or evaluations, are a process where job performance is measured, documented and evaluated. This can occur as a formal process or in a more informal way. Either way there needs to be a goal to be achieved and an outcome that can be measured. It all sounds very black and white and process driven, with very little room for humanity. This is where many companies go very wrong.
If we can't allow the human side to enter our performance appraisals we are setting ourselves up for failure, as we are cutting out a key part of what makes our business function. People are your greatest assets in any business, and you need to think of all of your internal processes from this view point, if you really want to build a sustainable and successful business that is run by engaged people.
If you are still in start-up phase, then planning for your business evolution is very important, and is often your sole focus. Early in the development of organizations processes tend to be very fluid, as people are asked to step in and perform multiple roles. The performance evaluations during these early stages may be more informal, occurring over a series of conversations that are suitable for the changing environment.
As the company grows there is a need to move toward formal performance evaluations that is part of a systematic approach used to help manage employee performance, and conversely employee engagement and success. Whilst also establishing internal accountability and acceptance. At this point this needs to be done in a way that is positive and accepted, otherwise people start to feel like they are being watched and judged in a way that creates distrust and fear. Many organizations suffer from this, in fact often performance appraisals are feared by both the appraisee and the appraiser. This dose not benefit anyone. Performance appraisal should, and can be largely positive experiences. To allow this to happen in your business you need to focus on more than just metrics, and open the process to all aspects of what engages your people in the workplace.
This week’s show focuses on maximizing your performance appraisal process and establishing it so that you are actually engaging your people, and not just judging them unfairly or suddenly. Done well you will find that Formal Appraisals can be a big positive in an organisation, but they do take focus to get them right. So why do they have the habit of generating so much fear and unrest for everyone involved. In essence formal appraisals were once mostly just used to judge success against very black and white parameters and metrics, often unexpectedly or without prior communication. Regularly forgetting that you are dealing with people, not just numbers.
This is where the fear associated with them stemmed from, being judged against things you may not be able to control directly. This never makes people feel safe or valued. The interesting thing is both employees, and the managers and leaders doing performance appraisals often dread the experience, or are downright scared. If this is the case in your business then we need to fix it as soon as possible!
Performance appraisals should be supportive and positive, not fearful. After all, a good formal appraisal system can actually make your people more engaged with your business…..I know that sounds counter intuitive,, as no one likes to feel judged, but think about it for a moment. If you have nothing in place that you can control, and you know you are going to be called to task, you will always be fearful.
However, if you have something that allows you to be clear on your expectations, and that is coupled with a supportive leader who helps you achieve it, then the performance appraisal becomes a different scenario, and this is what we want to achieve for you. Plus if you add a behavioural component to capture the fact that you are dealing with people as well as numbers you start to develop trust and acceptance. Now I am not expecting everyone to come to FPA as the highlight of their day, but it definitely should not be something they are scared of. Today’s show will help you get there and show you how to build, or revise your formal performance appraisal process for the greatest level of success for your people and your business.
What You Need to Do
Key steps for Developing your Formal Performance Appraisals
Can be defined as the process through which managers ensure employees activities and outputs are congruent with the organisation’s goals, it needs to match up, so to achieve this, we focus on 3 key points;
There are three key parts to every performance management system, and this is what you need to focus on when you are working with your people to develop your Formal Performance Appraisals
All 3 need to present for an effective system that aids positive leadership and culture
Key tips for a positive Performance review
If you keep Formal Appraisals interactive and clear, with a solid base in the job description, it will make all of the difference. Those companies that have the most success, have quarterly reviews which allow people to rate themselves and discuss the outcomes with their managers. Systems are in place to ensure everyone understands how they are rated and the ways in which they can achieve. This includes behavioural components as well as metrics. This leads to not only more engaged people, but ones who are invested in the company, and feel supported.
Hence, it largely takes the fear out of the formal performance appraisal process. The next step is to ensure the formal appraisals are linked to career or personal growth, so it makes the process more about individual needs, not just company needs. This then allows your formal appraisals to become a point of encouragement and support, and not just a budget review. This means value creation is achieved and the fear drops away. This is achievable in any company, adn leads to massive internal rewards as your people feel valued and accepted, encouraging them to focus on giving back all they can.
Previous: Episode 10 Continuous Improvement can be something your people love, while driving your business to greater success.
Next: Episode 12 Coach your way to Exceptional Leadership
Written by Lisa Askwith
Director of ApexBRS | ApexBRS, Regional Director of See Global Media, Chair of EGN Singapore, and Associate Professor Cambridge Corporate University | At the Age of Change, providing the HR component of the Global Executive MBA and BBA. Lisa has worked for some of the largest companies in the world and successfully led restructures and change management programs in order to improve the bottom line through engaging the people for success, while developing exceptional leaders who can make a positive impact on Culture and long term business sustainability.
You can connect with Lisa on any of her platforms
LinkedIn Lisa Askwith - Director - Apex BRS
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