Appraising employees' performance is one of the most important jobs for a manager. Ideally, appraisals allow objective review of progress against agreed objectives, praise for work well done, and identification of opportunities to support continuing development.
All too often, however, the reality is that appraisals are an uncomfortable chore for managers, are seen as biased and unfair by staff and leave the HR department with a set of appraisal statistics in which no-one has any confidence.
Whether starting out to introduce an appraisal system for the first time, or seeking to refresh an existing system the principles for designing effective appraisals are the same:
- Clarify the objectives of the appraisal system - review of performance against objectives? identifying and addressing development opportunities? informing performance related pay? The most effective appraisal interviews adopt a clear focus for the discussion.
- Consult with managers and employees to identify what they need most from an appraisal system. What works in the current system and what doesn't? An appraisal process which is developed and owned by managers and staff is much more likely to succeed.
- Construct a process that allows effective dialogue between managers and staff about the perceptions of each regarding achievement of objectives, levels of performance and competency and personal development. Establish an explicit set of right and expectations of each party in the appraisal meeting.
- Train both appraisers and appraisees in what to expect and how to get the best from the appraisal system. Appraisers need more intensive training in listening, questioning and feedback skills to manage the process with competence and confidence.
- Design recording systems that support the appraisal meeting rather than work against it, e.g. does the collection of summary performance or competency ratings at this stage really add anything to the process?
- Review and evaluate the appraisal system regularly to ensure that it is delivering authentic discussions about performance, competency and development between managers and staff.
How can SR&A help?
Our consultants are experienced in the design of effective appraisal systems and in the provision of skills-based appraisal training. Call now on 0161 877 3277 to make a start on transforming your organisation's appraisals.