The Dreaded A-Word

The Dreaded A-Word

  • Date: Thursday 20th December 2018
  • PDF: Download

Most people cringe when they hear the word ‘appraisal’.  So, is there still a place for annual performance reviews in today’s fast-moving job world?

In years gone by, appraisals were often used as an adjustment tool for under-achievers.  And more often than not, this adjustment would happen once a year with no follow-ups or short-term objectives. Now, most employees despise being asked to ‘rate their performance’ and endure empty promises of development opportunities.

Ask yourself: What is the purpose of an appraisal?

If your answer is performance management, then STOP!  Performance should be managed continuously, not periodically.  In practice, this means addressing challenges as they arise. Don’t save up a bank of issues and then throw them at the individual during a formal session they are already dreading anyway. The result will not be a positive one.

If you use appraisals to catch up on an individual basis, communicate business goals and set personal objectives for the coming year, GREAT. An appraisal should be positive, up-beat and led by the appraisee, not the appraiser.

Consider the format

Annual one-to-one

The most traditional way to meet can be great for management and office-based workers. Meetings should take no longer than an hour and cover questions such as ‘What skills would you like to develop?’ ‘Is there any training you would like to attend?’ or ‘How have you contributed towards the goals of the organisation?’

You should also set SMART objectives and ensure that these are followed up appropriately.

PDP (Professional Development Plan)

Similar to the above but focussed on specific career progression. Explore the path the individual would like to take and the qualifications / training credits they would have to gain to do so. Again, the plan is based on SMART objectives.  A PDP review isn’t undertaken just once or twice a year but every few months to ensure progression.

Team Review

If the thought of a personal meeting sends shivers down your employees’ spines, reviewing performance as a team might be a good option. Set regular dates (maybe quarterly) and discuss big wins and big losses, gaps in training and innovation. Assign responsibilities for new projects and ask for champions for new initiatives. Don’t forget to keep objectives SMART, follow a clear agenda for each meeting and communicate progress.

Source: Manuela Grossmann, SSG

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