The end of January heralds the first talk of the annual performance reviews or appraisals. HR having recovered from Christmas and New Year is busy reading up on the latest Employment Law updates when the managers coming knocking on their door for help and advice. Many managers despair at the thought of stopping work (as they see it) to have to run the annual appraisal. There are the usual mutterings about it being a waste of time, or they lack the skills or have no time to prepare or……..simply they are put off because the paperwork is so onerous and complicated. The documentation has completely taken over the process and everyone has to learn again how to fill in all those forms again.
And why is it so onerous? One of the reasons is that many company schemes have been developed over time and with lots of different inputs. New managers bring in favourite bits from their old company’s scheme and add those to the original. Someone reads a book on competencies or hears on the grapevine of other ways to record information and these are added to the mix. Eventually any scheme will just buckle under the weight of documentation. And how do they try to sort it? Often by putting it all online or on the company intranet and the system then separates reality from the people. It recreates itself as it blossoms and grows.
A major shock to this organic method of getting an appraisal system is introduction of competencies. Wow, it gives us more to measure and more to score. It’s not difficult to see why people find appraisals so unpopular. So when people question why they don’t deliver improved performance it time to start again. I love when I am shown competencies such as ‘be able to proactively forward plan’ err what? Or where managers are asked to score 1 to 5 against a person’s honesty for example…..I mean do you really want to employ someone who gets a grade 3 in honesty?
The annual appraisal need to go back to basics – Managers should view their one to one with each of their reports as a way of sharing last years successes, discussing the organisation’s future goals and then selecting and agreeing on objectives in line with the organisation so everyone feels a part of the whole. This is the one adult to adult conversation you must have and afterwards an agreed summary of the discussions can be handed on to HR. Learning needs are identified at the same time, especially if they will help the staff member acheive their agreed objectives and a manager can see those who want or need help and those who are their rising stars.
This enables the annual appraisal meeting to be what it should always be – a splendid occasion to encourage and improve performance to the benefit of the individual and for the organisation.
Quicklearn delivers appraisal skills training for managers to help them to establish the communication skills to make the discussion a breeze. Email Charlotte@quicklearn.co.uk for a no obligation chat about how to make your appraisals or performance reviews ‘a look forward’ to experience.