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 have been working recently with a company who have created software to enable an organisation to run their whole performance management online. Looking a little like Facebook it allows staff and managers to check regularly on their progress against objectives and feed back the quick wins or seek help to achieve. Of course you still need the one to one conversation but this way it ensures both parties know exactly what they should be talking about and the summary of that conversation agreed and uploaded. Afterwards learning needs can be identified and a manager can see at a glance those who want or need help to improve performance and those who may be their rising stars.
Of course this is much easier, less time consuming and much more beneficial. It works all through the year so there is no need to re-learn how to do it each time. And it enables the annual appraisal meeting to be what should always have been – a splendid occasion to encourage and improve performance to the benefit of the individual and for the organisation.
The performance management system is transparent anyone from the board to the workers can access their role and see how their objectives work to the overall success of the business.
Quicklearn offers practical support for organisations considering implementing performance management systems as well as training in face to face skills so as to improve communications. Read about our performance management workshops here