Death of the appraisal?

Performance reviews and / or appraisals benefit both the employer and their employees and although they are not a legal requirement, most businesses will in some way, shape or form conduct them annually. However, with the changing landscape of our workforce and more agile ways of working, coupled with employees who are often remote and much more technology savvy, are the current traditional methods of performance review still appropriate?

Essentially performance reviews have three basic functions:

  1. To provide feedback on employee behaviour, performance or progress towards targets or goals.
  2. To set objectives for future and to acknowledge strengths and identify areas of improvement.
  3. To provide Managers with information to enable career progression and employee development and to provide a forum to discuss ‘me’.

Whilst the main outcomes are the same, there are various ways of reviewing performance and not all will be suitable for your business. Below are five common traditional methods:

  1. Self-evaluation
  2. Behavioural checklists
  3. 360-degree feedback
  4. Management by objectives
  5. Ratings scale

Each method has its strengths and weaknesses and often the best approach requires a combination of methods, to create a review process that works for you. When deciding what method (or methods) work best for your company, it’s important to think about the industry you work in, what your priorities are and the culture of your organisation. You should also take into account your managers / supervisors’ skills, as performance reviews and appraisals which are undertaken badly are a disaster for businesses. If managers don’t like doing them, this will show and lead to all the opposite effects that this process is trying to achieve; happy motivated employees who are engaged and involved.

Keeping it simple is always the best approach.

What’s expected of me?

Where am I against this?

Are the gaps down to my attitude, behaviour or lack of skills in the required area?

How do I improve my performance? What do I need to change? Do I need any further support or training?

What are my career aspirations?

Some organisations are moving away from the annual set piece sit down and instead are moving to a more fluid process which supports the modern way of working; regular dialogue, an agile working environment and a pace of change which is quicker than ever before

The benefits of engaging with your employees on a more regular basis means that you can tackle issues as they develop and it also shows the employee that you are interested in them and their development and how they are coping with the daily stressors of work. The employer and employee relationship is very much a two way street and therefore getting this right can help with employee retention in a world where it is becoming more and more difficult to recruit the right people.

Ultimately there isn’t a one size fits all approach when it comes to implementing performance management. It’s important to find a method that works for your business and the people you employ that leads to positive business outcomes.

Doing performance reviews badly, is probably worse than not doing them at all!

To discuss any of the methods or for help on implementing a performance review procedure within your business contact us on 01302 341 344 and ask for our HR Consultancy Team. 

By Kris Kerins BSc (Hons) PGC (Tech Mgmt)Risk Services Adviser

 

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