Appraisals bring with themselves a mixed bag of emotions and anticipations for the managers, HRs and employees. The managers use it to justify the pay hike/ promotions they give and distribute the limited funds they have in appreciating their top performers. On the other hand, employees see it as dread while still working towards the set goals so that they can become the high performer and get a good hike and/or promotion finally. However, it is only at the time of the final review meeting that the employees get to know if all the efforts and initiatives they took around the year were worth it or not.
This is surely the celebration time for the ones identified as top performers but the plight of those who did not get the raise as they expected is a blend of anger and sorrow. Appraisals take a toll, especially on the part of your workforce who did not find an appropriate justification!
As a manager of the team or the chief happiness in charge (HR) of the company, it is vital for you to make sure that you are conducting appraisals the right way. Trust us, it will motivate the low performing employees, keep the high performing employees happy and you guilt-free.
It is unfair to review the performance of employees without making them aware of your expectations. So, here’s how you prepare yourself and the employees for performance review/ appraisal meetings.
- Identify Goals– It is imperative to document short term and long term goals of each employee. The goals should be classified under two columns- KRAs and KPIs, that are, key result areas and key performance indicators. For instance, for a sales executive, they can be New leads, existing client engagement, number of demos, and more. Try to keep it a mix of qualitative and quantitative goals by defining the targets for some and leaving a few (that involve cooperation) for peer review in the form of ratings.
- Tell them the bigger picture– Meet the team members and show them the KRAs and KPIs you have set for them. Let them understand and agree on the goals set. You should also make them aware of the importance of this process and how it will promote completely fair appraisals.
- Set a duration for assessment- After setting the goals, fix a date for assessment or the date for quarterly review from then.
- Use a tool to track performance– Use a robust performance management software that can help you in doing a continuous assessment and 360° feedback. Allow peer feedback for the tasks that involved cooperation or were delegated to the employee by some other office or manager in the company.
- Keep a continuous tab– While the software is keeping the record of work done along with its quality; you should make it a habit to go check the software once in 3 days to track the progress and performance of employees. This will eliminate the shock you might give them at the appraisal meeting. Let the individuals in your team know if they are going on the right track or there is a scope of improvement before “the meeting”.
It is easy for you to get swayed away by the recent impression you have of the employee before the immediate meeting time, but, remember the motive of the meeting is to review the performance of the employee for the whole quarter, half-year or whole year. Here is what else you should not forget.
- Ask the employee to do self-appraisal first- Don’t put him in the judgment light only so soon, allow him to talk about the company and you as well. Let him give his feedback first if the company has fulfilled his expectations as an employee or not, let him speak about his achievements and failures in the job role himself.
- Tell them your take precisely using the data- It is necessary to back the good and the especially the bad you say about the performance of the employee. While you give your review on their performance, keep the following in mind-
1. Take a good look at the performance throughout
2. Learn to balance/choose your words wisely
3. Give constructive feedback
There is a huge difference that your words can make if you say two bad things, say at least one good one. Remember, there is a huge difference in saying, “You are a poor performer!” and “There is a scope for improvement”.
- Suggest an improvement plan- Instead of making the individual feel bad about the performance, your goal as the manager or HR should be to help him improve. So, suggest an action plan to them which may involve the addition of a new skill set, having the employee attend training, asking him to be more diligent and much more.
After the appraisal meeting is over, the next cycle begins. What do you do with the improvement plan? Does it go for a toss? NO! Here’s what you should do.
- Decide a date for the next review meeting- After the review is done, you should fix meetings with the low performers, say for the next quarter or after 6 months. Meanwhile, you can ask them to take more initiatives, so that you can check the quality, timeliness or other expectations that they weren’t able to fulfill earlier.
- Talk to the team members more frequently- Don’t forget your responsibilities right after the meeting, keep asking the employees formally and informally if they need support.
- Appreciate publicly and state loopholes separately- The best quality that you can imbibe as a manager is to appreciate the little efforts and achievements of each employee without waiting for “the time” and to point out their mistakes in a one-on-one conversation only.
Happy Appraising! 🙂