The world of performance management is changing rapidly, but the way we manage our people hasn’t yet caught up. Many frontline managers are still relying on old management practices that are no longer effective or contribute to challenges with productivity. Let us show you some ways to freshen up your approach to appraisals…
The traditional performance appraisal – based on an annual rating system – is fundamentally flawed and disparate from the values-based, vision-driven and collaborative work environments that many organisations claim to have.
We now live in a world where business moves too quickly for annual reviews to be effective, and where people want immediate and meaningful feedback. By removing ratings and switching to more frequent, less formal check-ins, people can develop faster without the fear of having to justify a rating at the end of the year.
There are various approaches managers can use for different situations to motivate, engage and retain their employees. Here are a few ideas to help you shake things up:
- Monthly 1-2-1s. Some workers need goals once a month or even once a week (depending on your industry). Have regular catch ups to assess how employees are feeling about their current workload and whether they need more goals to work towards. Frequent communication helps with employee engagement and development as managers better understand how their people are doing.
- Quarterly team performance reviews. Work is happening in teams more than ever, and many people are involved in multiple teams that often spread around the world. This makes it difficult for managers to accurately know their team members’ performance, with employees doing work managers don’t see or even understand. Setting team goals to align every team member allows managers to correctly assess performance to set goals for the next quarter.
- Annual performance review. If done and managed properly, annual reviews can work. There’s no need to get rid of them completely as they can build a culture of trust among employees and managers. Use data for the whole year to talk about an employee’s performance and help them work towards their longer-term career goals.
- Real-time feedback. Whenever it feels right, it’s always good to give employees real-time feedback so they can improve their performance fast or feel appreciation in the moment. Regular reviews and feedback are needed so employees can constantly improve their performance and enjoy their time at the company.
Let’s look at a few companies that have changed their performance reviews:
Google exercises peer reviews so it doesn’t rely on management to collate feedback. Instead, it gathers realistic feedback from the people on the ground.
Zappos’ reviews are always linked to the company values to ensure the culture thrives via its employees.
Gap adopts monthly coaching sessions called GPS (grow, perform, succeed) between management and employees instead of annual reviews.
GE has a performance tracking mobile app that allows employees to make text and audio notes, attach documents and upload handwritten notes so managers can collaborate on progress and goal-setting.
If your current appraisal process isn’t working for you then think about an approach that feels right for your employees and company culture. Once you’ve found a solution that works for you, there are eight things you should always practice when it comes to conducting reviews:
- Transparency – set clear goals from the get-go
- Recognition – remove any fear by starting off with a positive
- Create an action plan together – start mapping out goals with the employee so they have a sense of ownership
- Set personal goals – what are their career goals and how can you help them?
- Take notes and follow up – note down everything you’ve discussed and follow up to make sure everyone is on the same page
- Gather regular employee feedback – make regular check-ins to ensure everything is on track
- Focus on behaviour, not personality traits – it’s easier for employees to accept feedback on what they do rather than about who they are
- Use as much data as possible – give employees real-time feedback that’s more accurate.