Performance Appraisal Guiding Principles.
Performance appraisal is a topic which every organisation whether it is private or public speaks about a lot, yet it is a topic which makes managers and supervisors pull their hair apart and employees on the other hand experience a range of feelings such as fear to mental eye-rolling. Different organisations tackle performance appraisal in different ways. Some adopt the three or five point scale rating, others have processes built around it, and some organisations opt for a 360-degree performance review. There are also some organisations who drop the entire formal idea of performance appraisals with the intent of creating something better and providing an opportunity for open dialogue. Irrespective of the approach adopted by various organisations to carry out performance review, there are certain core principles which hold true. Let’s take a look at these core principles:
Performance Appraisal is a Day to Day Activity
Every day employees come to work, perform, and do what needs to be done. There are others who perform marginally and there are individuals who build a reputation of being role models or super performers. This is a trend that is found in every organisation irrespective of the type of industry that one is involved in. People work every day and every day presents an opportunity to identify the good and the bad, and the opportunity to encourage, praise, and train employees. Irrespective of the fact that whether your organisation appraises its employees formally or annually, as managers and supervisors your role stands beyond addressing performance and it rather needs you to keep an ongoing performance dialogue on the go on a day to day basis.
Communicating Performance Expectations Clearly
Organisational strategies and operational demands change from time to time, and the organisation needs to ensure that the direct impact of these changes or shifts on performance expectations is made clear to all the employees. Setting the right performance expectations entail clearly articulating the key responsibilities for each role, holding regular one on one meetings, ensuring that the employees are clear regarding the expectations from them, how they are going to be measured, and the impact of these measurements on them. When communication is done in a clear manner, employees have clarity regarding the expectations, and they are able to work in a much more focused manner to rise to the level of super performers or the like.
Making Conscious Performance Investments
It is not just enough to be aware of the fact the performance is an everyday activity, and that superior performance is not just a matter of an employee putting his or her best foot forward, but you also need to understand what factors define and drive performance in an organisation. In some organisations, performance management is done using tools, forms, and processes. In other organisations, performance management includes continuing the conversations around it. Managing performance entails perceiving employees as fitting into the following four categories:
Investment – Employees who drive operational success, impact strategy, and set a paradigm shift have a high level of actualized contribution towards the organisation with no negative impact on their colleagues. Hence the financial resources spent by the organisation on these employees for their training, development, and for fostering talent are a guaranteed return on investments for the organisation, and it creates an even stronger engagement with its best employees.
Assessment – There are employees who make marked contributions but perhaps not always consistently. These employees need support from your end to understand the bigger picture and the impact of their work/contribution on the final goal. The investment that you make on these employees are a part of the activity of assessment from your end in gauging if such group of employees have the potential in them to become high performers, and all that they need are strong leaders or mentors, relevant training, and many a time greater organizational involvement to help them achieve and perform their best.
The Right Kind of Push – There are employees who have probably not yet found their groove, or they show signs of potential, or they just show up to work every day and just perform their jobs based on their understanding of the expectations. Such employees have a lesser contribution towards the organisation or their peers, and hence they need the right kind of push. The investment made on such employees needs to be viewed both from an investment as well as an analysis perspective. You can either tap the full potential of such employees or after analysis determine that a particular role is not right for them at this point in their career.
Making them Understand their Next Steps – Some employees are just not able to meet any of the set expectations, or they have not been able to embrace the organisational culture, or they are a misfit for a lot of reasons. Such employees have an extremely low level of actual contribution towards the organisation or their peers. The organisation needs to spend time on such employees to help them understand their next steps so that they are able to utilise their unique key skill areas with a prospective employer and to prepare themselves to seek the right kind of role in the good organisation which meets their personal career value propositions in the best manner.