Repurposing Performance Appraisals

Let’s look forward, not back.

“Traditional” appraisals are dreaded by managers, employees and often most of all by HR administrators. Employees need consistent feedback throughout the year and more emphasis on development. Let’s not stop the meetings — let’s use them for good, for looking forward instead of looking back.

Don’t stop the meetings, change their purpose.

Regular annual or semi-annual meetings between employee and manager are essential opportunities for in-depth focus on the employee’s plans and professional growth. Time flies, and unless there is something scheduled, those meetings can be lost in the fog of everyday priorities.

Regular meetings are best used to look to the future. My favorite model supports rating the results of goals, creating new goals, and using competencies as resources to develop needed skills for attaining new and continuing goals.

Often our clients do not abandon ratings altogether — the ratings still support pay for performance and provide information for succession planning. Our clients tend to put their current appraisals online, and then evolve towards a model that is focused on rating results and developing employees for the future.

Let’s make ongoing feedback easy and habit-forming.

Performance management is most effective when there is ongoing feedback. Two tools that can be very helpful are journaling and kudos. An ideal kudos systems allows kudos to be created by and for any employee in the company. It would have emails which can be cc’d to any number of employees and are stored as part of the recipient’s and sender’s history.

A kudo system can provide valuable information about managers too. Who is sending them and how often? Is the manager receiving kudos from their employees?

Managers and employees should make it a habit to provide ongoing feedback to peers, management and team members. When a company combines ongoing feedback with development meetings, they have a great infrastructure for the essential communication that needs to happen for every employee.

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