Appraisal Feedback

Appraisal systems have been around since the industrial revolution when they were used to measure the production of a workforce. There were clear definable objectives, produce x number of widgets by Friday, they were by default SMART and very much tied reward as the workers salary was often based upon weekly production.

Many people feel their pay-rise, and continued employment, depend on performing well in a short interview. People worry about appraisers who may not like them; who have to make subjective judgements and who may have stepped “out of the wrong side of bed that day”. Many people worry about their inadequacies being exposed and about being belittled.

The purpose of the session should be to talk about the employees job performance. It should be an opportunity for the supervisor and the employee to determine where supportive action is needed. The performance appraisal should not be used as a disciplinary tool.

Performance appraisal is the end of a process that goes on all the time – a process that is based on good communication between manager and employee. So,more time should be spent preventing performance problems than evaluating at the end of the year. When managers do good things during the year, the appraisal is easy to do and comfortable, because there won’t be any surprises.

Appoint an Implementation Team. This task force should be a diagonal slice of both appraisers and appraisees from different levels and functions in the organization. The implementation team is responsible for accomplishing the two major requirements for a successful system.

Appraisal time is dreaded by both managers and employees. In the 15 years that I worked in the sales and marketing division I think I actually saw my evaluation 3 or 4 times. Yes, I was supposed to sign it every year but I rarely had the opportunity. I’d usually ask my manager for a copy in February or March. Most of the time he would say it wasn’t finished yet. I’d persist for 3 or 4 months and then give up.

Managers delude themselves into believing they can assess staff performance, even if they hardly ever see their staff actually doing their jobs, or the results of their jobs). Not possible. Most managers aren’t in a position to monitor staff consistently enough to be able to assess well.

The appraisal form is a lightning rod that will attract everyones attention. Design the form early and get lots of feedback on it. Dont believe anybody who tells you that the form isnt important. Theyre wrong. If youre designing a new form internally, make sure it assesses both behaviors and results.

A manager needs help an employee by explaining to the person what isn’t working. Recently I was told about an associate attorney who had worked for a partner on a project. When the project was completed the associate assumed the partner liked her work since the partner took it and never made any comments on it.

Prepare an Appraisal form (or format or questionnaire) based on the role of the HR person handling particular functionlisting the grades, evaluation criteria etc. It should clearly specify that people with so and so rating will get this much of increment and people above X rating will be considered for promotion.

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