Employee Performance Appraisals or Review Meetings can be very useful in formulating a clear picture of your employee’s strengths and weaknesses with a view to identifying any gaps in their skills. It can also be important for motivating staff, as well as monitoring positive and negative attitudes and behavior. Many companies adopt a rigorous review process with six monthly face to face meetings held by Senior Managers, where others take a more ad hoc approach and review employees through the general monitoring of their performance. It is clear that these processes can be hugely beneficial to your business in terms of employees who feel valued and a part of the company’s overall aims.
Many employers have issues with the time it takes to conduct performance reviews
The issue that many employers have is the time it takes to conduct these reviews and measuring whether the outcomes have positive effects on performance. The process can be seen as an administrative chore and at times challenging for both employer and employee. Some experts believe that regular one-to-one meetings throughout the year can take the stress out of reviews/appraisals, particularly when communication is dominated by email and other electronic devices. These informal meetings have several benefits; as employers you are better informed as to what is happening in the company and issues can be identified and resolved quickly before they become an issue. Tasks and objectives can be agreed, completed and reviewed quickly ensuring that completion rates are reduced. It can also take the ‘fear factor’ out of formal appraisals and reviews.
360 reviews need to be handled with care
Recently some companies have adopted a 360 degree appraisal system whereby the employee receives feedback (usually anonymous) from multiple peers and managers who they come into contact with. It is important to remember that 360 degree feedback only provides a general perception of how an employee is performing and may not provide a comprehensive measure of performance. They also need to be handled with care as there is a risk of the evaluation becoming too personal and losing its objectivity.
Think of the appraisal/review as a collaborative effort, with both employer and employee contributing towards the discussion.
• The review/appraisal should be a positive experience, to help foster that feeling in your company explain what you are hoping to achieve in the meetings.
• Avoid using the appraisal/review process for matters of discipline, some companies also avoid discussing pay in order to steer the meeting towards the practicalities of performance and development.
• Take a “whole person” approach, one that develops advancement, motivation and new skills and will be relevant to increasing productivity in your company.
• Invest in some training for the person carrying out the appraisals/reviews, so that the process is effective for both your employees and your company.
Whichever strategy you take, the key is to explain the process clearly giving employees time to prepare, using pre-appraisal/review paperwork can help employees think and plan what they wish to discuss. The process should be completed by both parties formally agreeing with what has been said and any objectives that have been set should be put in writing so they can be monitored and the progress measured.
With employment rates at a record high in the UK, it is ever more important to keep your key employees engaged with the future of your company. An effective approach to appraisals will benefit both the employee and your company by meeting their developmental needs, keeping them with you and contributing to your long term objectives.