We all know the drill; an employee completes their self-appraisal. Then, their manager reviews it, writes a performance appraisal, and sends it to a higher-level manager for approval. The meeting between manager and employee takes place, both sign off on the appraisal, and now what? Let’s see, the exchange could have been worse:
The performance appraisal seems to be the focal point of the performance management process. But what if we looked at this from a different lens? Honestly, the performance appraisal could use a little TLC. Let me ask a you a few questions… Who likes to be rated? Who likes to look backwards? Who feels more motivated than ever after a performance appraisal meeting? I am almost certain that you didn’t raise your hand. Now that we identified the elephant in the room, let’s take an even deeper look!
When it comes to performance management, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. I believe in meaningful feedback. I believe that we should look forward and not backwards. This brings me to the point that if performance management is done right, then organizations have a better understanding of how to encourage, engage, and develop their teams. If done wrong, then it’s a frustrating process that creates a negative experience for both the employee and manager.
“The art of leadership is not to spend your time measuring, evaluating… It’s all about selecting the person. And if you believe you selected the right person, then you give that person the freedom, the authority, the delegation to innovate and to lead with some very simple measure.”
– Pierre Nanterme, CEO of Accenture.
A performance management process that uses a forward-thinking approach, which focuses on goals and continuous feedback, is a sure way to ensure that employees at all levels of the organization stay engaged. Here are a few tips to optimizing your performance management process:
- Recognize that performance management is more than just an appraisal. The workforce is changing and so should the performance management process. The process should focus on continuous feedback, like a coach on a sports team.
- Goal setting: a two-way street, not one sided. This is a collaborative exchange between manager and employee that allows for input into what the goals look like, how they will be achieved, and the time it will take to achieve them.
- What does success look like? Define the measures of success by communicating realistic expectations. A performance scorecard (not to be confused by an appraisal) is where managers and employees meet regularly to measure performance.
Companies who have taken the approach above, have had great success in eliminating the performance appraisals from their performance management processes. As with any change initiative, good and open communication with internal stakeholders is the key.
Keep pushing the limits to building a better workplace that is innovating, forward-thinking, and motivating!