One of the most important responsibilities that people in management positions are expected to fulfil is conducting a performance review for different employees that work under them. No matter how small the team, reviewing an employee’s work performance is always considered a tough job by managers. Also, different tools, resources, and performance review methods can only review to an extent.
Beyond that, it is all about an employee’s contribution towards the growth of the company and the effort they have put in to develop themselves within their respective roles. It is also very important that the manager knows about employee development and their contribution towards the accomplishment of business goals.
Performance evaluation is not only hard for employees but managers as well. Having said that, it is an inevitable part of their jobs and at the same time, a very important part that ensures an employee’s as well as an entire team’s growth over time. Most managers feel that performance appraisal is a week or month-long process. This isn’t the case though. It is a year-long process that starts along with the new appraisal cycle.
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The feedback mechanism used should be spread at regular intervals throughout the year. What this will do is allow managers to come up with more comprehensive feedback, which employees won’t be averse to. When employees receive regular feedback, they won’t have any surprises to look forward to at the actual performance review that happens once a year. Managers need to create a yearly timeline for periodic feedback. This timeline should be communicated to everyone in the team so that nobody skips those due to any reason.
After a timeline is set for the performance review process, it is important to ensure that managers decide upon a few strategies that they will use to make the employee performance review more effective. There are several tried and tested strategies that can help them achieve that.
Goal setting holds key
As mentioned earlier, employees need to know everything about the performance review – right from timing to content and everything between. So it shouldn’t come across as a normal meeting to the employees. They should know the purpose of the meeting or face-to-face discussion. The review should begin with a planning phase at the start of a new appraisal cycle in which managers sit with their team members to discuss their objectives for the coming year. This is how managers can hold their teams accountable. And this is also the ideal way for managers to communicate their own expectations to their teams.
In order to get the best out of their employees and ensure that they have something that can help them evaluate different employees differently, managers need to make sure that they listen to what their team members have to say. Managers that have no idea about the ambitions and goals of an employee are likely to make mistakes when it comes to assessing employee performance. Different employees want different things out of their respective careers. Managers need to figure this out.
Right preparation can mean the difference
Before managers start calling their team members for face-to-face discussions, they should make them come up with a few things that they had achieved in the past year. It could be anything that they feel proud of. What this will do is not only give the right start to an event that is often dreaded by employees but also help managers revisit what they discussed with those employees earlier in the year. After this, managers can use whatever information they have about different employees already available with them. It could be about something that exceeded expectations or something that left a lot to be desired.
The next thing that a manager needs to do is talk to other people in the company about their experience of working with a particular employee. This will give managers a fair idea about the performance of an employee without any team boundaries. When employees are given their appraisal letter, they should be given their time to react to it and think about the future course of action.
Managers should stand their ground
The issues associated with a performance review that can lead to heated arguments between the two parties are pay and designation. The ideal thing to do would be to separately discuss these issues. However, most companies don’t follow this policy, and money and promotions are all a part of the same process. In that case, these issues shouldn’t be left for the end. If this is done, employees will only be thinking about their salaries through the entire discussion. So it is better to get done with this issue in the beginning.
Promotions can also be a cause for concern. Employees are awarded a higher designation based on the ratings provided by their managers. Managers should hold firm to their stand. The ratings depend on whether or not an employee has achieved the targets that were set right at the start of the year. There could be three scenarios here. The employee hasn’t achieved their target – they have achieved what they agreed to – they have gone beyond expectations. Promotions are usually granted to employees that fall in the third category. Managers should stick to what the information available to them says. This is why the planning phase is so important. It not only tells managers about the goals set by different employees but also how hard they are willing to work to achieve those goals or even go beyond them.
Performance evaluation of employees is all about helping them set the right goals and then making sure that they are putting the work in to achieve those. If they do well, they deserve a raise. If they don’t, they need to work harder.
Reference: Delivering an Effective Performance Review | Rebecca Knight | 3 November 2011
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