Your Performance Appraisal – Love or Dread?
What if, tomorrow all competency frameworks, all appraisal processes, all talent grids and profiles went up in smoke?
Would people stop doing their jobs?
We don’t think so. The appraisal is dead. This is also the view of many commentators today. What real value do they add? How do they help people to be the best of themselves when all we are really doing is placing restrictions on them by comparing them to others, putting them in boxes, scoring them like they’re in a gymnastics or dancing competition?
How many people in employment look forward to their appraisal or talent review?
In recent months many high-profile organisations have been reported as having abandoned their annual appraisal processes. According to The Harvard Business Review, by some estimates, more than one-third of U.S. companies are doing just that, including Microsoft, Adobe, and IBM and GE systems.
It appears business is coming round to the view that the traditional annual appraisal system doesn’t work. Gallup research from 550 organizations and 2.2 million employees found that only 50% of employees knew what was expected of them at work.
According to CEB, a corporate research and advisory firm, only 4% of HR managers think their system of assessing employees is effective at measuring performance — and 83% say their systems need an overhaul.
The reason? Basically, we hold up our job description as ‘our perfect employee’, then once a year measure people against it, often scoring, basically telling people that they are not good enough. Many appraisal systems fail because we’re all human and giving and getting grades can seem threatening. We all want to fit in, be liked and succeed, so being ‘scored’ can feed our limiting beliefs and make us focus on the negative, feel anxious, defensive and take things personally – focusing on fear and ‘prove myself’, rather than performance.
Does your process allow managers to hide behind it? So, avoid regular feedback, or having difficult conversations, as we know, most of us don’t like doing this.
Performance reviews often become something to be endured for both the manager and the employee. something to report, rather than being inspiring, useful and productive development or celebration of achievement.
Companies that have seen the light have replaced the annual appraisal with more regular feedback conversations.
Are you being accountable?
How many of us actively seek out feedback – or self-appraise, what did I do well in that situation and what could I have done better? If we all did it more, it would become part of a normal conversation, rather than a forced, formal and weird one.
Tips for Humanising Feedback
Focus on listening, don’t worry about what to say next.
Curb your emotional response, this is not about you.
Use questions when giving feedback. E.g: How do you feel it went? What would you change? What could make it more powerful?
Avoid using the word ‘why?’ It carries judgement.
Respond to others’ work with warmth, energy and enthusiasm. Show people you like them.
Be clear in your expectations, let people know what you want, how and by when.
Embrace the energy of growing and developing yourself and others.
Watch your tone, don’t be condescending. Really care about each other and you will grow as a team.
Feedback is about clarity and sharing. There’s nothing wrong with sharing what you’d encourage someone to do even better – how else can we learn from each other? Be ready and open to others’ having an opinion too.
How positive and motivating is your performance review process? If the answer is low – come and talk to us, we’d love to help.