5 Ways to Conduct Well-Rounded Performance Review
Work culture and the nature of work has seen a drastic change in the last decade. This has become more of a reality with the start-up boom in the country, open office structures, flexible work schedules and collaborative work situations, are all pushing both employees and employers to be more and more adaptable.
While performance review methods and approaches differ from organisation to organisation, the way we conduct performance appraisals must also undergo a sea change. Why? Because the one-size-fits-all approach is not relevant anymore.
Most companies circulate forms at the end of the year to employees, which they fill up and return. Often times, there is no feedback to the employees afterwards about the performance or any discussion about the way forward. At times they figure out how they have fared only after the company declares increments.
Performance appraisals no longer have to be a yearly exercise, but an ongoing process. This is especially true in new age companies where roles are continuously changing and targets are altering frequently.
Therefore, organisations today must follows a more holistic approach to performance evaluation that will help retain talent, attract new talent and get the most out of employees.
Whether it’s a performance review, increment or implementation of a performance improvement plan the following suggestions will help you design a more relevant evaluation. The crux lies in the idea to improve communication between managers and employees.
Here are five ways that will improve the results and effectiveness of performance evaluation:
1. Commitment to goals:
This is crucial to all performance appraisals. It has been a standard part of the performance evaluation process for a long time. This should typically include assessing the quality of work, the time and effort put into the job, time management, attendance, the level of effectiveness on the job, communication with team members.
At the end of the day, the execution of a job is most important. A commitment to do something means it is done on time, and the quality of the work should also be consistent and excellent, in order to give higher ratings. Their speed of completion and the quality of their tasks will ensure they are working on things that are in line with the growth of the company.
Another important aspect is time management. So tracking every project and deliverable and determining whether it is done on time and within a certain budget gives a consistent picture of an employee’s performance.
In case, performance is found to be below expectations, the team leader should address these concerns as soon as possible, and not wait for the performance appraisal cycle. Communication should also be documented for further use. A below par performance review need not be seen as a negative thing but can help the employee improve within a given time frame.
A once a year performance review has little or no reflection of how an employee performs on the job every day. Therefore it is necessary to include different, all-round methods of evaluation of performance that will give a good sense of their work and working style.
Self-assessment is a popular way, and a good way to mark the boundary lines in order to help chart out an employee’s output. It should be a detailed, qualitative way to give you a sense of the employee’s perception of their own work.
Self-Evaluation should be designed to assess the level of ownership. It should outline successful milestones, the effectiveness of the project from the employee’s viewpoint, it should give a sense of their worth. It can also be used to get employee solutions, which will give a greater sense of belongingness to the job.
Team leaders should share results of a self-assessment as it will serve as feedback for improvement. While self-appraisals can be very self-focused, it is necessary to design it to bring out the overall qualities of an employee.
Also, every performance review is an opportunity for career advancement. Self-appraisal can also be used to understand individual employee goals, which in turn should be in line with the organisation’s goals. This can also be reviewed at subsequent appraisals, to ensure that the employee was being honest and sincere about their commitment to the job.
3. Ability to give and receive feedback:
No matter how well you execute a job, there will be someone who believes it can be done differently and will have a difference of opinion on performance. This is often tough. Not everybody views feedback as a good, positive thing. Therefore it is important to change the outlook on feedback.
Giving and receiving feedback, advice and criticism is part and parcel of every job. If given and received in the right spirit even critical feedback will go down well. It is a stepping stone for improvement. A good way to do it is focusing on the work that needs to be done, and work-related feedback without getting personal.
Also, highlighting the good and positives, along with highlighting the negatives will soften the blow and make the person at the receiving end feel more like an equal, and more like a part of the organisation. Feedback should also be two-way to address inadequacies and should be done at regular intervals. It shouldn’t end there but should be reviewed again to see if feedback has been implemented. The environment and manner in which any feedback is given is extremely crucial which not all managers are good at. Equip your managers to communicate feedback effectively before they sit across with their team members.
4. Work-life balance:
Work balance is especially important to millennial employees who enjoy diverse activities. While it is not the job of an organisation to provide work-life balance for employees, the environment at work indirectly supports their choices of how to spend free time.
In other words, employers are not responsible for providing work balance for their employees, but they can assist the employees to seek and maintain their own work balance. Optimistically, the decisions, policies, values, and expectations in the workplace support employees in their work-life balance choices.
In the best case scenario, these choices help you to recruit and retain superior employees. Some things are in your control can encourage or discourage employee work-life balance. They include offering flexible work options that allow for assessing the output rather than simply time taken to do a job, ensuring they don’t carry over work on weekends, or compensate for it if it happens, offering them family-friendly facilities like day-care, or remote working in case of emergency, are just some ways in which employers can show their support for a good work-life balance. This can also give insight into the management style of the company, and the level of stress in the team.
5. Innovation, aspiration and ambition:
While areas such as marketing, communication and finance are considered to be core functions for an organisation, innovation often comes under the category of a “good quality to have” rather than essential. However, with changing work cultures, this has to be part of the psyche, and executives have to also be trained to be innovators.
Often, yet many of us do not hold ourselves accountable enough to build the right foundation to achieve our aspirations. Once it is identified and put on the table, managing employee aspirations effectively can be a key driver of growth for both employees and the company. Knowing employees aspirations is the first step and you can help them convert these aspirations into more specific, measurable and time-bound goals, and provide the necessary resources to fulfil these.
Similarly, taking note of an employee’s career ambition, within the job and in the long-term can help the organisation evaluate and re-evaluate if the goals are on the same page. Charting the progress quantitatively, and individually can also help the organisation attract like-minded talent.
In the ever-changing work scenario, the performance review also has to undergo a new avatar to make it more relevant. It is important to note the traditional parameters to assess a project or job, but it is more important to have a holistic, qualitative assessment of an employee. It is necessary for team leaders to ensure the progress of their employees and without all these inputs performance reviews will just become a form-filling exercise.
Last but not the least; develop a performance management process which helps you retain a spectrum of skills, not just high-potential (hi-pot) employees. Leaders must not focus increments and promotions only for high-pot as it undermines the work of the others which actually forms the majority of talent in any organisation.
If you are still in two minds as to how to bring about a smooth transition in your review cycle, get in touch with us – firstname.lastname@example.org. We can provide a customised solution for improving your company’s people management skills and also suggest the best way to provide rewards and recognition to your employees.
Author Profile: Deepam Yogi is an adventurer at heart, socially conscious in her gut and professionally a strategic consultant. She co-founded Yellow Spark to support organisations to build workplaces that people love being a part of. Deepam describes herself as a shy yet opinionated writer, and firmly believes that most answers to complex issues lie in simple communication.