Performance Appraisals

Performance Appraisals and Work Review Design

The traditional approach to performance management is under challenge, and it’s time to take a fresh approach. More regular work reviews are more powerful forums for coaching and motivating. The design of these vital dialogue meetings between leaders and employees is the key to ensuring success.

Reports of the death of the work appraisal are greatly exaggerated, surely. It’s hard to imagine any organisation being able to manage its talent effectively without some way of evaluating peoples’ performance and work delivery. However, too many performance management systems are failing to truly engage employees and drive their performance. This is primarily due to their past focus on assessing historic behaviour, instead of looking forward and building engagement towards future goals.   

Many appraisal systems will rely on a variation of the three steps of: providing performance goals; measuring performance against these; and providing feedback on this measurement. This approach is mostly effective for roles that are stable and predictable, with clearly observable outcomes. It is much less applicable to modern roles that are less simple to define, and that require a more dynamic, adaptable approach within a fast-changing environment. The traditional approach often feels procedural and can foster a culture of subordination amongst employees. 

The traditional 3-step performance review is also essentially an ‘appraisal’ of what has happened - in the past tense. So it’s actually too late to influence behaviour or outcomes!

It is now well established that more engaged employees are more productive, persistent, proactive and adaptable. Therefore, focusing on building engagement, rather than trying to ‘manage’ performance is much more likely to facilitate greater outcomes. It is more effective to focus on this ‘lead’ measure - the precursor to performance – in order to leverage something that to actually changes outcomes. Poorly design appraisals focus on ‘lag’ measures – events that we are no longer able to influence.

If you are looking to refresh your approach to performance management, please do not hesitate to contact a consultant to discuss ideas.

There is more content on its way to propose a fresh, more engaging approach to staff appraisals.