How to make appraisals result driven?
Most employees are familiar with their organization’s vision and values. It’s common practice for management to define these to represent the organization’s ethos – what they do and why – and set a forward-looking goal about what they are trying to achieve. One such aspect that ties in with the culture and ethos is an appraisal. Every employee considers an appraisal to be extremely important to their career goals. Appraisals help employees evaluate and determine how they have scaled with the company. It is also one of the ways for them to know if the employer values their contribution.
First, an organization needs to understand what results they aim at achieving with the process of appraisal. Appraisal is a time when the entire management comes together to discuss the performance of an employee, keeping certain aspects in mind like identifying how frequently the organization intends to perform this exercise and how to make it more effective.
Management should understand and recognize if the session should be a formal interaction each time that requires documentation manually, or through an online app. Technology is also making appraisals simpler in large companies and can absolutely be applied as it would assist through the process. Organizations need to strategize on how to communicate to employees, in what time period etc. These aspects help an organization decide the end result and also their strategy over time.
It is important to act on the development goals as it shows the value of their findings, the value of the process in addition to the intent of the company. Keeping the process consistent and working on improving it along the way will result in a more effective outcome over time and eventually result in showing clear ROI of the whole process.
Over the years I have seen many instances where I would go through appraisals at the very last moment. This would make us set our goals at the end of the year when the appraisal documents were due. Finally, It did not serve any purpose and we would not achieve the result the company was looking at which was for the purpose of documentation. The purpose of documentation here was to support the organization to fairly evaluate the goals vs the performance of an employee. Ideally, a goal setting activity is done at the end of an Annual Operation Plan, or at Strategy discussions that lay the foundation that it gets done at the beginning of the year.
Today, we have technology that allows us to have frequent discussions that can be recorded, making it an ongoing appraisal mechanism allowing appreciation or evaluation at frequent intervals. The ongoing format allows organizations to make the necessary changes along the way that would make the process a more effective one also helps in planning strategies to achieve the business objectives.
In most scenarios today, the objective of working extensively on the process of appraisal can be seen as below:
- Be able to act as an input to Rank & Distribute Increments or Bonuses
- Ability to finalize a list of suggested development and growth plans for individuals
- Push a reason for a formal or documented discussion for performance measurement and alignment of business goals and actions
- This should be an Ongoing engagement, involving 360-degree reviews to be aligned and communicated across the organization (especially with the ability to use technology and make this interaction frequent)
For an organization to attain a result-oriented appraisal, the strategy should be quite simple. What an organization needs to do is to treat the process just like another project and do what needs to be done to achieve the pre-set company goals.
Here are some points an organization can rely on to achieve their purpose:
- Communicate the objective: Organizations need to make sure that employees are aware of the objective of the appraisal process. This could be through a discussion that makes the employee comfortable on how the appraisal process is done so that employees don’t end up feeling this being a tool to demotivate and criticize them.
- Content should relate: Content should be relatable to most situations so employees take this initiative seriously and also seek an end result and make it actionable for themselves – mandatory, informal and formal, two-way communication, developmental goals etc.
- Communicating with your employees: An organization needs to communicate with its employees in advance and not just at the end of the year. Communication needs to be frequent such as when goals are set on completion of the Annual Operation Plans or Strategy Discussions.
- Educate your employee: Management should initiate a discussion with its employees on the appraisal process, the content to be covered and the skill with how it’s done. This would avoid a confronting discussion and rather turn it into a reciprocating conversation that serves more as a constructive feedback session with your employees.
- Lead with an example: Leaders and department heads should share their department’s KPI and how feedback, changes in the strategies have been made over the years through such processes. This will build transparency and show that teams and their leaders are open for change and are using functional performances for strategy tweaks and feedbacks to meet their KRA. The objective here is not to
- Measure progress: Today, technology enables us to utilize analytics to record discussions, ratings and averages of the appraisals completed. It also identifies discussions completed with other details like dates etc. Accordingly, communication and content strategies can be planned to make the most of the data and make success across the company.
Each plan and methodology needs to be aligned towards the readiness of the organization and the pre-defined priorities and objectives that they wish to leverage through the process of appraisal. It is always a better option to have an ongoing dialogue with your employees and having their recorded goals well in advance. Organizations should regularly measure these discussions and development goals that come out of the process.
It is important to act on the development goals as it shows value of their findings, value of the process in addition to the intent of the company. Keeping the process consistent and working on improving it along the way will result in a more effective outcome over time and eventually result in showing clear ROI of the whole process.