Performance appraisal in Indian retail industry
The retail industry in India is the most fast-paced, dynamic and said to be among the leading contributors of economic growth. Now termed as the biggest employment vehicle after BPO (Business Process Outsourcing), the retail industry is facing numerous people challenges which include employee turnover, retention of key talent across the value chain, huge training costs and maintaining and improving performance across levels.
Although long-term outlook for the industry is positive it furthermore becomes vital for organizations to handle the ‘Annual Performance review’ process with a closer and careful hand.
For most employees, this exercise doesn’t bring out the best in them and with a period of 12 months been captured in a single face to face window of discussion, doesn’t reflect the actual capability of the employee under review nor does any document articulates the efforts put in during the year. So, what exactly is the science and art of this annual ritual across organizations which actually culminates into the rewards for all concerned? As much as they are various prescriptive methods to reviews; a few caveats could be handy in bringing out a fair assessment of your talent in the organization:-
No harm in doing some groundwork
Most the managers don’t like preparing for reviews and employees fear that the discussion does not suffer the ‘recency effect’ at the time of review, so why shy from taking notes and going back to your dairy for preparing the key areas of delivery of your team and jotting down few notes against each team member. Time spent on this does have a link to your inclination to improve employee morale and anchoring a meaningful discussion.
Set the tone of the discussion
As humans its tough to receive feedback from parents or even your social circle, imagine on a formal platform receiving it from your reporting manager. This form of discussion has far more reaching effects than a single review. This feedback is carried in the mind space of the employee and also helps shape the kind of professional the employee is aiming at and reinforces the positives and negatives of self-evaluation of the employee. With a span of control running into huge numbers and lack of performance data available, you need to keep the discussion open, transparent, participative and supported by examples which makes it more authentic and less judgemental for the employee.
Don’t ever miss the human element
These are the employees who face your customer on a daily basis, and they process a lot of good and bad feedback on behalf of the company. In other words, managing this process directly affects the front-line morale, ultimately the sales and credibility of the company. Managers have this window to understand the challenges, organizational handicaps and support mechanism required by the teams for improving the performance levels not with a high-handed chair, but with a listening ear and mind to chalk out a path for better results.
Remember feedback is a two-way street
Empower the employee by sharing control of the feedback process; to invite feedback on your managerial style, company processes, and policies, suggestions for improvement and educate the employee about the reward mechanism, which is a post activity of this process. It is comforting and more acceptable for the employee if he/she understands the mechanism of growth not just in salary movements but also career ladders that exist and are available in the organization which forms a part of their aspirations.
Forward-looking approach is a must
Make the team feel supported, help them to make decisions and make them understand the feedback is good information to know rather than not knowing it. Try to be a constructive coach than a reporting manager, it is easy to manage good performance and critical to improve lagging ones.
With this year-round, make this process a cultural shift that which emphasis accountability, empowerment, learnings, relationships, teamwork and ‘Trust’. It will change the way we work, think and grow together. At the end, a motivated employee recognizes where he/she stands in the organization, what is valued and believe in the work they do, what say does she/he have and does the organisation even care? And if we answer all this rightly, appropriately and timely we all stand to win as a community!