Is the time of Performance Appraisal an anxious time in the organization – or are people looking forward to this as the most exciting time in their career path? A time to look at what worked and what didn’t work so well or a time to collectively look ahead?
We, as leaders, have to be very mindful of what we are evaluating- the performance or the person? For me, it is about the person, not the performance.
While performance management should be done continuously rather than annually, the annual appraisal is the time to work on learning and development planning, job rotation, succession planning, and looking at the bigger picture.
- Learning and development planning - A person has potential far beyond their short-term performance and it is for leaders to bridge that gap. Annual appraisals are a time to put in place a forward-looking L&D plan that is to be executed (and adapted) all year long. In the past year, the role and prospects of digitization have grown, therefore, it is important that organizations make digitization a key part of the L&D strategy. It is also a good time for companies to incorporate reverse mentorship- where new employees impart lessons on technology and the latest trends to the older employees.
- Job Rotation and promotions - By analyzing capabilities, skills, strengths, and weaknesses, leaders play a key role in employee development and place employees in positions that suit them better to their individual capabilities towards success. High-performing individuals are rewarded and an underperforming employee is realized to be more suited for another position in the company. Job rotation can also be beneficial for companies as it helps employees get familiar with the different verticals of the organisation and broaden their skill sets, things that are especially critical in times of crisis.
- Succession Planning - Leaders create leaders. Covid-19 was a true test of leadership- better than any simulation could have created. Look at the employees who displayed resilience, team spirit, and rationality in their work even in times of adversities and consider them as potential successors for C-suite roles. The uncertainties in the last year should also make companies realise the importance of timely succession planning and what a strong leader at the helm can achieve.
- Quarterly feedbacks and reviews – While informal feedback should be continuous, organisations should still have formal reviews. However, instead of once a year, these reviews should be more frequent like monthly or quarterly. The annual appraisals give you a chance to comprehensively look at all these reviews. It allows you to zoom out, see the bigger picture, and then analyse a clear trajectory of both performance and people.
Most importantly, engage people as people. When we engage our employees as people and not mere productivity metrics, annual appraisals become a time to look ahead to. When we believe in the unlimited potential of every individual it is up to us to make them believe in this and deliver beyond their limited self.
Always trust their potential to make a positive impact. As Jim Goodnight has said, “Treat employees like they make a difference and they will.”