Technology is a great enabler. Over the past year, we've witnessed the power of tech first hand, as businesses around the world shifted their platforms to not only survive but thrive online. And perhaps the real hero of this tremendous transition is the common man. The everyday worker. The nine-to-five employee, who stepped up and enthusiastically embraced the new online workflow. Who adjusted to a brand-new work environment, and learnt to give his full attention to every email and task and deadline, right from home or practically anywhere & everywhere.
As we all slowly but surely return to a new normal, surrounded by sanitisers and disinfectants, we've realised that our potential is so much more than what we expected. We now know that we are faster, stronger, more united, more productive, and most importantly, far more efficient than any odds we may face.
Once we have learnt to work efficiently and patiently even in a slow WiFi network, nothing can stand in our way. However, as employees take strides to be updated and, on their feet, we must also step up to the same task. Utilising technology to improve, streamline, and automate processes can aid employees in their productivity and efficiency.
One such application of technology is in the employee appraisal process.
With the current boom in the domain of data science, various machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms can be used to speed up the three major aspects of the appraisal process, namely data collection, evaluation, and rollout.
- Data collection: Looking at each aspect individually, when we talk about data collection, it is not as simple as it seems on the surface. Without tech, data collection is bound to be paperwork heavy, strung-out, and somewhat repetitive. With tech, it promises to be faster, and more importantly, safer. Since appraisal deals with sensitive information regarding the employee, having data security systems in place, along with a secure and efficient data collection framework is essential.
- Timely goal setting: Looking at the current business scenario timely goal setting is important. Goals should be set after discussion. Technology enables the attention of employees towards the progress of various goals to be achieved. As it is a well-known fact that where attention goes, energy flows and results show.
- Top-down approach: Company vision & the mission should cascade down effectively. At the same time processes should be defined clearly to map all actions & results in one and the same system. This also increases the camaraderie between various functions & departments of the organisation. Having buy-in of all the employees, especially front-ending team members is the most important aspect of any progressive appraisal system. They should be committed, not just interested.
- Human touch: While technology will play its role, however the role of human touch will always be important. Periodic performance review meetings should be organised to review the performance of an employee and provide the required support. The frequency and timing of the review meetings should be pre-decided so that the employee is aware of it and can come up with his concerns/queries. Future decisions should be taken after duly considering the performance and carefully deliberating upon the employee’s potential. Goals which have a target date of less than a year should be reviewed and rated in such meetings. One should be loyal to set goals, as they are the future.
- Transparent performance monitoring: The outcome of one-on-one meetings should be recorded in the performance monitoring system, to be reviewed in subsequent meetings. Visibility of such notes will create enhanced trust of the employee in the system and organisation. Successes & Victories should be given ample space in such recordings. As we know successful people live their past successes, while failed people remind of their past failures.
- Handling exigency: 2020 taught various life lessons to the entire human race. At times, the achievement of the goals might not be possible due to unavoidable factors. In such a situation, it should be discussed then and there instead of waiting for the year to end. Accordingly, if required, new goals should be set. Handling performance appraisal thru technology enables all to realign the revised goals in a short span of time, which is a challenge in paper-driven systems.
- Evaluation & Rewards: The goals achievement should be linked with monetary and non-monetary rewards to motivate and inspire the employee to perform optimally. Such rewards should be paid or distributed as per the timelines communicated to the employees. Employees should be confident of the seriousness of the organization in the entire process.
Two types of people – Give Reasons or Give Results.