Tuesday, 13 December 2011

How To Associate 'Easy' and 'Effective' and Employee Performance Appraisals

Performance appraisal systems are often ineffective in the original intention. No matter how amazing an employee is, he or she wants to know what a supervisor thinks about the performance.

Two reasons performance appraisals are left undone are because the process is time consuming and conflict is uncomfortable.

Here are some strategies to prepare the employee, write the appraisal and communicate the employee’s performance. All three areas will save time stressing over the appraisal process. Always know your human resources process before doing any performance related discussions. Whatever you do don’t be the supervisor who hasn’t given employee’s reviews for over a year.

Performance Appraisal Preparation

“Everything depends upon execution; having just a vision is no solution.”

— Stephen Sondheim

Appraisal writing

• Notify the employee and request achievements: Let them know you are preparing their performance review and would love to set up a time that works best for them. Ask them to prepare and email a list of accomplishments they would like included in the review.

• First draft: Close the door and reflect on each section and write notes throughout. Wait to write a numerical score until third draft.

• Second draft: Set it aside for a day and then edit/revise. Do you include specific examples of their performance reflected in the number score? Do you include specific examples of improvement you would like to see (if appropriate)?

• Third draft: Set it aside for another day and then edit/revise for the final time for your discussion with the employee. Now is the time to copy and paste the list of achievements the employee emailed.

• Send a meeting reminder: Notify the employee or remind them about the date of the performance review. It can be a great idea to also schedule a third party to attend the review if you have experienced previous miscommunications with the employee.

• Prepare talking points: Review the final appraisal looking for key areas to emphasize (positive and constructive). Where are the good examples? Be prepared to distinguish between the deal breakers or things that must be changed and can result in disciplinary action as opposed to things they can polish for star performance.

Appraisals Include more than Job Functions

• Job functions section: This section allows you to identify three or four major activities they are responsible for in their position. What specific results should they achieve in each of these areas if they are consistently meeting or exceeding expectations? Give examples of indicators or outcomes and examples of the employees consistent performance in each. Be specific.

• Other critical areas: Another section can review the entire picture of high performing employees. Determine if they are consistently performing quality and quantity of work, good interpersonal skills, communication, and promoting a positive work environment.

Develop one or two sentences that demonstrates their abilities. If they are inconsistent, then provide an example when they did well and an example of when they did not meet minimum expectations. Communicate to the employee that the goal is to have consistent performance over the long-term.

• Professional development plan: One of the most common mistakes here is the differing views of this goal. Some supervisors are communicating an area that would be nice if they improved, but not critical. Other supervisors view this as a goal that must be achieved or the employee could be held accountable.

First, be very clear what the positive or negative consequence will be for failure to achieve or accomplish this goal.

Second, this goal should link with initiatives and needs of the organization and/or department.

Third, this is an opportunity to brainstorm the employee’s desire for development and alignment to the department. Employees want to feel they are adding value to the organization.

• Additional comments by reviewer: This is where I copy and paste the achievements submitted by the employee. I add or comment on any as it applies.

Communicating with Employees and Follow up

Effective accountability is so little about reprimands. It is a focus on successful communication. Accountability is not telling people how to do the job. It is defining the successful outcome.

It describes what will and will not have happened, allowing the person to use their strengths and creativity to meet the performance.

• Communication during the review

Open with an overview of the meeting. Involve the employee at the start by asking them what they hope to achieve in the meeting.

Communicate the business need for their performance and their alignment to the team, department and organization. Stop and listen each step of the way. Add their comments along the way to demonstrate great listening. At the end of the meeting, ask them what decisions were made from our discussion. Take notes so you can include them in the follow-up reminder.

• Communication after the review

• Thank you/follow-up: Review your notes about decisions and employee comments.

Compose an email thanking them for a great meeting and a review of the decisions made at the meeting.

If you requested additional information then remind them when it is due in order to include it in the final appraisal.

• Tracking future feedback: Set up a location for tracking positive and constructive feedback to employees

Remember, you should have more positive reinforcement conversations then constructive feedback.

The goal is to set them up for success and the most effective way to do that for adults is positive reinforcement using the feedback method below.

• 5:1 Ratio — 5 positives for 1 corrective

Positive: Tell them when, what and why their actions were effective.

Corrective: Tell them when, what and why their actions were not effective.

Then brainstorm a more effective action and why it is more effective.

Stay connected

• Do coffee rounds every morning.

• Set team productivity indicators.

How do they know they are getting good results?

• Acknowledge milestones and achievements.

• Match rewards with the individual.

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