Performance Appraisal Management


Performance Appraisal Management 


OK Capitan “obvious” here, but I don't care if I am being redundant: You MUST always use your company’s performance appraisal management system—always.

And no matter what performance appraisal management system you use (a lot of companies are moving away from the yearly or by-yearly performance appraisal ritual), I strongly suggest you use these nine simple and common sense—yet powerful—guidelines:

9 Guidelines

1) Provide feedback all year long

Don’t wait until performance review discussion day to do so—if you seldom give feedback to your direct reports, you are not developing them.

One of your responsibilities as a direct supervisor—whether you are a new manager or a seasoned executive—is to grow your people.

2) Adjust goals as needed

Your performance appraisal management system must include continuous goal setting.

If you provide feedback all year long, you can adjust and fine-tune your direct reports’ goals.

You might find out that the goals are too ambitious, or that they are not stretching your people enough, or that they are just right.

Again, don’t wait until performance review discussion day to work on your employees’ goals—this is an ongoing task that allows you to deliver results and grow your people at the same time.

3) Prepare

This might sound redundant, but it is amazing the number of managers that fail to prepare for performance assessment day. Your performance appraisal management system must include preparation—there is no question about it.

If you are reading these lines, I sincerely hope you are not among the thousands of managers who do performance assessments because they have to—to get it over with.

If you are reading this, prepare.

No matter how you do it—performance appraisal is an excellent vehicle to help your people to grow.

4) Don’t deliver surprises

Never, ever deliver surprises during your performance appraisals. If you constantly give feedback, there should not be surprises at all.

But if you do, you will waste this precious opportunity: Instead of using it as a development tool, you will be speaking about issues that could have been resolved long time ago.

5) Be 100% objective

Always focus on facts:

  • Hard data
  • Behavior
  • Results

For your performance management to be effective, you must ALWAYS be objective. 

6) Stay focused on performance

If your direct report becomes emotional during the performance review discussion—or in any other day for that matter:

  • Listen and be patient
  • Let your direct report vent as much as possible
  • If appropriate ask questions
  • Keep focused on facts
  • Stay calm
  • As soon as it is suitable, go back to the performance conversation

Think of it as a pressure cooker:

In the same way that you must let the steam come out of it before you can open it safely, you must also let your employee vent emotions out (until he has gotten everything off his chest) before it is safe for both of you to deal with the head – the logic.

And you do so by just listening (keeping your mouth closed), and by asking intelligent questions.

7) Build Commitment

How do you build commitment?

There are several ways to build commitment among your employees, but one that is closely related to your performance appraisal management system, is the relationship between the amount of talking you do as the boss, and the amount of talking your direct report does.

Imagine you have a certain amount of time allotted for your dialogue with your employee (10 minutes for a day-to-day performance conversation, or one hour for your performance review discussion, or whatever).

How do you think you are more likely to build commitment in your performance appraisal management? Do you think you will be able to build more commitment if you—the boss—do most of the talking? Or do you think that you are more likely to build commitment if your direct report does most of the talking?

You are more likely to build commitment in your direct report if he or she does most of the talking—this is a fact.

How do you accomplish such thing if you are the boss, if you are the one who sets the parameters, if you are person responsible in setting the direction?

You accomplish that (allowing your employee to do most of the talking) by asking questions—intelligent questions—questions that will be guiding the conversation in the direction that you set.

This takes a little bit of practice—but it is indeed well worth it—commitment has no price.

8) Keep in mind what’s most important

If you have diligently included the four points above into your performance appraisal management, then you will be able to focus on what matters most during your performance review discussion:

  • Build commitment
  • Strengthen responsibility
  • Identify development needs
  • Set an action plan
  • Make sure goals are clear
  • And of course, offer valuable and timely feedback

The essence of your performance appraisal management system is to grow your people by constantly realigning their work, their behaviors, and by identifying opportunities for development.

9) Don’t ever promise anything, nothing, nada

You never know what’s coming around the corner—a new technology might come out of the blue and change the competitive landscape all of the sudden, and as a consequence of that, your company might not be able to give you the budget to raise your direct report’s salary (that you were positive you were going to get).

Within your performance appraisal management system, don’t ever promise salary increases, promotions, etc., because you just never know.

Promises that don’t get fulfilled have a devastating effect on motivation. Don’t ever do it.

Final word

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