To Appraise; don’t wait for year end

Guest Blog by Paras Khatri

Whenever a manager over heard mere “Performance appraisal”,  you will be able to hear their groan out of stress. Many managers see Performance appraisal as nothing more than an empty, bureaucratic exercise  forced on them by HR. Even for appraisee (a subordinate) when he gets a meeting request from his boss for performance review discussion, he feels just yesterday he has written his goals which is promptly forgotten too and this discussion becomes more of a 'BAJATE RAHO' discussion for him.

More than 80% of staff feels that performance reviews are unnecessary and is a waste of time because of lack of efforts put in by managers in to the process. Lackadaisical attitude of management results in Employee apathy.

The sanctity of performance management system is to keep a tap on the achievement viz a viz goals set and to design competency development plan based on the performance review analysis. Regret to mention than this appraisal tool is just being used to identify A,B and C category and decide increment percentage which is too mostly influenced by key business drivers. The annual performance review discussions, if so happens, are not aligned with need assessments, thus barely adds value to them.

Here, we need to change the approach rather than the system. There are four ways I perceive, if adopted, the Trust in performance appraisal system will be restored and employees will find it more effective and generate the desired outcome.

First is to Keep it Simple, many managers dislike complexity of modus operandi of performance appraisal system and bureaucratic forms. Design a format which is simple to decipher & captures relevant data and focus on structural part of conducting review discussions with reduced stress element.

SecondFrequent Connect between Manager and his subordinate. It is no longer effective to meet your subordinate once or twice a year to discuss on performance appraisal. Frequent appraisal meetings will help to monitor on goals achievements and to keep check on relationship needs, growth needs, motivational needs & learning needs of your subordinate. Meeting once in a quarter or sometimes more frequent will save you from future peril of non achievements of targets and give a pat on a back for achievement & study the shortfalls when they are fresh in memory and  a employee can also express his feeling on his performance. Once or twice a year performance review meeting will force you to drop your criticism at him at once like a bomb, rather 'ZOR KA ZATKA DHERE SE' approach will be easier to swallow and leads to constructive conversation.

Third, Conversations focused on future. Annual appraisals often becomes ‘poker game’ where employees are being asked to lay their cards on the table first, so that managers can identify weaknesses and focus on actions require to improve those weaknesses. To conduct effective performance appraisal discussion, adopt ‘sandwich technique’ whereby, you open conversations highlighting notable achievements in recent times, followed by critical assessments and interactive discussion on areas of improvement and conclude the discussion with landing a hand to him to unleash hidden potentials and tips for learning and development.

FourthSelf monitoring of performance & learning. Nowadays, modern Performance Appraisal tools track self performance ratings which has been perceived by most of the staff as a data gathering tool for counter arguments by managers. Hence they rate themselves high so that after negotiation they will be rated somewhere in mid range. Whereby, essence is to provide a honest rating for their own performance. By asking employees to keep a track on own performance and learning, write down their goals and keep a check on success and discoveries, the data generated out of it is not being used by managers to critically evaluate but to help each employees to take responsibility of their own performance.

In era of automation, we sometimes get caught in terminologies and having an online PMS module which runs once or twice a year is not at all an issue but this system will only help to capture data, it can not motivate, inspire and develop people. Hence, frequent feedback sessions on performance & creating self organized learning environment where people learn from this feedback meetings which takes place in corridor, lifts or across the coffee. 

About the Author

Paras Khatri is a seasoned HR practitioner, mostly writes out his personal exposure in talent management & performance. One of India's top 100 HR Influencers to follow on twitter, he is part of the Royal Enfield biker's club. 

Follow Paras on twitter @paraskhatri