Can anyone share or describe an effective performance review (appraisal) system that engages employees?
My specialism is employee engagement and I am part of a special interest group that is looking at the correlation between employee performance reviews (ie appraisals) and employee engagement (ie emotional buy-in that delivers discretionary effort). In my experience performance reviews can be quite disengaging due to the bureaucracy and poor training of managers to deliver an engaging performance review. Very often the focus can be on completing the paperwork rather than having a meaningful conversation. If anyone can share some best practice or ideas then this will be fabulous. The responses to my previous question (on leadership resilience) were well received and greatly appreciated.
my all-time answer would be that the [bi]annual reveiews should be used merely as a finalisation of ongoing performance management . in the ideal world, the only question a manager should be asking at this point is " what else can I do to assist you in achieving your goal ? "
Do we wait for 6 months when praising or correcting our children ?
of course not !! how can we expect to develop our teams without consistent communication . This translates to on-the-spot coaching , friendly and/or structured feedback, wondering out loud why lateness has become an issue, giving praise whenever it is earned, giving direction whenever needed . We believe that every day , every employee [ wherever they might stand on the corporate ladder ] should know exactly how they are performing : if below standard then this can be investigated and remedied,. Are there social/health issues at play ? is the individual in the wrong department ? nobody can afford to miss this interplay . The engaged will certainly appreciate the attention and the underformers will either shape up or be shown the door because the papertrail will make it easy. Back to grass roots : communicate , communicate and then communicate some more.
At review time there should be no surprises . There should certainly be nobody who is "not meeting " they will either be doing well [ and even exceeding ]
It it is only a poor manager who will have poor performers on his team for any length of time.
If we refer to Pareto then we see the need for 80% praise and guidance [ read motivation ] and 20% constructive feedback .
It is the intrinsic desire in humans to do well and receive acknowledgement and encouragement . I refererd to children earlier and this might have seemed a flippant remark but don't we all yearn to be validated ?
This is our one simple formula for engagement : validation and support : the rest will follow.
HR Cloud's "Perform" platform is a great way to engage employees in the performance review arena. It looks sleek, and is user friendly, which is why it has such a high adoption rate. The real "meat and potatoes" of the system are the reports that are produced. You don't need to waste time on subjects that the manager and employee see eye to eye on. You need to focus on the "gaps" in the performance review. And HR Cloud's Gap Report is spectacular!
Keep the document you use as simple as possible. The purpose of the performance review form (or "system") is to facilitate a two-way dialogue between the employee and the manager. Give managers a simple way to convey what they expect of their employee, and then coach them to take the fear out of delivering constructive feedback. The reason so many people advocate doing away with performance reviews is that they have evolved into bureaucratic behemoths, instead of remaining tools to make it easier for employees to know what's expected of them, deliver on those expectations, and get noticed for it.
I believe prompt feedback is far more effective than any kind of annual review. In my experience, performance reviews are generally about what the person has failed to achieve and imposing targets that the individual doesn't buy into. Feedback should be immediate and be constructive. It should include an unqualified statement about what the person has done well in a particular area or situation and a constructive suggestion for how the person could do even better. I have some ideas for particular language that can be used, but not sure whether you need that? The source of the feedback is also very important. Frequently it's top-down, but I think bottom-up feedback is even more powerful, both for the recipient and the person giving the feedback.
I would check out the information on Catalytic Coaching from Energage, Inc. You can find information on their website at www.energage.com. As they company name implies the aim of their system is to energize and engage employees and they have quite a bit of information about their approach versus the traditional performance appraisals that should address some of your questions.
Paul, in my experience annual or semi-annual appraisals are simply documentation for my employer when they need a reason to jettison me. The point of the appraisals should be to engage the employee in growth but also helping others grow. This is not a one time or two time a year solution. Ultimately, you would want employee teams meeting, self evaluating, and helping each other grow. I had a professor during my MBA advocate doing away with the annual/semi-annual assessments.
I have managed hundreds of people in the past 15 years and did invent a solution that worked for me and the people I worked with that might work for you.
First thing is at the outset of the period to be review employees MUST know what is important and what they are being measured on. The criteria must be specific and measurable. Of course you will have the subjective areas as well but do your best with those.
The great part I found was having the employee present their own performance review. They present their actual results against their targets and they tell you how they did. The important thing is not that the employer and employee agree on exactly where the employee is on some invented scale. The important thing is the employee knows what they do well, how they contribute, and how they can improve and contribute more in the future.
If the employer and employee are in agreement on the above then they can have a mutually productive relationship to the benefit of all stakeholders.
David Simmonds MBA, CGA
This is the eternal challenge - the problem is that most managers do not understand the fundamentals of the skill sets they require let alone the skill sets of the employees they look after. Above this is the clarity of the business vision and values which in many cases do not exist. SO....
If I were to ask you where you were going and you didn't know then I would advise you not to start from here.
I developed a simple communication tool some years ago to allow all staff to discuss all elements of their job role with any manager as well as any other member of their team - just as in 360 degree - except that the team and the manager could decide on the fundamental elements of skills required to do each job well and these could be changed at any time as jobs evolved.
SO so simple - BUT - HR in every case treated my solution as a TEST and wanted validation material - when I explained it was not needed they decided it was and over ruled me - never got it off the ground. At which point after two and half years trying to get anyone to see the positive side of continuous improvement when they didn't understand the basics of business management, I finally gave up and wished them what they deserve for themselves - average performance.
You can access my white paper that describes a system that I believe will give you the answers you are looking for. Supervisors conducting a typical performance review are playing the role of "Judge" or "God" and are rarely trained for either. My system which I call the "Collaboration Plan" is simple and elegant. Go to my website Enjoy!
Larry Smith, author "Engage, Commit, Grow! How to Create and Sustain a Culture of High Performance"
Paul, in lieu of employee performance reviews we embrace employee performance management where instead of a once-a-year meeting where the results are, as you say disengaging (I would say they are disastrous) performance management is a continual on-going process. Questions that come to mind are, what value are we giving the employee during performance management? Do we even understand how the employee performs (behavioral and emotional intelligence)?
Engagement also has to include culture and other employees. So are we providing any information regarding how teams and their members show up.
We regularly assess employees in our work in order to create an awareness as to how employees show up and engage with one another. For example, if one team member is highly decisive (makes quick decisions with little input) isn't it important to have someone on the team who has their ear to the ground and looking after the information needed? Someone to say hold on….we need some more information. Once we know and are aware of how we show up, and we know how the other team members show up, we can appreciate one another and understand how we complement and align with each other. This create significant synergy and engagement.
We measure cognitive, behavioral traits and interests and create individual, team, and company-wide diagrams to show the diversity and necessity of differing traits. We find this an incredible way of increasing engagement.
I go back to the question, what value are we giving the employee during performance review/management? To me that's key. Steve