Taking the sting out of performance reviews

At the HR Experts International we advocate for a more agile and dynamic performance management approach, that is high touch and high engagement that produces outstanding results.  However, many organisational still use the end of year Performance Review or Appraisal approach.  So if this is you, then here are some tips to get the most out of this process!

Although it’s likely that you have quite a bit of time before you have to do your next round of performance appraisals, it might be worth getting your head around them (and possibly making peace with them) sooner rather than later. Especially if you want to be an effective leader.

I’ve found a lot of managers drag their heels on performance reviews and see them as only being useful in terms of giving pay rises or bonuses. They just don’t seem to appreciate the value in them. Unfortunately, this attitude invariably rubs off on their team and reviews become a disappointment to everyone.

What I really don’t get is how many managers don’t understand the power of feedback. Effective feedback is the best management tool available to drive and motivate their employees. I get all kinds of excuses, but the best one has to be that they don’t have time because they are too busy trying to get results. Is this one you’ve used? Yes?

What you have to realise is that the best way to get the most powerful results is to have your people outperform on expectations. And the best and easiest way to do that is to use the most powerful tool to change behaviour – effective, constructive feedback.

In fact, I’d recommend doing it throughout the year and not just at appraisal time. Not only will it boost your team’s performance, but it will make reviews less of a dreaded white elephant. And when the time does come for that formal appraisal, make sure everyone gets the best out of it.

Here are my key tips to make any performance review highly effective:

  • Provide a two-way, open and honest discussion about your employee’s performance
  • Provide a two-way, open and honest discussion about your leadership and performance
  • Recognise your employee’s achievements against expectations/objectives/targets
  • Identify key behaviours and actions that led to the employee’s successes
  • Identify areas for improvement
  • Identify learning and development activities and opportunities
  • Reward good performance and behaviour
  • Clearly communicate future performance outcomes
  • Consider succession planning and talent management initiatives (longer term)

Remember, the purpose of an appraisal is to recognise good behaviour and performance, be encouraging and inspiring, and also help the person understand their strengths and development needs. And if you have an employee who is significantly under-performing, an appraisal is possibly even more valuable to you as a means to inspire them towards better outcomes.

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This article is intended to provide commentary and general information. It should not be relied upon as comprehensive or legal advice. Formal legal advice may be necessary in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this article. The HR Experts International is not responsible for the results of any actions taken on the basis of information in this article, nor for any error or omission in this article.

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