“How are you doing?”  Five steps to effective performance appraisals.

Oh no! Did I just say “performance appraisals”?  Few other workplace conversations strike as much fear into the hearts of managers and employees alike.

Like them or loath them, having a structured process in place ensures that staff performance management isn’t reliant on the motivation and skill of individual managers.

So, here are five suggestions for effective performance appraisals:

  1. “What’s in it for me?” and “Why does what I do matter?” are two questions most employees ask.  Link appraisals to the organisation’s mission and strategic goals so that every individual can see how their actions are linked to the future and success of the organisation.
  2. Develop methods and tools that work for your organisation: rating scales, observations, self-report, review of critical incidents, even feedback from peers and subordinates if appropriate, then use a range of methods to add to the reliability of the information.
  3. Make it a continuous process, not just a once a year meeting.  Effective feedback is timely and specific so make sure staff know that regular dialogue and check-ins are part of the process.
  4. Provide training for managers on what performance appraisal in your organisation involves and how to have those difficult conversations with staff. Managers who are afraid of “getting it wrong” won’t engage with the process.
  5. If you have to manage poor performance then get support; use your HR team and/or refer to the Employment NZ website for advice and templates.

Too Busy To Improve Performance Management Square Wheels

(Photograph by Alan O'Rouke, distributed under a CC-BY 2.0 license)

Want to develop your understanding of Performance Management?  Ask us about the NZ Diploma in Business (Leadership and Management) Level 5.