Make your Performance Management Process Effective

In this article, we will be discussing some strategies which help to make the performance management process more efficient.

When the performance review season starts approaching, a lot of thoughts will be running around our minds. Same old positive and negative feedback will trigger one-on-one conversations between reviewers and the employee.  As a result, best employees also feel confused due to a mixed message from the reviewers.

For many of the employees and employers most stressful work-related conversation is face-to-face performance reviews. A performance appraisal demands one person to stand in judgement of another.

Can we take the right performance appraisal approach as an opportunity, instead of a regular process that everyone has to undergo? And use that opportunity to boost poor performers and repose faith in good performers.

Below are some strategies that companies can use to make performance reviews more effective and efficient. 

  • Plan performance by setting expectations & continuous check-in mechanism

It is crucial to provide clarity to the employees on the evaluation process at the beginning of the performance period. In order to achieve this, the supervisor should conduct ‘performance planning’ sessions with all the direct reporters to discuss the employee’s goals and expectations. Naturally, we believe that employee performance rises significantly, if the expected outcomes are known. By doing this exercise we can hold people (employees) to be accountable for the already set objectives by their employers. Supervisors and counsellors should give importance to the personal ambitions of the employees and assist them to achieve.

Knowing what the direct reports want to achieve in their career will help a manager’s better design performance management process to widen professional experiences. How regularly performance discussions happen is also important. Perfect balance between continuous feedback sessions and regular assessments will not only make employees better professionals, but also avoids making feel ‘yet another’ review every month. For example, to ensure that employees are on the track beside the ongoing feedback sessions, mid-year reviews are conducted to help in the necessary course correction.

  • Data-driven and process-oriented discussions

Value every employee’s opinions regarding themselves. Create an environment where opinions are fact-oriented, making the conversation more data-driven. This approach has double advantages- subjective performance conversations will be eliminated and employees also feel motivated. Employers should encourage employees to make a list of their strengths and areas to improve upon before walking for a face-to-face review meeting.

  • Tune the right tone for feedback conversation

Appraisers should be sensible not to have a diplomatic approach- mixing the criticism and compliments together, which does not give a clear message to the employee. It demotivates star performers and gives a fake picture to the poor performers. Performance reviews are the opportunities to boost strong performers and challenge poor performers to improve.  Develop a Performance Improvement Plan for poor performers and give a chance to achieve expected results in a specified deadline to make the review process transparent. Strong performers, showcasing the signs of taking bigger responsibilities should be considered to promote in their career ladder. Have a clear plan to identify high potential employees and train them for handling higher responsibilities.

  • Training Managers for constructive feedback 

Most effective way for Conway feedback is to tell what qualities the person should remain with them and what qualities the person should restrain from.

What is the employee doing and now what is not working for him? 

What is that they are doing which is highly effective? 

What actions should they take to adopt the current scenario? 

An Appraiser should be coached to give specific suggestions and praises. Avoid things like ‘You need to be more proactive’, give details on what it means to be more proactive.

  • Focus on ‘How to achieve’ not only on ‘What to achieve’.

Few companies follow a 5-point scale rating system to rate employees. By focusing on the rating the objective to empower the employees will deviate in a performance review conversation. There is a need to shift from feedback to feed-forward attitude- where performance conversations are not a place to discuss employee’s mistakes. Instead, it is a platform for the employee and the employer to learn from them.

To sum up, the focus should be on the career planning of the individual and managers must put efforts to work with subordinates. Prepare a chart which prioritizes; what is to be achieved and how it is to be achieved.

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