Several employees find the periodic performance appraisal merely a mundane, routine activity that is done just for the sake of it. Appraisals, when done right, could be a functional or process-oriented review. However, when done without any agenda, they could end up being only a box-ticking activity without any tangible outcomes.
Some performance appraisals may be critical and some positive, but the big question is how effective your performance review system is.
It’s high time to make the most out of these appraisal reviews and tap their true potential. If you want to motivate your employees and align their vision with the overall vision of the company, never make them feel left out after the performance appraisal.
After all, feedback and motivation should not be viewed as a routine activity and should instead be continuous. Performance management is not only about looking back on the results, but also about realising the hidden potential of your employees and motivating them.
How Performance Appraisals Affect Employees?
Performance appraisals are primarily undertaken to improve the work habits of employees, measure outcomes, and identify their strengths and weaknesses. Although performance appraisals serve as a motivational tool, a review done the wrong way can have precisely the opposite effect on your employees.
Here’s how it can affect the employees adversely:
1. Creates Tension
Employees tend to dislike performance appraisals because managers do not always rate them on objective criteria. Experts call this the rater bias. Of course, modern, technology-based performance management systems pitch in to eliminate this problem, but still, a part of the appraisal has to be communicated subjectively.
2. Poor Informal Feedback
Employee surveys consistently show that employees desire more frequent, specific, and timely feedback than superficial or rushed feedback sandwiched between a couple of generic compliments. Employees today seek direct and candid feedback that helps them unleash their true capabilities.
3. Self-Appraisal Mismatch
Before a manager sits down with an employee to carry out the performance appraisal, there is a good chance that the employee has rated his or her performance already. When employees come to know that there is a massive gap in performance ratings, they become demoralised and withdrawn, which ultimately leads to their overall dissatisfaction.
Post-Performance Appraisal: Realising Potential
According to a popular study, only 14% of employees feel motivated after a performance review.
Additionally, only about one-third of employees feel encouraged and involved in their overall career development.
Whether it is a positive or a constructive performance review, acknowledge the efforts of the employees and use the evaluation as an opportunity to instil a sense of pride and responsibility in them. Also, employees who had an unsatisfactory year with a bad appraisal would need to be given more attention.
Most of the time, the appraisal will not match up to the expectations of the employees and it becomes crucial to keep them engaged at such times and help them remain enthusiastic while dispelling negativity.
Here are some critical measures that you can undertake after a performance appraisal:
A performance appraisal meeting is not the end of the story; you need to properly follow it up with further meetings to know how the employee has taken the appraisal. No matter how comprehensive or objective your performance appraisal system might be, not everyone will be satisfied with the results.
Therefore, provide sufficient time for the employees to introspect so that they don’t resort to any knee-jerk reactions. Depending on the team size and the availability of the personnel, quick feedback after the review should be done either in a short one-on-one meeting or a brief online survey.
This will provide managers with valuable insights on the different perceptions of the employees and also ensure that the appraisal remains a two-way communication process. Following up with the employees after the appraisal cycle is essential to maintain credibility and assess their morale.
Focusing on Unsatisfactory Employees
Once the follow-up and feedback acquisition are done, it is vital to pay more attention to those employees who have expressed dissatisfaction with their appraisal, especially if they are the key employees. Work individually with them to create a turnaround plan, which can help them improve in the future.
Listen to their grievances and help them understand the parameters on which the appraisal was based to address their concerns. Use specific evidence or instances to explain to them their weak areas. Then, provide them with career development options, training opportunities, and other necessary resources they require to succeed. This will showcase your genuine interest in helping them achieve their goals.
It’s common for employees to display their frustration after the appraisals by putting down their papers and exiting. A negative or bad review might not be the only reason for their decision and, thus, it’s crucial to find out what else triggered the action.
Employees, today, tend to compare their increments with others, thereby giving rise to issues, like interpersonal rivalries. This has to be tackled well by sharing the areas of improvement and reasons behind the ratings or score. Also, inform them in advance that increments are not the same for all and provide them with a broader outlook to reduce tension.
Make sure you reach out to the employees, understand the context of their decision, and address their concerns.
HR managers and leaders should take this opportunity to reset expectations, re-establish trust, and positively motivate the employees.
Direct efforts and interventions to curb attrition are essential to indicate that you value your people in the organisation more than anything.
Include Employees in Setting Performance Goals
Although the onus of setting job expectations and goals lies with the employer, you still need to gain the employees’ insights on how reasonable the goals or expectations are so that you can establish measurable performance goals.
Give the employees an equal responsibility for meeting the company’s expectations to gather a greater employee buy-in and commitment. Create common ground with the right resources to establish achievement strategies and help them excel in their career paths.
Create a Culture of Learning
Companies should strive to include professional development and training as an employment perk to attract and retain talent. This will encourage employees to stick on and feel motivated to advance and meet their performance goals.
Create counselling sessions with concerned employees to determine their pain points, gain subjective responses, and design specific professional development opportunities.
Poor increments can lead to employees feeling low. Therefore, to motivate them, try to extend genuine appreciation. Subsequently, it will pay off to give due attention to cues, offer incentives when performance is improved, and acknowledge their contribution.
Variable pay, timely bonuses, and sponsoring their career development moves are some of the viable rewards for the employees to ensure that their morale stays on track.
From Aversion of Performance Appraisal to Acceptance
Accurate performance appraisal is a prerequisite to ethical managerial practice. The goal should be to cultivate a system which facilitates growth and development among your employees than only measuring the outcomes.
All it takes is a shift in the mindset, thoughtful communication, and constant follow-ups for a better understanding of your employees.
Leverage the real power of performance appraisal to unearth the best potential of your employees.