Posted on 26 Jul 2019
The annual appraisal cycle had a bad reputation, and quite rightly. It was dreaded by managers and appraises alike, soaked up too much management time and involved endless form filling. To cap it all, nothing ever happened as a result and the objectives set quickly became irrelevant as a result of business changes. In short, it did nothing to boost employee engagement or business performance.
The focus of appraisals has shifted
Performance appraisals focus now on improving the business conversation by talking with people in open conversations rather than about them. Instead of a formal, annual event, more and more companies have chosen to enable managers and their direct reports to touch base more frequently, via ‘check-in’ meetings that take up much less time than the traditional annual review.
‘Check-in’ meetings are like a breath of fresh air
Unlike the annual appraisal discussion, which were a test of everyone’s memories, quarterly ‘check-in’ meetings are much more about real time objectives and challenges, and are almost entirely future focused as opposed to an evaluation of past performance. They encourage organisational agility by enabling managers to continually review and adjust individuals’ objectives and priorities to mirror ever-changing business needs.
Employees and companies expect continuous learning
No company can afford to bury its head in the sand and stand still, so neither can its employees. More frequent ‘check ins’ will support the development of a continuous learning environment by facilitating open dialogues between managers and their reports about their capabilities and skills or knowledge gaps, and how best to plug them.
Where to start
- Narrow down what the company wants to achieve from its performance appraisal process.
- Undertake an honest assessment of managers’ capability to conduct meaningful appraisal discussions and develop their teams and individuals.
- Decide the process that will work best for your business and enable it to flow.
- Up skill people managers in coaching skills, goal setting, giving quality feedback and handling difficult conversations.
- Train managers and employees in the new process to enable them to engage fully and gain optimum benefit.
- Determine what success looks like so you can measure the impact of the new process and make changes along the way.