Performance Appraisal System: Essentials of Performance Management

What makes a good appraisal system? How can we turn it into growth opportunities?  The performance appraisal system is one of the most important endeavors that a manager can share with employee because it sets the tone and the direction for the company and the employee’s performance. But unfortunately, in most cases, the performance appraisal tends to be a criticizing feedback. Here’s what you need to do to fix the problem.  We’ll share few techniques with you, but before that we’re going to assume that most of your employees are –doing a pretty good job, which brings them under the 80% category, on the other hand –i.e 20% of employee are not doing that good, and they really needs to be looked at and improved. That’s kind of a four to one ratio.

Now, if that’s the case, and this may surprise some of you, then we ought to conduct the performance appraisals in a ratio of that—of good to bad or good to correction. So that would means for example, if you have the employee that really only about 20% needs to be corrected, then out of an hour performance appraisal, that’s 60 minutes— 48 minutes ought to be spent praising that employee, talking about all the great things he or she has done and only 12 minutes talking about how he or she can improve.

Now that’s probably a strange concept for many people because a lot of the managers, I think especially men have difficulty praising people. And so, we tend to go right to say, “Here’s what I want you to do” and so, but I think the focus is going to be important in my experience is make sure that it’s really a positive experience so everybody looks forward to it.

So let’s talk about some of the essentials of performance management. You need to recognize that the manager is accountable for the effective use of his or her people. In other words, the manager decides what will be done and how it should be done, it’s a manager’s job to establish that foundation for successful relationship between the employee and the manager. Hence, it’s important for the manager to understand and use the key principles of learning because of the learning process, the appraisal process of learning. And this performance management relationship is continuous. It should go on and on, day after day. It begins with a job description, of setting goals, of development of extra steps and then it continues with ongoing monitoring of performance, providing for improvement and then the formal appraisal process.

The cycle is complete when the employee and the manager return to study new goals. So really, a painless performance appraisal system is only possible when the performance management becomes a way of managing. It’s a way of leading. Its purpose is not to seek just once but to help people get better, improve their skills and their attitudes that they need to work in an ever-changing environment. It’s an ongoing thing.

(This post first appeared in a ProfEd blog)

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