A solution to the performance appraisal virus?

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Traditional appraisals don’t work!

The Economic Times recently published that over 60% of employees are unhappy with their performance reviews. This comes as absolutely no surprise. Conventional performance appraisals have deservedly received severe criticism for many years. They simply do not work for numerous well documented reasons.

A number of progressive companies have already scrapped traditional appraisals and no doubt many more organisations will follow. The mystery is how come so many organisations still insist on doing them?

So what is the solution to performance reviews?

The informal constructive discussions work best

Emerging evidence indicates that regular, informal and meaningful discussions with immediate managers about performance and learning work well.  It is the genuine, sincere and constructive ongoing dialogue between the individual and immediate boss that enhances performance and learning. A positive and trusting relationship emerges where the individual realises that the boss is genuinely motivated to help him or her succeed and provides necessary support. A culture of collaboration, respect, learning and high performance develops over time. There are no surprises and no secrets.  The individual is always aware of performance expectations, strengths and limitations and current performance levels.  And most importantly systematic learning is an ongoing process.

It’s an ongoing process

This approach regards performance reviews as an ongoing process over time and not a one-off event that occurs at performance appraisal time. When viewed as an informal, constructive and ongoing process, both individual and manager engage in the process more readily and perceive it as being constructive.

How do we do it?

The question arises of how exactly do we conduct these informal and meaningful discussions? It’s as easy as asking four simple questions! And the questions are ….

  • What do you believe you’ve done well over the last while?
    This immediately engages the person in reflecting on positive achievements, a pleasant experience which is often overlooked. And you might have to help the person with this initially as the topic is not generally on the agenda.
  • What could you have done differently?
    This encourages the person to reflect on what they could have done better in a very non-defensive manner. People are quite often hard on themselves and certainly own subsequent improvement plans.
  • What have you learned?
    Experience is one of our greatest sources of learning and we often ignore it. Deliberately reflecting on learning focuses our attention on it and makes it an ongoing process.
  • What are you going to do now?
    This question encourages the person to consolidate the previous three steps into a good action plan for the next period. It also encourages the individual to focus on future work priorities.

An invitation to ‘4Q Performance Coaching’

I invite everyone frustrated with traditional appraisals to give the above approach a try. We have captured the process in what we call “4 Q Performance Coaching” and have developed a powerful short training programme to support it.  Click here for the process.

We’d love to get your views on this!

 

About the author

Ron McLuckie - Ron is Chairman & Chief Executive of WIAL India which he established in March 2012 and serves on the global board of the World Institute for Action Learning. He is a highly experienced international consultant and Action Learning authority. Ron has held senior executive roles in major organizations, senior lectureships and led a number of international consulting companies. His special interest is in developing skilled leaders who can drive business success and bridge the ‘knowing/doing gap’. His passion is challenging the conventional development approaches that do not work and finding effective ways of developing people and organization capability. He is also a proud granddad of three grandsons.

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