“It is discouraging how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit.” – Noel Coward
It is a common practice for most managers just before a performance dialogue happens, to advice their team on how to go about their self-appraisals. In one of my first appraisals, 15 years back, I was asked by my manager to sit along-side him and follow his lead in marking the appropriate boxes. Out of the outlandishly long list of 32 parameters, he rated me as “Meeting Expectations” in 24 parameters, “Needs Improvement” in 5 and interestingly “Exceeded Expectations” in 3. I was then asked to rate exactly the same on my self-appraisal sheet. He never gave me time to read the parameters. He shook hands with me and said “Congrats! The management has concurred with me to give you a 2.5% hike in salary with a 25% hike in sales target for the next year”. Within a month’s time I had moved out of that organization. The reason behind my exodus from that organization is not because of the spectacular hike offered (which I must add I graciously rejected) but because my manager would not let me know the 3 parameters on which I was rated as “Exceeding Expectations”.
For the next few years until I became a manager and learnt the essence of Performance Appraisal, I rated every parameter as “Exceeded Expectations” on the self-appraisal. This led to numerous livid exchanges with my managers and impacted my future performances.
As I re-evaluated my career growth, I was plagued by these questions – What is performance appraisal? What is the importance of performance appraisal? Is performance review a stage for employees to blow their own trumpet?
I recently came across an acronym “PERFORM” that best describes the key elements of Performance Appraisals.
P – Purpose – Everyone involved in an appraisal for an individual should be clear on the purpose
E – Empowerment – At the end of the appraisal the appraise should feel empowered to face the challenges ahead
R – Relationship – Appraisals should be used as another platform to build effective relationships
F – Flexibility – Should elicit flexibility in operation for the year ahead to reach organizational business objectives
O – Optimal Performance – Clarify what constitutes optimal performance
R – Recognition & Rewards – Discuss rewards & recognitions that the individual is entitled to for what they have done and what they would get for what they are expected to do in the coming year
M – Morale – Elevate the morale of the employee to ensure greater productivity in the year ahead
What are the best performance appraisal methods that companies adopt today?
The idea of an effective performance appraisal is to have a flexible structure that describes job expectations with clarity, a process to capture employee performance, a method to evaluate the performance and to capture gaps if any that can be addressed for development, which is in line with organizational goals. MMM Training Solutions conducts Performance Appraisal Training that focuses on two key areas – developing the skills to identify both the strengths and challenge areas of the appraisee and to give empowering feedback.
(Read the article on ‘A directive to Effective Performance Appraisal’ for better understanding of Performance Appraisals)