P is for...

Performance Management

P is for... 

It is that time of year that everyone dreads because managers everywhere are suffering from PMT – Performance Management Tension.


That is right - it is appraisal season. When managers are:


1) Scrabbling through filing cabinets or running searches on their computers trying to find Jane’s appraisal from last year

2) Spending a good hour scratching their head trying to remember everything that Simon has done well this year

3) Giving Sam some negative feedback about the way he handled a customer back in March.

4) Panicking about how they need to try and create space in their diary to accommodate 9 x 1 hour appraisals plus another 1 hour before hand to prep for the meeting. And then another hour for writing it up

5) And then trying to find a room for it and wondering if it is appropriate to do Sarah’s appraisal in the local pub!!

6) Trying to work out how you are going to tell Phil that he is only average this year because you have been told by HR that you are only allowed to have 2 'goods' and 1 'outstanding' in your team.

7) Trying to think of different and stretching objectives for Bob who is looking to retire next year


I hate annual appraisals. With a passion. Yuck!!  Apparently only 8% of organisations think they get any value out of doing them which is why it is bonkers given how much time and money companies spend working on them.


As a HR Consultant, I therefore won’t be advising a small business owner to carry out appraisals. Yes you need to be regularly speaking to your employees and yes you need to be talking to them about what they want to do with their careers. But there are much better ways to do this. 


It is all about little and often. Rather than having an annual appraisal that everyone hates, have regular check ins with your employees. This could be a five minute ‘how are things going' zoom calls or a socially distanced chat when you’re making a cuppa or it could be time scheduled in your diary for a catch up.


It also about treating your employee as an adult and moving away from the manager always having to take the lead. My approach with my team is that if I need a catch up, I will pop some time in the diary and if one of my team needs a catch up, they book something in. We also regularly have ad hoc check ins throughout the week.  


The frequency of the catch ups are dependent on the employee. For a new starter, you probably want to be meeting once a week and for an established member of the team maybe once a month. Have the discussion with them and agree the frequency.


As for career discussions, you may want to do this on a quarterly basis to talk through how things are going, giving and also asking for any feedback, looking at what training is needed etc


So it isn’t about ditching appraisals altogether, it is just about taking a different approach to them.


I could talk about this until the cows come home but if you would like a chat about how you could do appraisals differently and get rid if your PMT, then contact me today.

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