The Balancing Act – Meaningful Performance Appraisals
It’s that time of year again. Time for performance appraisals. Managers, as well as employees, often wonder why organizations do performance appraisals at all. Many of us probably even think they are a complete waste of time. If the performance appraisal was going to be valuable at the end of 2019, what might be different?
Here’s a few ideas for making the performance appraisal experience a more rewarding one:
- The appraisal would identify strengths that the employee has developed over the course of the year. Of course, this means that the manager and the employee meet routinely throughout the year (at least once a month) and work to leverage these strengths, finding new ways to apply them.
- The employee and the manager would collaboratively create the appraisal together. Employees should know exactly what they have done well and where their performance needs to improve. Seeking their input first encourages self-awareness and ownership.
- The appraisal would allow for the opportunity to set goals for the coming year. These goals, if clearly aligned with specific activities on which the employee should focus, allow for the performance appraisal to serve as motivation for continuously improving performance.
- The appraisal would outline next steps for development using balanced feedback.
Balanced feedback is the crucial component of effective and meaningful performance appraisals. Balanced feedback happens when the following simple steps occur:
Step 1: The employee self assesses first, beginning with his/her strengths.
Step 2: The manager shares additional insights and perspectives, beginning with strengths and then moving to opportunities.
Step 3: Opportunities are framed not as judgment for the past, but as a focus for the future: “Next year, consider trying . . . “ and “In the future, when you . . . you might . . . “
Step 4: The manager offers his/her help and assistance to support the employee throughout the year.
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