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Getting the most out of performance appraisal

In the blog The Importance of Performance Appraisal for Development & Growth, Sherene Abrahams highlighted why Performance Appraisal is an important tool for businesses in terms of developing staff and setting goals.

In recent years performance appraisals have had ‘bad press’ in that some businesses have stopped doing them because they found them too onerous to complete. This is often because many businesses have over-engineered appraisal systems or forgotten about why they are doing appraisals; the system became more important than the purpose.

Businesses and their people can benefit greatly from appraisals as a tool to boost performance, develop people and achieve goals. To do this they need to get back to basics and have appraisal systems and practises that are easy to use and built into the day to day leadership and management of people.

Insights of Sally

The starting point for a good appraisal system and practice is thinking about what your business wants to achieve and how your people’s performance is linked to this. I have seen this work in large and small organisations! When you understand what your business needs to achieve, your appraisal conversations will naturally focus on performance expectations linked to business goals and how to get there.

The trick is not to spend hours talking and talking!Short meetings with well thought out, focussed agendas, sensible meeting time limits and simple tools will ease the process. Appraisal documentation can be online software or hard copy – these work when their design is brief and uncomplicated.

What you need to know:

  • Your starting point is the strategy and goals of your organisation – this means you need to know where are you going and what do you want to achieve.
  • Your leaders need to know how to have meaningful conversations with your people – can they do this? Do they have the skills to lead?
  • Do you know if your people understand the purpose of appraisals?Will they trust your process and their leaders to have fair and effective conversations?
  • If you need to develop your people to help you achieve your goals, do you have budget for this? If you don’t have budget what are the alternatives? 

What you should do

  • Ensure your strategy and goals are clear, up to date and well known in your organisation.
  • Provide coaching for leaders along with simple tools – for example, a template agenda for an honest conversation to give and receive feedback and an appraisal document that sets out expectations and goals simply and clearly.
  • Ensure a clear approach to development, with your leaders understanding budget availability and that development solutions aren’t always training courses.
  • Communicate with your people about strategy, goals and how appraisal is a tool to support the achievement of these and their development, and how your system works.

Need more detail? Curious about how easy this can be? Don’t hesitate to contact me or one of my colleagues.
Realise Performance can help your business build a tailored performance management and appraisal system to suit your individual needs.
Contact our team on (02) 8624 3300 to discuss any aspect from strategic planning and goal setting to system design as well as leadership coaching, staff communications and training.