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Dear Workforce How Do We Wow Employees With Our Appraisal Program

Don’t get caught up in wowing folks before you develop and implement an effective system.
July 1, 2001
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Related Topics: Performance Appraisals, Dear Workforce
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QDear Workforce:

Our start-up company wants to implement an employee appraisal program thatwill wow our employees. Where can we look?

- Human Resources Assistant, Internet company, Westminster, Colorado.

A Dear Westminster HR:

There are many different styles and manners in which to conduct performanceappraisals that can wow your employees. But it's important to note: don't getcaught up in wowing folks before you develop and implement a system that iseffective. Too many organizations focus on the "wow" factors, like:

  • Creating forms specific to each job/role within the organization --thereby making it difficult to be consistent across the organization

  • Trying to be complete by listing every possible criterion. By making itcomplete the forms can become too long and burdensome to navigate, and oftenmany criteria are not applicable to all positions

  • Building complex rating systems that employees and managers may notunderstand.

More often than not, these "wow" attempts lead to a performancemanagement process that loses its focus, thereby making it a burdensome task.Many organizations find that managers have difficulty making time to completethe performance evaluation on an annual basis. Although it is important to givefeedback often, does that mean you need to do quarterly reviews?

It is important to consider your business needs and product or service cycleswhen designing your program to provide feedback at the end of one cycle, so thelessons learned (both positive and negative) are fresh in the employee's mindbefore he or she begins the new cycle. Depending on your product/service cycle,this may mean quarterly, annually, or it may be upon completion of specificprojects.

On the other hand, an effective performance management program will addressthe following objectives:

  • Managers coaching and counseling employees year round, on a daily andweekly basis, not waiting for the actual performance evaluation meeting.

  • Providing effective/direct feedback to the employee, acknowledgingperformance during the review period.

  • Informing employees precisely what they did well, and what theirdevelopmental needs are.

  • Motivating the individual to perform/behave in the manner the manager orthe company desires.

  • Establishing new goals/milestones for the next review period, addressingnew project goals and addressing any developmental needs.

  • Correlating performance directly to rewards(compensation/promotion/opportunity)

  • Developing feedback mechanisms and timeframes that work in synergy withyour product or service cycles-monthly, quarterly, project to project-to enableemployees to improve or continue improving on route to the next formal reviewcycle.

To help your employees and managers work together toward common ends,incorporate your corporate core values into the program. If your organizationtouts customer service, include a section on the performance evaluation formthat provides feedback from the client. If employees understand that the clientwill have a direct say in their evaluations (and impact their rewards), theywill be motivated to provide quality customer service.

When designing your performance appraisal form/program, ask for buy-in fromyour managers -- after all, it is a tool to help them motivate their staffs.What's more, they're the ones utilizing the tool. With their insight, you cancreate a program they believe in. Additionally, it is important that yourmanagers be trained in how to conduct performance evaluations and coachemployees throughout the year.

A human resources consulting firm is always a good option in assisting you toevaluate, develop and implement a performance management system. Itsconsultants' experiences and abilities to look at the program in an independentobjective manner often is helpful

Some popular books are:

SOURCE: Benchmark HR, Salem, NH, March 16, 2001.

LEARN MORE: See "Are Your Appraisals Free ofBias?" on how to prepare supervisors for encounters with employeeappraisals.

The information contained in this article is intended to provide usefulinformation on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice ora legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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 The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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