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<i>Dear Workforce</i> How Do I Change The Perception of Appraisals

September 5, 2003
Dear Needs to Inspire:

Your question implies that managers currently do not consider performance appraisals to be important. Managers either do not want to do the appraisals, or are not doing them. For whatever reason, they no longer see the process as necessary to business success. What you will need to do is incorporate performance management with business planning to give it a higher level of importance.
You can begin by examining some of the organizational and cultural aspects of your company to explore the root cause behind why this is the case:
  • Is performance management an integral part of your culture?
  • Do managers approach the annual performance review as one would approach a rattlesnake?
  • Are performance-review sessions geared more toward meaningful developmental discussions or simply historical reviews of what did and didn't get done?
  • Are reviews done on an ongoing, constant, and informal basis?
  • Are employees asked for their input?
  • Does goal-setting occur in a cascading and formal manner? Cascading in this context means that the goals build on each other in a top-down fashion (that is, they "cascade" from the CEO to the bottom of the company).
These are a few of the questions you can use to identify the true issues. You will need to ask these questions in front of some of the more influential and key managers to get a good perspective.
Then--once you have identified the cause of the problem--you can work toward a solution. This almost always involves deciding what type of performance-management process fits best with your current organization and culture. It's critical that the new process be structured as part of the annual (periodic) business planning and evaluation process. Goals that come from your strategic planning sessions need to cascade from top management to employees.
You do this by tying performance management directly to business planning, and providing managers with the tools and training they need to both understand and apply the process appropriately. When working with managers, emphasize the motivational value of feedback to the employee for both retention and performance.
Managers will begin to see how they can use the process to obtain greater productivity and retention from their staff members. Managers need to be held accountable for business results, as well as for retention of their people. The most effective performance management systems are seen as part of the management toolkit and not as an HR paperwork program or once per year average-merit raise excuse.
SOURCE: Robert Fulton, managing director,The Pathfinder's Group, Inc., an affiliate of The Chatfield Group, Chicago, Illinois, Dec. 23, 2002.
LEARN MORE: ReadSix Steps to Successful Performance Appraisals.
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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