Why I hate – and love – performance appraisals
This is not about loving to receive feedback where I am highly rated and hating it when I am not.
It is about loving performance appraisals that contribute to my and/or my team’s success, and hating those that leave me (or my team) demoralized and depressed. I have received both, and like to think that those I have given fall more frequently into the positive category.
I wrote about this issue earlier this year, but the time is near when performance needs to be assessed – and my assessment is that pretty much everybody gets this wrong. Please review that earlier post and all the examples I described of good and bad appraisal sessions.
I am in the process of reading a new book, The Trust Edge, by David Horsager. I will write and post a review later, but it makes a few points worth quoting:
- “Employees don’t leave companies, they leave managers and supervisors. People leave because they are not respected, listened to, appreciated, or cared about.”
- Ndm: The appraisal process is an opportunity to listen, have an honest discussion, and demonstrate that you care for the success of the employee
- Ndm: In the earlier post, I provided an example where my manager allocated 15 minutes per employee for performance discussions. What do you think of that? I also provided an example where the manager spent 15 minutes telling me why my self-assessment was too low. How do you think that worked?
- “Only 50% of American workers believe that management is at all concerned with the well-being of their employees. 82% think that senior leadership are helping themselves at the company’s expense.”
- Ndm: Employees should leave their performance review meeting energized and motivated. If they are surprised and demotivated, the manager (and probably the HR function) has failed
- Ndm: How many of your employees would follow if you took a new position?
- “You are trusted to the degree that people believe in your ability, your consistency, your integrity, and your commitment to deliver.”
- Ndm: Do not underestimate the reality that how the manager performs in the assessment process has a massive impact on trust and respect from employee to manager
- “Do not underestimate the bottom-line impact of compassion. The ability to show care, empathy, and compassion is a strong component of trust.”
- Ndm: Don’t fake compassion. Be honest and candid, but share bad news carefully – not to cast blame but with a view to helping the employee through and past the situation
I want to close with one of the most frequent causes of disaster: the HR function mandating that employees are graded on a curve. In other words, only (say) 5% can get the top rating, and at least 5% must be rated below the ‘average’ rating.
This is nonsense and if I were CEO I would fire any HR manager that tried to foist it on me!
- If the majority, hopefully a sizeable majority, of your team are not high performers you are probably doing something wrong! OK, there will be exceptions for organizations where “good enough” is good enough. But I hope few people are willing to accept a mediocre or “average” team
- When everybody is putting their heart into their work and demonstrating success by any measure, it is demotivating to get a rating that is not consistent with performance
- If you have employees that are not performing to your expectations, why are they still with you? They should already be on a performance plan– or out of the company. So, the number of people at this level should be minimal, if not zero
I welcome your views, and please share your experiences.