We are in the midst of a popular time for annual appraisals at the moment; we see a sudden uplift in interest in creating efficient on-line performance review processes.
As ever, we advise and guide clients as to what good practice looks like when conducting the annual reviews, but increasingly we are having discussions around what should happen in-between the annual reviews….i.e. those 12 months from one review to the next…!
Not unsuprisingly, we suggest that there should be more frequent reviews over the course of the year, coupled with more forward looking conversations about what needs to happen in order for performance to improve.
Invariably for performance to improve, there has to be feedback; there has to be comment on how someone is performing in the moment, in order to raise their self-awareness and enable them to decide to do things differently.
If someone you were coaching was running a marathon and they wanted to achieve their best possible time, how often would you give this feedback? At the end of the race or as they ran?
I believe that simple is a good thing. Google talk about simplicity in their thoughts on user interfaces ….Here is a quote from their website
"Simplicity fuels many elements of good design, including ease of use, speed, visual appeal, and accessibility. But simplicity starts with the design of a product’s fundamental functions. Google doesn’t set out to create feature-rich products; our best designs include only the features that people need to accomplish their goals. Ideally, even products that require large feature sets and complex visual designs appear to be simple as well as powerful.
Google teams think twice before sacrificing simplicity in pursuit of a less important feature. Our hope is to evolve products in new directions instead of just adding more features."
Often when working on 360 feedback or performance reviews there is a tendancy to want to capture/cover every last item. For example, a report that has every last piece of data analysis within it, or an appraisal form that captures anything that might be relevant.
But, a simple form that captures most of what is required is likely to 1) be completed and 2) leave the user with the energy to focus on what is important and not get trapped into form filling. A report that provides the fundamentals and opens up the conversation is better than one that leaves you deep in data analysis.
We too believe that we should be providing exactly what is required – no more no less. And we believe that less is often more when working on 360 degree appraisals and performance review forms.
A good blog post at KnowHR recently on performance reviews, which hgihlighted a recent publication offering a whole series of stock phrases for line managers to use in the annual appraisal.
I can understand the need to support line managers to help them conduct constructive performance reviews, but feel that offering ‘phrases to memorise’ send out the wrong message.
The review is meant to a process which leads to a meaningful conversation, just as any other conversation should be between an employee and their line manager.
Far better to offer tips, advice and guidance on how to have a meaningful and authentic conversation as two adults then to focus on getting through the process with a ‘pick & mix’ list