I presented a session at a recent CIPD meeting regarding the importance of feedback in the workplace, be that through a model for performance appraisal, 360 degree feedback or otherwise.
The gist of the presentation was to position feedback as just one element of a much larger ‘eco-system’; just as flossing is one crucial element of an oral & dental hygeine regime, so is feedback as a key element of an effective performance management regime.
Setting feedback in this context then naturally prompted the question ‘so what?’; recent CIPD research concluded that in turn performance management was a primary vehicle of communication between a line manager and their employees.
Following this thread upwards through further research by the CIPD and Institute of Employment Studies (IES), connected effective communication between a line manager and an employee as a foundation for higher levels of engagement.
Engagement is good for business; the David MacLeod report, which I referenced in an earlier post, found pretty compelling evidence that engagement was instrumental in sustained organisational success with increased ‘bottom line’ results.
When you look at feedback in this context, it suddenly becomes really important that line managers give it and employees get it.
However, context is not enough; we still need the right mindset and approach to usefully embed feedback in an organisation, something I will return to in future posts.
Now where did I leave that floss?
I have been reading numerous articles of late which seem to take a hard position against performance appraisals, condemning them as unpopular and ineffective.
Let’s take those arguments in turn; being unpopular isn’t a valid argument to dismiss performance appraisals and the review process – their unpopularity is often local to the organisation in how it has sought to implement the process, making it overly bureaucratic, complex and time-sapping.
Besides, "Jedward" conversely are comparatively popular and that certainly isn’t an argument in favour of them being ‘right’….
I think the same factors which can often make performance appraisals unpopular, also serve to make them ineffective; but again it is a local issue within an organisation.
If organisations implemented a simple performance appraisal process which sat within the context of performance management as a continual cycle, one which offers the best framework for managers to have meaningful conversations with their employees throughout the year, then suddenly performance appraisals provide a key element of communication between line managers and their team.
People are ‘feedback poor’ and something which genuinely offers an opportunity to give praise, recognition, validation and sincere personal development ideas should be popular; and it remains in my view one of the better means of aligning people with organisational goals, which is how it’s effectiveness should be measured.
Our whitepaper available to the right hand side of this blog post, shares out thoughts as to how a popular and effective process can be successfully implemented.