Is this ‘seven second’ performance appraisal throwing the baby out with the bath water?

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This article in People Management regarding the new approach by mining company, First Quantum Minerals, which hangs on the idea of a 'seven second' performance appraisal form, reminds of the appeal associated with those '2 second' pop-up tents you see advertised.

It's the promise of convenience, ease, speed and time not wasted doing something you are not that keen on, to do something more appealing, such as setting out the deckchairs and opening the wine.

Whilst I agree with much of the sentiment conveyed by Nick Warren, Head of Development at First Quantum, talking about how removing a focus on the form will free Line Managers to focus instead on the conversation, I don't follow the logic that a 'shorter form means a longer conversation'.

Similarly, I concur that the Performance Management process should be one where Line Managers are trusted to have meaningful conversations with their team members, and that HR can indeed get in the way with overly complex and bureaucratic processes; however, this needs to be tempered with a process which sends out the right signals around performance appraisals.

Having 3 boxes entitled 'performance', 'behaviours' and 'readiness for promotion', rated 1-4 and three headings in their competency framework, open to individual interpretation by Line Managers, feels a little like the pendulum has swung too far the other way – performance reduced to numbers, and behaviours up for grabs.

Without knowing the intimate detail of the process, some of my reservations may well be misplaced, and I do genuinely applaud organiations who are attempting to create a performance management process which seeks to fit with their culture, deliver the best for individuals and the organisation.

The nagging voice comes with the idea that completely throwing out the old appraisal system, form and process, to replace it with something highlighted as 'seven second', might be losing something worth preserving in places.

With a focus on Line Manager training, education and suchlike on the critical role of performance management, they may have felt less of a need to introduce and emphasise the 'pop-up' nature of the new approach.





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