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Via Economic Times : How to execute a plan for a good performance review

Your manager dreads review meetings as much as you do, because it is an unpleasant task to pass judgment on another person’s contributions and compensation. Here’s how you can make it work well for everyone and ace your annual appraisal.

It’s that time of the year that you detest. As the financial year closes next month, you are due for your annual performance appraisal meeting. You dislike being evaluated for the ups and downs of an entire year. However, understand that the review meeting has three goals. Firstly, to give you managerial feedback on what worked well and what didn’t. Secondly, to help you modify your approach and execution and achieve better outcomes both for you and your employer. Finally, to take a call on your responsibilities for the future as well as to decide on your increment. Your manager dreads review meetings as much as you do, because it is an unpleasant task to pass judgment on another person’s contributions and compensation. Here’s how you can make it work well for everyone.

Plan ahead

Look up the HR policy. Ask senior members about what to expect, if this is your first review in the firm. Who will conduct your appraisal and when? Do you need to submit a self-appraisal in advance? What are the parameters that will be considered for your salary increment and promotion if any? Once you are up to speed, you can plan the actions you need to take.

Critical incident record

Since the review judges your performance over the entire year, both your manager and you need to review major milestones in your journey. Go through your notes and emails to make a list of your achievements, metrics for their measurement, and how they stack up against the goals and targets set for you at the beginning of or through the year. Don’t forget to log any praise, incentives or awards you may have received for your outstanding work during thi ..

Dummy evaluation

Carry out a mock evaluation of your performance from the perspective of your manager. What were his KRAs and how did you contribute to them? How do you measure up against your team mates whose performance is also being reviewed by him? Is it a company policy to force rank each person against the others? The higher the degree of realism and honesty you bring into the dummy evaluation, the lower will be the risk of you being surprised during the actual review. These insights will also help you plan your contributions for the next year.

Areas of development

Now focus on the second purpose of the appraisal. Think through your shortcomings, how would you like to grow in the coming year and prepare to discuss the areas of development that your manager is likely to bring up. Bring a workable plan to the table and your manager is likely to view your constructive approach in a positive light.

Next year’s goals

What kind of goals do you want to achieve in the next 12 months that are both important to your manager and will progress your career? How will you add value to your team or enhance the contributions of others? List out prospective goals, projects and the resources you will need. Ideally, this part should occupy a major portion of the review meeting and lessen the burden of criticism both for your manager and you.

Prepare your manager

An ideal review meeting has no surprises. This is possible when your manager and you have been reviewing your progress on a monthly or quarterly basis. If that has not happened, bring up the topic of review with your manager right away. That gives him a month to think through. Then, share your preparation with him in writing. This helps him remember your contributions, understand what you are thinking and reduces the burden of uncertainty for you.

Be open to dialogue

Confirm the place and time with your manager in advance. Expect to receive feedback and rehearse how you are going to respond to criticism, tough requests and challenging questions. This is a professional meeting so steer away from emotional responses . Treat the appraisal meeting like any other project review and strive to engage in constructive two-way communication.

Always be closing

The ABC for a salesman is – Always Be Closing. Your approach during the meeting is to seek closure on the past and an agreement on the future. Pick on the points that matter most to you and negotiate on reasonable targets and fair incentives for the coming year. If there is no official record of the meeting, then write an email to your manager thanking him for the meeting and enumerating the goals that you have agreed on. This will serve as a blue-print for your future. In case your manager needs to submit the review to the HR, then follow-up until that is done so that your increment is not delayed.

Dealing with disaster

1. Reality check?

Were you blindsided by a terrible appraisal while you expected a moderate to good review? Firstly, acknowledge your hurt and anger. Once you have calmed down, do a reality check. Speak with trusted colleagues to review your manager’s inputs and be open to acknowledging your errors, if any. Thereafter if you still disagree, you can discuss it again with your manager or the HR.

2. Job at stake?

Did the criticism imply that your job is at stake? If yes, recognise that it is not just a question of your performance alone and that business circumstances may dictate such decisions. Acknowledge that your employer has the right to terminate or replace you, just as you have the right to switch jobs. Plan accordingly.

3. Comfort zone?

Recognise that there is no free lunch. Inaction is not a strategy here. You can either choose to switch jobs or vastly improve your contribution in the present one. Step out of your comfort zone to figure out what the market will pay for your experience, skills and history at your current role. If not, then what’s your plan to up your game and rebuild your image?

4. Fort or linchpin?

There are two sure fire strategies to protect your income stream. The fi rst one is to become irreplaceable in your current role where you construct a fort around your turf and become indispensable. When the cost of replacing you is high, your job is safe, but you will not grow. The alternative is to become a linchpin, where your attitude and people skills make you invaluable for any task.

5. Direction check?

While you are grappling to protect your income, take a step back to evaluate the direction your career is taking? Who do you want to become in next 5 or 10 years? Are you picking up the right skills and experiences to progress in that direction? This is a great time to realign your priorities, make changes and seek a better role.

Via Forbes : Your High Performers Will Hate Their Performance Review If You Don’t Say These Two Words

It’s an unavoidable fact of corporate life that most people really dislike annual performance reviews. The awkward formality, cramming twelve months of feedback into 30 minutes, and more, make this conversation and process painful for all involved.

In fact, the study Performance Appraisals: New Data Reveals Why Employees Dislike Them discovered that only 17% of people always believed that their performance appraisal was open, honest and meaningful. And 54% never or rarely thought performance reviews were open, honest and meaningful.

That’s a pretty glaring indictment of a process that virtually every company undertakes. It’s actually so bad that 88% of respondents said their current performance review negatively impacts their opinion of HR.

Is there anything that can be done to change employees’, and especially high performers’, dislike of this dreaded annual event? Yes, and one quick fix to stop high performers from hating this process is to say two words: Thank You.

Remember that annual performance reviews are a look back over the past year. Some employees delivered performance this past year that could be described as average. Others delivered performance that was, at best, uninspiring or subpar. But some people, your high performers, went above and beyond to deliver really fantastic performance. And to those people, we really need to say “thank you.”

For what are you thanking them? Of course, we want to thank high performers for the great things they did this year. But I would caution you against thanking them only for the achievements that you considered most significant.

It’s entirely possible, and in fact likely, that the achievements of which your high performers are most proud are actually different from the achievements that you consider most noteworthy.

Imagine that one of your top performers led a big technology installation and delivered the project ahead of schedule and under budget. For most leaders, that would warrant a hearty pat on the back and recognition on the annual review. But maybe this particular employee felt that the project was pretty easy and no different from projects they’ve led dozens of times before. In fact, maybe they feel like getting complimented for delivering this project is mildly insulting (like complimenting Michael Jordan for making a layup).

Lest you doubt the dangers here, think about whether you’ve ever received a compliment or recognition for something you considered absurdly easy. Isn’t it insulting, and maybe even a bit demeaning?

How do you endure that you’re saying ‘thank you’ for achievements that your high performer actually values? Ahead of their performance review, we’re going to ask our high performers to send us a Proudest Moments List.

In this process we simply ask employees to detail for us some of their proudest moments from the past year. This doesn’t have to be formal, and in fact we’re going to tell them that it doesn’t have to be a big formal exercise; we’ll ask them to just jot it down on a piece of paper, or send an email or whatever simple process they choose. We simply want them to highlight for us what they thought were their proudest moments in the past year.

There are several reasons why we want our employees to send us a Proudest Moments List. First, if we don’t know the achievements of which our employees are most proud, we could thank or recognize them for achievements that they consider banal (like in our previous example). And that could seriously damage our relationship with one of our best employees.

Second, if we don’t have specific examples for which to thank our employees, there’s a good chance that we’ll revert to generic-sounding phrases like “Bob is a great team player” or “Sally goes above and beyond” or something equally insipid. And one of the big complaints that employees have about performance reviews is that there’s too much boilerplate.

Third, with today’s fast-paced workplaces, it is really hard to remember and track all the great things our employees did this past year. If you’re like me, you might struggle to recall everything that happened last week, let alone what happened ten months ago. And if we fail to recognize our high performers’ greatest accomplishments in the annual review, it can make the process incredibly demoralizing.

The risk of missing our employees’ greatest achievements is especially high if we have more than a few employees. You might be able to easily track one or two people, but fifteen or twenty is really tough.

Finally, in the performance appraisal study, we discovered that only 28% of people believe that their leader always recognizes their accomplishments. So when we ask high performers for their proudest moments from the past year, we’re not going to ask them for their biggest failures (or anything like that). Remember that your high performers went above and beyond to deliver really fantastic performance (they weren’t low performers whose performance was below average). And given that they delivered fantastic results, the primary message we need to give them is an overwhelmingly positive “thank you.”

Via Standard Media : How to improve feedback during appraisals and assessments

Most of us have been on one or both ends of an appraisal during our careers. This process can offer a variety of benefits for both the employer and employee, provided it is done correctly.

In theory, an appraisal can provide an extremely useful forum for both businesses and individuals to take a considered and constructive look at what is working for them and where there is room for improvement. Crucially, the process can present a good time and place to agree steps needed for an individual’s career path, as well as how they can play a part in the future and growth of the business.

However, some appraisals may not be handled in the best way. Some meetings are often crammed in a short time slot between seemingly more important work commitments. Then there are the cases where appraisal forms are filled in by the employee but aren’t read by the appraiser ahead of the meeting. Even when the appraisal takes place and a plan agreed, in some cases the minutes from the meeting only gather dust in a drawer with little or no action taking place weeks or months after.

One way in which we can redress the balance of appraisal anxiety and indifference is by being clear of the purpose of an appraisal. Ideally, appraisals should not simply be about taking a retrospective look at work to date and giving a “could do better” oral work report.

Both sides need to be clear of the purpose of the appraisal – is this a chance to meet face to face to review certain working practices and potentially how obstacles can be overcome? Will the appraisal provide a good opportunity to map out the next steps for an individual’s career? Will it offer the opportunity to discuss promotion or a pay rise? Both sides need to be clear about the parameters to ensure discussion at the appraisal is focused and expectations are managed.

Appraisals should also be conducted in a holistic, 360-degree manner. It’s often said that the most inspiring bosses are the ones who listen. They don’t run a business with an iron fist, but create a work culture which is more democratic, listening and encouraging employees to have their say.

A more open workplace culture, via 360-degree reviews where senior management’s performance is also assessed, can go a long way to making an employee feel part of the business and not simply like a work-horse. Provided the reviews are constructive, this can be great opportunity for the boss or line manager to hone in and improve their leadership and management skills.

Based on feedback, it seems all too often the appraisal finds its way down the list of things to do and is often bumped to another date on one or more occasion. The hour slot then becomes a rushed twenty minutes.

Essentially this sends a message that there is often someone or something else is more important than the career of the individual being appraised. While money talks, the lifeblood of the business is also the talent itself, so it’s important to ensure enough time is allocated – ideally between 45 minutes to an hour – and the meeting isn’t constantly moved.

Likewise, many appraisals only take place on an annual basis. This is a long time given the changes that can take place, such as other members of the team leaving, creating shifts in workload or responsibility. If possible try to hold appraisals twice a year to check that any agreed targets and requirements are still relevant, being acted upon and supporting all parties.

Filling in a form ahead of an appraisal meeting can be a useful first step as long as it is read by the appraiser and detailed responses provided.

However, if you’re being appraised don’t just leave it to the form to communicate your thoughts or to ask for a promotion or pay rise. You may want to write up a summary of what you believe to be some of your best work highlights over the past six to twelve months. This could include endorsements from clients and team members. If it helps, do a run through with a family member or friend ahead of the meeting to ensure you are clear and confident during the appraisal.

Likewise, if you are the appraiser, discreetly ask other team members for their feedback and look into how they believe a certain individual has made a valuable contribution. However, it is important that you are not inviting unnecessary negative remarks at this stage. The appraisal should be perceived as a positive and constructive process within the organization.

A few days after the appraisal has taken place, the appraiser should send a summary of agreed actions with relevant timelines attached to each point. It may even be worth diarizing a short meeting to follow up a few weeks down the line to ensure everything is on track.

A few extra steps before and after can ensure that the appraisal will make a huge difference to a person’s career and in turn the business itself – a far cry from a simple box-ticking exercise.

Via Tech Funnel : 14 Tips to Create Successful Performance Appraisal Goals

Performance appraisal goals are a very important aspect of employee success. They give employees a clear direction, make it clear what the employer expects from them, and motivates them to work hard.

Many employees have little job satisfaction due to a lack of clarity in what is expected of them and not knowing where they should improve. Likewise, when an employee only hears the negative things about their performance, they feel unappreciated. And a lack of reward for hard work and effort, even a verbal reward, adds to the feeling of being unappreciated.

Performance appraisals are a great way to provide the appreciation and the clarity that the employee needs. However, the employee needs to know what they are being appraised for so that they know what areas to work on and reach out for guidance if they need it. They need to have a starting point and an ending point.

The starting point is where they currently are- how well they are doing currently, what areas they need improvement in. The ending point is where they and you hope to be by the next appraisal. To do this, there needs to be a map- a very clear map that has clear signs and stops along the way.

Creating a successful performance development plan is about much more than just writing some generic items to check off on a sheet of paper. There needs to be some thought and strategic planning put into them. They also need to be about much more than just what the employer wants- the employee needs to have a voice, as well.

A truly successful performance management system will involve multiple aspects from multiple directions to provide a better-rounded plan.

Here are 14 tips to create successful performance appraisal goals.

Via Insights News : Staff appraisals – more than a procedure

Making sure employees have a clear path for professional development is an important part of running a successful practice. KAREN CROUCH explains how an effective review can keep staff happy and motivated.

As the financial year draws to a close most organisations will have now completed their annual budgets for the upcoming year, which of course includes remuneration costs. While it may be mathematically straightforward to estimate next year’s costs, remuneration is far more than just a budgetary exercise as it involves a practice’s the most valuable resource – employees.

Assessing remuneration should be based on a thorough review of each member’s performance over a preceding employment period. Additionally, other key benefits that may be derived from a meaningful staff appraisal program include practice owners ensuring the highest quality service to patients, staff members achieving greater job satisfaction, and greater harmony in the workplace.

Staff appraisals are an effective management tool that should yield the following benefits for individuals, the practice and the practice owner.

Relationship Building: A vital opportunity for face-to-face, personal discussion, strengthening the bond between employers and staff members. By seeking staff feedback on practice operations through 360 degree reviews, it signals the employer’s respect for opinions from all staff;

Performance Management: Provides the opportunity to say ‘well done’ and ‘thank you’ for good work while allowing for frank, constructive discussion to improve performance in areas where a staff member is less effective; and

Personal Development: Expresses sincere employer interest in employees’ personal career development, possibly even extending beyond just job performance.

The program

It is timely to consider the entire staff appraisal program so it is not treated as any other routine exercise.

In larger practices it may be a time-consuming exercise that needs to be completed without the interference of day-to-day patient care and practice operations. Consequently, a meaningful starting point should be an organisation chart clearly indicating the person to whom each employee is directly accountable. In some cases, such as the practice manager, the number of appraisals could be onerous and may require sharing with other senior staff who also have direct dealings with the employee.

A pre-printed staff appraisal form should be available to assessors and staff so there is advance notice of the subject areas that will be addressed. Ideally, it should also contain the expressed mission and values of the practice to which employees are expected to live up to.

Effective appraisal programs should be:

  • Continuous and consistently undertaken
  • Positive and interactive
  • A comparison of actual performance to set targets and objectives
  • Relative to practice personnel policies
  • An opportunity to motivate staff
  • Identify relevant training needs
  • Welcome feedback from staff.

An appraisal program should also touch on personal attributes or areas of group involvement, such as:

  • Quality and quantity of work – efficiency
  • Assigned responsibilities and initiative displayed – performance
  • Whether supervision is frequently required – self motivation
  • Attitudes to practice, staff and fit with internal culture – business values
  • Attendance and punctuality – reliability
  • Communication and interpersonal skills – teamwork.

Time frames

Staff Appraisals should be geared to address two separate time periods:

  • Performance Review (past 6-12 months): Assessment of quality and quantity of work performed during preceding months, affording staff an opportunity to assess their own performances and provide feedback on practice operations or personnel generally;
  • Development Review (upcoming 6-12 months): Jointly agreed upon plan for development of each employee aimed at improving career opportunities and personal contribution to the practice. The agreed development plan, including targets and objectives for upcoming 12 months, should form the basis of the following year’s performance review.

While a full-blown assessment may be inappropriate for recently employed staff their performance must be maintained at satisfactory levels. Depending on their length of service, an interim assessment may be considered.

A regular staff appraisal program can improve quality and quantity of work. It can also lift practice standards and image.

Staff appraisals are linked to productivity, time management and professional development through formal education and training, which subsequently provides career opportunities and greater staff satisfaction.