Many of the managers I know hate this time of year. Because it is not just Christmas that is coming into season.
It is also that time of the year when thoughts turn to performance reviews and annual appraisals. For most managers and staff this is a painful and seemingly pointless and unfair process largely driven by HRs obsessive need to have the paperwork completed and correctly filed.
In many organisations, the annual performance appraisal is a phenomenally stressful exercise with little discernible impact on results. If we’re going to manage and lead high performing organisations, we can’t afford to have performance appraisal “systems” that don’t affect performance.
Writing performance reviews for many of us is a memory feat of Derren Brown like proportions. Our intuition throws up a grading for an individual and then we trawl the recesses of our minds for incidents to justify it. And too often because our memory fails us we just play it safe with a ‘satisfactory’.
And if we do rate one of our reports as performing poorly then aren’t we just shooting ourselves in the foot? As the manager we are paid to manage performance – not just to report on it at the year end.
For many managers the difficulties of preparing and conducting effective performance reviews stems from two major causes:
- They have not documented enough of the performance management process through out the year – so they are forced to rely on memory. They have very limited notes on which to base their performance review. This means that often the annual review is actually heavily skewed towards performance in the most recent quarter – where evidence is near to hand and memory is reasonably fresh.
- They have not been close enough to performance throughout the year to really understand what any one individual has contributed to the success or otherwise of the team. They really don’t know who has been performing and who has not. They have not played a full and active role in either understanding and managing individual performance issues or in developing people to improve performance.
But all is not lost. There are things that you can do to make the preparation and delivery of performance reviews less stressful and more effective.
Through December and into the New Year PMN is running half day workshops in Leeds, Harrogate and Hull designed to help make the process of writing and delivering performance reviews more effective and less painful! Packed full of practical tips and useful tricks to make the process work more effectively and efficiently these workshops will help to make the performance review process much less of a headache.