Freshening Up the Stale Performance Appraisal

Posted on September 4, 2013.

Here’s a shocker- half of employees think their performance appraisals are inaccurate and over half feel they don’t motivate performance.  What we've always known has finally been validated by a study completed by Globoforce Consulting. As a manager, I hated completing the “annual” review. They were a boatload of work and were rarely an accurate reflection of performance because:

·      Realistically, I could only remember behaviors I witnessed or heard about less than 90 days before the appraisal.

·      If the person was meeting their quantitative goals. It was hard to coach subjective performance.

·      I rarely had time to solicit feedback from the people who worked more closely with the reviewed employee.

·      Most of the people that worked for me were in a completely different geography.

The Globoforce study went on to say what employees really want is:

·      Real time feedback

·      Positive feedback because it’s more motivating

·      Peer reviews vs. management reviews

·      Crowdsourced recognition added to their reviews

I like crowdsourced feedback like yelp and trip advisor.  I use them all the time, but thought there might be some other ways to freshen up the appraisal and meet the needs of the employees.

1.     Make positive feedback loops part of your culture. Each and every time an employee goes above and beyond, either you or one of their peers recognize their efforts.  Over time, feedback doesn’t feel forced or uncomfortable, but part of what’s expected in the workplace.

2.     Conduct quarterly surveys that are completed by and for the people that work together the most.  Use something simple like survey monkey. Make the questions relevant to the behaviors that are critical to performance. Keep the number of questions to a minimum and keep it anonymous. Try to do these at least every 4 months. They are quicker and easier than multi- page 360 forms that frankly everyone hates completing. You can even make the survey monkey nothing more than Stop.Start.Continue.

3.     Develop a scorecard.  If your company doesn’t have one, create your own. Include the quantitative metrics that are important to success. It shouldn’t be more than 3 or 4 goals that can be measured, preferably monthly.  If you don’t have a software system that can capture the results, you can have people self report and then just monitor it for accuracy.

4.     Utilize social media to collect crowdsourced feedback. You can set up a community on google+ that is locked to anyone not invited. People can choose usernames and profiles that are either real or created.  Once a project or sale is completed, people can go into the community and weigh in their feedback on what led to the success, individual efforts, etc. Make sure you lay some ground rules first.

Finally, when all is said and done, you need to burn the annual performance appraisal. If you do even half of the suggestions listed here, there is no need for a lengthy, time consuming, inaccurate review that fails to motivate anyone. Instead, spend that time working on a training or development plan that addresses the feedback they’ve received throughout the year.