I’d better admit at the beginning – it really is not possible to manage performance.
What you can do is work effectively with people to enable them to enhance their own
performance - and give them the information that will help them to align that performance with team / department / faculty / organisation goals.
I can assist you in this area to review your current processes, help you evaluate what you need to do to improve, help you to develop or adapt your chosen system and also design workshops for your managers to help them implement it.
There are many reasons why organisations want to develop and maintain performance appraisal / performance reward / performance development systems.
Controlling work effort
Directing performance to specific outputs (or outcomes)
Clarifying roles and responsibilities
Setting up a system to allow separation for staff who don’t perform
Providing a framework for development – organisational and individual
Comparative analysis of performance appraisal - 3 ways
1. Ratings Scale
This methodology requires an employer to develop an in-depth grading system, similar to the way students in school are assessed. This scale is then used to evaluate an employee’s success within a variety of areas, such as technical skill set, teamwork and communication skills. There is typically a minimum required grade an employee must receive in order for the performance appraisal to be considered a success. Those that do not make the grade are often put on a performance improvement plan.
Comment: This system is often used to determine monetary rewards. It is also often abused as managers feel pressured to give everyone a ‘pass’ rate. Such a system needs a ‘moderating’ approach to ensure that a rating of ‘5’ (for example) is the same in each unit.
2. 360-Degree Feedback
A common performance appraisal method is the 360-degree feedback. In this scenario, whoever conducts the appraisal, such as a human resources manager, interviews an employee’s supervisor, peers and any direct reports. This technique allows an appraiser to gain a complete profile of the employee.
Comment: While this system provides in-depth feedback on employees, it can be very subjective and open to prejudice and bias. The questions must be very carefully crafted.
3. Management By Objectives
Management by objectives (MBO) is another modern method of performance appraisal. This technique was first promoted in the 1950s by management theorist Peter Drucker. MBO requires a manager and employee to agree upon specific, obtainable objectives with a set deadline. For example, a sales manager may be required to increase his revenue by 25 percent within three months. Once this goal is set, the responsibility is on the sales manager to direct himself towards the objective. With this technique, success or failure is easily defined
Comment: This system of appraisal is most aligned with the organisation’s goals and objectives. It is therefore important to ensure that the objectives selected for the performance appraisal are the ones desired by the organisation.
Building Blocks for a Performance Appraisal System
1. Clear strategic directions
If organisational performance is the combined effect of individual performance, then you want to direct that effort to the defined goals and objectives for the organisation. Ideally, a strategic plan should drop down to a business / operational plan which drops to a departmental or unit plan, then to each individual performance agreement.
2. Key Performance Indicators
As part of the strategic plan, there need to be performance indicators that show if / how well the organisation is achieving its objectives. Without these KPIs at organisational level it is very difficult to design KPIs for individuals.
3. Position descriptions
Each person in the organisation needs to be clear about their role, their key tasks and key responsibilities, the standards of performance they are expected to reach and how this performance will be measured.
4. Transparent Performance System
Whether it is called Performance Management / Performance Appraisal / Performance
Development, every organisation needs a defined and transparent system. However, it need not be complex or difficult and can just be based on regular conversations with each employee about the goals of the unit, their personal goals and the standard of their work.
Evaluate your performance system – does it deliver the desired outcomes?
5. Training for managers in evaluating performance and communication
Each manager and supervisor needs training in the performance system adopted by the organisation, including how to manage performance meetings and how to give (and receive) feedback – both positive and constructive.