Is Your Appraisal Process Stuck in the Stone Age?

If you were to ask your employees today about the quality of your company’s appraisal process, how many do you think would say they’re satisfied? How many of them will say they don’t even get regular appraisals? The facts will most likely shock you.

And if your business is one of many without a formal appraisal process, just how are you getting any good work from your staff? There’s no incentive.

The reality of appraisals

Performance management is so important but for companies that do little more than put a reminder in the calendar every six months, meet with a direct report and then record ambiguous scores and sparse notes on a word document or an excel spreadsheet, they’re not only letting their employees down, they’re letting the whole business down too.

It’s so simple to create a formal, effective appraisal system that provides full clarity for the appraisee about how they’re performing and what they need to do next, and also for the appraiser to complete and save on file for future use.

Where do you start?

The first step is to identify what’s working and what’s not. To do that we’ve created an Appraisal Audit survey for you to use on your employees. This will show you just how much work you need to do to get it on track and indicate what is most important to your employees. After all, employee satisfaction means employee engagement which in turn leads to business success.

What does your appraisal system need to do?

Completing our Appraisal Audit will give you a great deal of insight into where you’re going wrong. Many of your employees will have worked somewhere else before joining your company and will therefore have experiences of other appraisal systems that you can use to shape yours. As a rule of thumb though, if you have over 50 employees, going digital is the best way as everything can be recorded, stored, tracked and analysed effortlessly.

But if we break it down to the simple things you need your appraisal process to do, it can be classed in five areas:

  • Recognising good work and maintaining it
  • Recognising poor work and addressing it
  • Formalising and documenting the process to better manage situations such change of line manager, promotion and pay reviews, redundancy or termination of employment
  • Providing a fair and transparent system for all
  • Providing all staff with confidence in company and their own progression

Recognising good work and maintaining it

Business success comes from every member of the team performing at their best. It’s all very well giving them a clear set of goals on day one but to ensure that they meet those goals and are incentivised to keep working hard for you, you need to (a) monitor their performance and (b) make them see that you’re doing it.

In many cases, (b) is just as important as (a).

With a digital performance management and appraisal system, it’s very easy to be able to pull out all the info you need:

  • The original targets set
  • Documentation of every review, piece of feedback given and any other relevant comments or achievements
  • Any commitments made regarding incentives or rewards

And it’s just as easy to input information. For example, if you can add ad hoc comments on good work or outstanding performance in a matter of minutes, then you can illustrate to the employee that you’re continuously appraising them and they’ll perform well from the minute they arrive at work to the minute they leave.

Recognising poor work and addressing it

The odd mistake or little bad habit can soon develop into a massive headache for your business if not addressed quickly and appropriately.

With a digital system for assessing performance, you don’t need to wait until the next official appraisal meeting to raise the issue. You can document it in the system as soon as you notice it, raise it with the employee at the same time, and again as and when it reoccurs. And then by the time the appraisal rolls around, you have all the evidence you need to either assess that the problem has now been rectified OR that the employee’s performance needs to be escalated to HR.

Also, delivering a bad review is never easy. You need to be able to discuss (and capture)

  • Why you’re giving a poor performance
  • What evidence you have of this poor behaviour
  • The steps that need to be taken and by when
  • What the consequences will be for the individual if the performance doesn’t improve
  • Their feedback from the meeting

Therefore, the more that can be documented and stored, via a digital system, the easier it will be.


Formalising and documenting the process

Appraisals are typically done every six months which means that if every word, score and reason for that score are not captured properly, it’s not possible to remember what was said. This can lead to disagreements, confusion and a lack of progress.

Also, if the line manager changes in that time, the new manager needs to be able to see clearly what the individual was working towards. They need to be able to pick up where their predecessor left off. The appraisee shouldn’t suffer just because someone left the business.

If the business needs to make redundancies or is looking to terminate a worker’s employment, then full documentation on file will avoid any complaints or worse legal action.

Providing a fair and transparent system for all

Some people are better managers than others. They may invest more time in getting to know their team or organise regular meals out. But, when it comes to the appraisal process, every manager should do it in the same way.

If there is an opportunity for promotion, or on the flip side redundancy, then you need to have an accurate report of everyone’s performance – in a uniform way. This means every manager uses the same system, measures the same things and records in the same place. This will ensure a fair decision.

By having everyone’s appraisals done in the same way, using the same system, it makes it easier for HR to track and monitor too. A digital performance management system will ensure this happens.

Providing all staff with confidence in company and their own progression

The final point comes back to employee engagement. Show you care about your employees and that their work makes a difference to the company overall and you’ll get more out of them. An excel document that tracks some ambiguous scoring of performance won’t do that. An official performance management programme will.

This is how you incentivise people to work hard for you. To give them goals that not only provide a brighter future for them but for you too.

Get your performance management in order today, check out our Performance Management solution.