Friday, June 30, 2006

Performance Appraisals – Can’t Live With Them, Can’t Live Without Them

For most people, the thought of swimming across Victoria Harbour (Hong Kong pond) for an all-day session of LegCo (Hong Kong's government), followed by an evening with Celine Dion (skeletal-like French-speaking Canuck) - as presented by endless parades of tourists in a Wan Chai karaoke bar - is not something we could endure.


Nevertheless, for most Hong Kong managers, an afternoon with Long Hair (you don't want to know) and an evening with Celine-wannabe’s is considerably more acceptable than conducting the dreaded employee performance appraisal.

Practically every firm conducts performance appraisals – even if managers (and employees) detest them so much they will do practically anything to avoid participation. Even personnel – who invented them - dislike appraisals as they spend most of their time chasing reluctant managers for the results.

How can we make reviews more endurable? Try this:

Reinforce Positives... Regularly
Ongoing feedback is considerably more effective than yearly feedback. One of the least-used management principles is that of reinforcement: ‘reinforcing positive behavior will increase the probability of that behavior.’ Managers need to note employees in the act of performing positively and immediately reinforce them. Appreciation and a ‘pat on the back’ are powerful reinforcements that lead to further positive results.

De-link Employee Development with Compensation
The performance and salary review have become synonymous in most companies. However, there is nothing more demoralising for employees than to say their performance is terrific but there is no money on hand for raises. Performance reviews should assist employees develop and grow; salary reviews should occur separately on a yearly basis.

Ensure Clarity and Achievability
Manpower research indicates that only 50% of employees actually understand the measures used to assess performance. As such, performance measures must be clear - and relevant - to each particular employee. For example, ‘billable hours’ may be pertinent for project workers in a professional service firm but not for someone whose sole responsibility are sales. Employees should also participate in establishing objectives, as they often know their job better than managers.

Team and Customer Feedback
Performance feedback from team members and customers is frequently more useful than managerial feedback. Organised appropriately, 360° reviews including team and customer feedback is especially valuable to employees.


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11:23 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


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5:42 pm  

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