Performance management and appraisals

145Performance management is commonly achieved through annual performance appraisals. Performance appraisals are, in my opinion, the most effective way to manage your team’s performance.

I have reprised the key points here, perhaps in more detail than for other modules, as I believe this is the single most important key to effective performance management. So it is worth repeating and revising the process on a regular basis.

We discussed Performance management and appraisals in previous lessons.

We discussed Appraisal skills for managers in previous lessons.

Many employees dread appraisals, usually because their experience of them is not a good one. But carried out correctly they can be a very positive experience. Equally if carried out badly they can be a very negative experience. The reason most employees dread them is that most managers carry our performance appraisals badly, for example using the opportunity to revisit problems that have occurred during the year, producing the negative experience many of us are familiar with.

The process needs to be understood by both staff and management. Line managers need to appreciate how the annual appraisal can contribute to performance management. New managers need training in carrying out appraisals effectively and constructively, and established managers may benefit from a refresher seminar.

Done well, Performance Management enables high performance levels, and creates a culture that is transparent and produces improvements in performance. It can allow a review of the employee’s performance and development, emphasize what has been done well, and discuss what might be improved. It can identify support the manager can provide, issues can be discussed openly and dealt with tactfully, encouragement and feedback given, and action agreed and completed.

It is an effective tool for managing the performance of your team, and motivating staff. It can be used to reinforce the company goals, discuss goals and targets, introduce any planned changes and evolution of job roles, establish priorities and review the team’s skills and performance. Skills gaps can be identified and appropriate training arranged. Ideally there is constructive, open dialogue and exchange of views.

The employee’s ambitions should be discussed and a targeted action plan produced, highlighting `required improvements in identified areas, and a learning and development plan. The manager may note the suitability of the employee for development, promotion or retention. Sometimes a grade is awarded which will influence bonus or salary l.

So in summary performed well, appraisals can reinforce a managers relationships with his team and are an effective tool for target setting and review. Used badly they have a negative effect. Managers need to learn to use this tool effectively. This needs work