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Ah, performance appraisals — oh, how we love thee — these nail-biting moments that keep employees on their toes. Poorly structured performance appraisals put unnecessary stress on employees and don’t effectively capture relevant performance indicators.
When was the last time you reviewed your company’s appraisal process? Flaws in the process must be corrected if you want to create a strong team. A strong team has valued team members who understand their weaknesses and are mentored to become their best selves in the organization. Here are some strategies you can use to create performance appraisals that build this type of team.
Appraisals Should Be Ongoing
Performance appraisals shouldn’t be one-off meetings held at the end of the year. Informal appraisals should be done several times throughout the year. Your team members need to understand where they’re going wrong and be given a chance to improve long before the final appraisal.
Springing everything on the employee in the annual appraisal meeting can be perceived as an attack. Your team member may view it as the supervisor trying to build enough evidence to paint a negative image of the employee. It’s unfair to expect a team member to be motivated and willing to work if opportunities for improvement aren’t provided throughout the year.
Make Performance Criteria Clear
Performance criteria must be linked to the team member’s job description. An initial meeting should be scheduled where the team member is guided through what is expected. This meeting provides the team member with the opportunity to ask questions. The team member should leave the meeting with a clear sense of what is expected.
Mentor, Don’t Belittle
Effective leaders inspire. They know how to influence people to believe and work towards their vision. They excite, motivate, and empower each team member to be the best they can be.
Performance appraisals provide the perfect opportunity to empower a team member. Empowerment comes through highlighting the team member’s strengths and helping the team member devise strategies to deal with his or her weaknesses.
Therefore, negative talk shouldn’t guide the discussion. Instead, the discussion should provide a balanced perspective. For instance, instead of saying, “You were terrible at this. I’m disappointed,” you could say, “Kandice, I love how creative you are. Your creativity makes our projects come to life! However, there were several times when you missed the deadlines by more than two days. That affected the work of other team members. How do you think you can address this?” The latter discussion will create a better response from Kandice.
Get a Holistic Perspective
A supervisor’s opinions shouldn’t be the sole determining factor of a performance appraisal. Feedback should be sought from colleagues who have worked closely with the team member. This provides a broader perspective. Feedback can come in the form of informal discussions or the anonymous completion of a form.
Your ultimate goal is to get your team members to produce their best work. Effective leaders achieve this goal by building relationships. Team members must feel valued and appreciated. They must feel that their leaders care.
Good relationships build trust. Trust improves the performance appraisal process. Team members feel that you have their best interests at heart and are, therefore, more receptive to the feedback given.
Performance appraisals are valuable tools for strengthening your team. They must be effective. The strategies outlined in this article pave the way for creating effective performance appraisals. Use them wisely.
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