It is that of the year again. You are reminded that it is time to complete employees’ performance appraisals. We all know that this is one of those tasks that you dread doing. It causes you stress. Giving negative feedback is horrific and brings about trepidation in you. Begrudgingly, you have scheduled a time to do the appraisals. As you approach this task it is perhaps useful to reflect on some of the “sins” from the perspective of an employee. WINN asked ten employees about the donts of a performance appraisal and here are the recurring themes.
It is a sin to delegate it: Employees want to have their performance appraised by their immediate supervisor. They do not want this task to be delegated, regardless of the nature and quality of the relationship that exists between the employee and the supervisor.
Bad timing is a sin: Those interviewed stressed that they do not want to be appraised at a time when there is a live dispute between the supervisor and the employee. Naturally, employees do not want a live dispute to influence the overall appraisal results.
Rushing it is a sin: Spend the time with the employee and do as comprehensive a job as possible. Employees do not want to feel rushed in the interchange. They want to feel that the process matters and that the supervisor treats their performance as part of a development exercise that matters.
Rubber stamping is a sin: While employees understand that information can be gathered from a variety of sources to assess performance, they nevertheless make a distinction between the collection of information from others, and taking advice from others. The assessment should reflect the opinions of the supervisor. Employees caution that they do not want the results of the appraisal to be influenced by the advice of persons external to the process. In other words, the supervisor should not simply be rubber stamping advice obtained from sources other than objective information about the employee’s performance.
Subjectivity is a sin: Objectivity in the performance evaluation process is one thing that employees seem to value. When providing feedback employees seem to welcome specific examples of performance failures and concrete suggestions on strategies to improve.
Job irrelevance is a sin: Among those to whom WINN spoke, there is an overwhelming desire to ensure that the feedback received in not personal, but job-centred. Where comments of a personal nature is necessary ensure that it is not a personal attack on the employee, but rather examples of inter-personal behaviours that are lacking and which are job requirements.
Only current sins: A few of the people to whom we spoke said they did not want to be constantly reminded of past sins, unless it was relevant to the assessment being conducted.
Dismissiveness sin: Employees want to feel that any concerns or explanations raised in the course of the assessment are heard. Employees want their managers to listen to what they have to say without being dismissive. Listening sometimes require demonstration of empathy.
Breaching privacy sin: It goes without saying that there is a high desire amongst employees to keep the results of the appraisal private, sharing it only with those in the organization who for functional purposes need the information. Privacy seems to be a value that is shared across the board.
Incompletion sin: A half done review is not appreciated by employees. Failing to complete the interview leaves the impression that it is not important. Moreover, failing to complete the review leaves the employee hanging with no clear sense of closure and direction.
Unilateral sign off sin: Some of the employees interviewed said that a manager should not sign off on the results of the performance review until discussing its entirety with the employee.