Making…..Performance…..Appraisals…..a Positive Experience

Leadershfreak welcomes guest blogger Sean Conrad. Thanks Sean.

For a lot of people, performance appraisals are a negative experience, because we are being judged by another. But you could change the whole experience and improve its business value simply by changing the focus. The goal should be to encourage and inspire people to be their best, rather than to critique, rate and rank them.

Here are some ways you can do that:

Encourage Self-Awareness

In order to change, we need to know ourselves and our deep motivations. By making performance journaling and self-assessments a part of your performance appraisal process, you encourage employees to deepen their self-knowledge, and support growth and change.

Foster Personal Development

Development plans should focus on enhancing an employee’s experience and expertise – preparing them for career advancement, not just addressing “performance gaps”.

Keep Records of Successes

Invite employees to reflect on why they excelled in a particular area. What were the “conditions” that supported their success? Consciously understanding what we need to be our best helps us to “recreate” those conditions, supporting our success.

Take the Focus Off the Ratings

If we want performance appraisals to be a positive experience, we need to focus on self-awareness and growth, not the ratings. Invite the employee to identify:

  • What successes they had
  • What contributed to their success
  • Skills/areas they would like to further develop
  • Things they need to support their performance and success

The manager’s role should be to coach and support, not judge. To encourage this, you can do away with numerical ratings altogether, or move to a simplified 2 or 3 point scale.

Employee performance appraisals don’t have to be a dreaded task. With the right positive focus and approach, they can be a powerful tool for nurturing self-awareness, development and high performance.

What do you think? Do you have any other suggestions for making performance appraisals a positive experience? What things help you to improve your performance?

Sean Conrad is a Senior Product Specialist at Halogen Software, one of the leading providers of talent management solutions. For more of his insights on talent management, read his posts on the Halogen blog, and to learn more about best practices visit Halogen’s Talent Management Centers of Excellence.