If you wanted to know how the performance appraisal process was working – who would you ask?
Would you ask the appraisers whether they felt they’d got their key messages across, set clear goals, fairly assessed performance, identified training needs, and given a nice bolt of motivation?
Or would you ask the appraisees whether they were clear on their goals, understood how their performance was seen, how they viewed the last year, had a chance to discuss the coming year, their ambitions and the development they were looking for over the coming months and years?
I’d ask the appraisees. I would be much more interested in what message was received and what experience was had than on what message was sent and how the appraiser felt things had gone. I guess that is why we send out employee engagement surveys that ask questions in this area.
Which suggests to me that the conversation(s) around appraisal – whether the annual event, or the regular sessions – should be viewed as the appraisee’s conversation. This mindset would have the appraiser consider the individual appraisee. How do I best set the scene for the conversation? How do I ensure the appraisee has a voice, and that I listen? How do I deliver on my purpose within the session in a way that ensures the messages are received positively and deliver the intended outcomes?
As a manager it is important that you deliver on your intended purpose in the appraisal process but it isn’t you who decides whether you delivered or not. And your appraisee may have a different agenda that also must be met for the appraisal meetings to be successful. Makes it a bit harder knowing that.
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