Last week we discussed the true value of company culture, and the challenges of employee retention in a booming economy. Let’s follow up by looking at the first and foremost need of employees in any organization – real time feedback.
It’s easy to see performance appraisals as an empty gesture – a gratuitous pat on the back, or an annual opportunity for your boss to tell you what you’ve done wrong, or at best, an utter waste of time. In fact, without proper execution, performance appraisals can be exactly the waste of time that they might appear to be, but when carried out properly, the performance appraisal can be one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal, and make the difference between losing a key player and having an unstoppable team.
Not only are performance appraisals a great source of information for the employer, they can help employees find direction too. Nowhere else in our life are we accountable to someone in quite the same way as the work place. We can see this in a negative light, but through the use of a solid appraisal system, this can provide light and direction in our personal lives.
Ask your employees BIG questions.
“Why are you here?”
“Why do you do what you do?”
“What gets you up in the morning?”
It’s important to acknowledge that our people CHOOSE to come to work. If they only wanted a paycheck, they could likely get that anywhere, and possibly make more money.
If you ask these questions ten times, you’ll get ten different answers. If you’ve never really been asked these questions, you might find that you need to think about your response. By asking employees to define for themselves what they are looking for in their career, you can help them find direction they didn’t realize they had.
Building a great performance appraisal process doesn’t happen on its own. Often, these processes start out with the right intentions, but asking the wrong questions, or using the wrong format can kill this process before it begins. By helping employees (and appraisers too!) to set SMART goals, (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely) a good performance appraisal system can set everyone up for success.
Another missed opportunity in most performance appraisal systems is the tendency to focus too entirely on the work. It’s important to realize your team members are more than just widget builders. They have families, wants, needs, and dreams!
The performance appraisal is a great time to touch base with employees about their personal goals and discover what truly makes them tick. Looking to take a couple of night classes? Been meaning to train to run a 5k? Those are great aspirations to discuss and track, and talking about personal goals can help give the appraisal a less formal, more comfortable tone for everyone.
It’s important to shift the employer/employee paradigm to coach and team members. Gone are the days of punching in and punching out. We need to move quickly to ensure dialogue stays open, our people are happy, and set up to achieve both professional and personal goals in their lives.
Feeling a bit overwhelmed by the whole process? Arcade can help! Give us a call today at 425-269-4886 to talk about what we can do for your performance appraisal system today!