Appraisal Good Practice

Hi All,

I have been reading with a great deal of interest, the debate on whether or not the annual appraisal is dead.

It seems that most people/organisations agree that their existing process is either not fit for purpose, or at least very cumbersome. I wonder then if anyone has actually come up with a workable alternative that does seem to tick the right boxes (without being a box ticking exercise)?

We currently do spend more time chasing completion, than we do on the content of the reviews. 

If anyone would love to share their best practice, or a real tangible way forward I would love to hear it.

Thanks in advance

  • It was discovered years ago Scott;

    1. Blank sheet of paper + manager & employee
    2. Discuss work.
    3. Manager gives employee something to do - a target/objective or whatever you want to call it.
    4. Manager & Employee discuss how the target is to be met and decide what needs to be done to achieve it.
    5. Date is set for progress meeting.
    6. Para 2 is discussed again if required.
    7. Employee tells manager he/.she has reached the target/goal/etc., etc.,

    ps tick boxes are a wast of time as you know, are discredited by busy managers and in any case its really a case of:- "different strokes for different folks" (Ken Blanchard)
    No HR Involved at all with a bit of luck.
  • In reply to David Perry:

    Amen, especially to the HR involvement. Unfortunately some of our accreditation’s involve a certain level of “robust objective setting, and performance management”. Hence the question, as I’m a staunch believer that it is about conversations.. “they” however seem to need it recorded!
  • The real challenge - and where I find myself drawn into the process most often - is in the framing of objectives so they are useful for both employee and employer.

    The employee needs a clear description of what "good" looks like. The employer needs a clear benchmark to determine whether "good" is being achieved.

    Most appraisal failures, I've found, arise from a manager judging an employee on things the employee didn't know were being measured or in which they didn't know what the metric of quality was supposed to be.
  • Hi Scott We are in a service industry where the clients drive what we do and we are very responsive to their requirements. We struggled for a number of years setting smart goals that changed or disappeared when the client changed or changed their minds. Finding it difficult to measure the goals. Now we use an app to organise regular 1:1s and keep notes and we use the app to record peer and client feedback. We now use bigger picture goals and ask which goal(s) do my actions achieve. We also focus on learning from past experience and ideas for improvement. This is a continuous process rather than a annual or quarterly 'appraisal'.
  • Hi Scott,

    We have moved away from the annual appraisal cycle in my company approximately 2 years ago and have moved to a continuous performance management system, supported by a fab bit of software called ClearReview.

    We all have regular check ins with our line managers - we set this to be a minimum of one check in every 4 weeks - although some do more and some do less - we are not overly dictatorial about it - we ask that they find what works for them.

    We also then all have objectives on the system - that are managed by the employee - they can be short or long term and are reviewed at Check Ins. We load the system up with the Organisational goals so that employees can link their objectives to a goal. This has really helped with focus on what is adding value etc.

    The Clear Review system also allows us to record short term actions, ask for feedback about how we are doing and also run what are called talent snapshots.

    How has it worked for us - well I think everyone is more engaged and benefits from shorter, sharper and clearer conversations with their line manager. We are no longer locked into an annual appraisal paperwork fest! Managers tend to pick up and deal with performance issues quicker and more effectively as they don't let it fester until year end. That said, not everyone likes it and we have had to do some work in engaging people in how to use it to its best effect, how to write smart objectives and why continuous check ins are better.

    Would I ever go back to an annual system - no !

    Hope that helps!

  • In reply to Rachel :

    Hi Rachel.
    Happy to learn about the continuous performance management system.
    And the online system seems to help.
    One key success factor I believe is discipline in updates by all participants. Interestingly, this system seems to capture annual targets broken down to monthly indicators. I am just wondering if it is not too cumbersome for the line managers?
  • Hi Scott
    The way we handle this is through a dichotomy of quantitative factual business indicators, including implementation of key strategic projects and qualitative behavioural indicators with a descriptive scale.
    The questionnaire is kept short and automated. There is a weight age of 70% towards quantitative indicators and 30% on the qualitative ones.
    We focus on strengths, areas of improvement and development.
    We have recently streamlined the questionnaire, automated the questions and calculation of scores with an inbuilt skills dictionary and rating scale. This has been useful and appreciated by the workforce.
    The most challenging bit is the ability to think through thoroughly on meaningful measurable objectives and the ability to ensure the objectives somehow connect to the overall business strategy across levels.
    Hope this helps
  • In reply to Sylvia:

    Hi, what app do you use
  • In reply to Scott:

    Two answers to that question - we are using Breathe however if I was purely using an app for appraisal I would use appraisd (note no 'e')
  • Hi Scott - an update from a conversation with a fellow consultant who is working with an organisation who have identified a number of areas i.e. development, reward, motivation etc The manager and employee are expected to select and discuss each topic once throughout the year and an annual summary captures the conversation and actions.
  • Scott. We use a concept called 20 minute conversations which take place each month. Happy to share the concept - let me have your email - it works really well for smart workforces. Yu can contact us on ideas@smartworkingrevolution.com
  • In reply to Reena:

    Hi Reena,
    thank you for this. When you say that your questionnaire is automated, is this through your HRIS? or some other methodology?
  • In reply to Scott:

    Hi Scott
    My apologies for the delayed reply
    We have developed a methodology and organised for an in-house development for implementation
    We used basically the 9 grid method for talent identification