There has been lots of talk about the way appraisals are completed and if they can be changed or improved and then how? While the headlines claim that appraisals are being dumped, ditched, axed and abolished, the truth of the matter for some companies is that they are just being changed; or that annual appraisals are being removed so appraisals can be completed more effectively.
Appraisals are traditionally very heavy, rigid and time-consuming for both parties. However, trends seem to be encouraging businesses to create a more regular appraisal in their business that is more of a two-way conversation, this is lighter and more informal too.
CIPD completed research with the Centre for Evidence-Based management to see if the new trend of appraisals could be better than the old style; the report was called ‘Could do Better?’ and looked at what works in regards to goal setting and performance appraisals.
At the beginning of the performance cycle the research found that different types of goals and targets work in different setting; for example the SMART acronym (typically – specific, measurable, assignable, realistic and time-related) to the test, are effective when the tasks to be completed are relatively straight-forward and predictable.
However, for more complex jobs when the tasks involve a number of interlinked-stages or making data-based decisions then targets such as ‘do your best’ that are not specific will work best; focus on learning and behaviour in this case, instead of goals focused outputs.
When looking at this research in terms of appraisals it is essential to note that is more how the employees react than what the managers do. A great way of doing this is to check in with the employee after the appraisal and ensure that they found the appraisal to be fair and useful.
With the traditional appraisal style, often the manager or employer was so pleased to have got their few days of staff appraisals completed, it was like that job was done until next year and no further action was made until that time.
If you speak to the employee to understand how they feel about the appraisal you’ll know if they found it to be fair and useful; if they don’t then you know further conversation is needed. This will ensure that the whole performance management cycle is not a one-sided conversation that could unravel at any time.
How do you complete your staff appraisals and could they be better? If you require further support or advice on appraisals contact aspire cambridge on 01223 855440.