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Annual Appraisals

6 months ago - Mark Ashton

Its annual appraisal time, you have been given the Annual Appraisal form by HR (or your reluctant manager). A meeting is scheduled and you get that sinking feeling of having to remember what exactly happened in the last 12 months. You fill in the form reflecting on your teamwork, decision making, communication and quality of work the best you can remember.

This is your “quality time”, one on one with your boss. No distractions just un-divided personal attention. In fact is probably the only such time you have with your boss unless you’ve done something wrong!

You have meticulously planned the main talking point for your meeting, which is you feel slightly underpaid and could this be addressed. Its been role played a million times in your head and your pretty confident you have the timing right for dropping the salary increase bomb.

The allotted day arrives for the appraisal, a 45 minute awkward chat, you get all your words back to front when it comes to the payrise part. You all walk non-the wiser, a bit confused and more disengaged than when you went it. I thought appraisals were supposed to be a positive vibe.

You’re not alone, more and more employers are ditching annual appraisals now. It’s a heavily process driven method that can restrict fluid conversation. There is no conformality to the proceedings, its antiquated and in a modern world do you really have to hand write a paper document!

It’s a seismic shift for HR professionals to move away from this staple of their HR planning. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) is a professional association for HR personnel recognises this fact and offers advice regarding a more dynamic and Agile approach.

  • Establish a trusting culture which encourages regular meaningful conversation relating to performance.
  • Managers and employees tune into asking the right questions, listening with lots of touch points throughout the year.
  • Digging around organisational capabilities rather than individual specifics and faults.

Already we have seen a change at some major global companies such as Microsoft, Abode, Accenture. A move towards real time performance achievement. Its focus on talent of employees, their achievements. Ticking boxes on expectations, qualities they bring to the organisation and role. Encouraging growth and development to achieve aspirations.

In very simple terms what do you expect? And am I meeting your expectations? Or asking what are your five most significant accomplishments since our last meeting? And what are your five biggest goals until next time? Are questions that can be asked to induce an open regular forum.

It’s going to be a very careful decision that HR departments need to make, who may recognise the need for change but drift into another year of dull annual appraisals. All changes need time, plans need to be documented. HR professional then have to ensure the managers have the skills to pull it off. Also you still need a platform to note concerns to employees that are not performing to negate any legal unfair dismal claims that may arise. Appraisals are helpful to align performance with business objectives and done right will retain the top performing employees and encourage new shooting stars over the next 12 months.