Performance Appraisal is a component of performance management and it defined as a systematic process, in which the personality and performance of a subordinate is assessed by the supervisor or manager, against predefined standards. Preferred Standard here means, the goals and the key performance indicators had been set and shared with the subordinate at the beginning of the performance period.
There are two parts to every performance appraisal, the Technical Part and the Emotional Part. The technical part is about giving scores to the performance and the Emotional Part is about discussing with the Employee.
The challenge with a lot of performance appraisal system, however, is that the technical part of the appraisal is done without having a one-on-one chat or discussion with the employee based on what has been appraised and this defeats the entire purpose of the appraisal.
The overreaching purpose of Performance Management is to help an employee improve performance, so why measure an employee’s performance without discussing the performance with the employee and expect the employee to improve performance?
The challenge I have noticed with this part of Performance Appraisal is that sitting down to discuss performance which is the feedback part usually seem difficult because it is the emotional part. This is the part where you as a leader have to explain why you have given an employee such score, this is the part where an employee can disagree with a leader and might have evidence to show for their disagreement and obviously this is the part that could bring about conflict if not manages well.
No matter the intricacies with the emotional part of performance appraisal, it is the most important part; what is the use of appraising a subordinate without discussing the reasons why you have given such ratings? This is the part of the appraisal that would inform the subordinate about what they are doing very well and why they should keep it up. This is also the opportunity to discuss areas on poor or unsatisfactory performance and both parties will engage in the “how: to improving such performance. The reason an employee would improve is because feedback has been given, and now there is an awareness of what should change and most importantly how it will change.
The good part of the emotional part of appraisal is that in a few weeks or month’s time, such discussion will happen again, and the items that was discussed will be brought to the table again for both parties to see if there has been improvement.
Logically the subordinate will try and work on the areas of shortcomings because of the next appraisal meeting and in that process, push him or herself to improve performance hereby achieving the overall purpose of performance management, which is improving the performance of the subordinate.
Although a lot of companies practice a performance appraisal system that is done once or twice in a year, we would usually advice to appraise at least four times in a year, having a discussion with your subordinate once in a year, usually at the end of the year about an area of poor performance is medicine after death, because the poor performance has already impacted negatively on the overall performance of the organization. If, however, the appraisal is done quarterly and the performance chat is held four to six times in a year, then the poor performance would have been identified and corrective measure would have been taken to curb reoccurrence of poor performance hereby saving the organization from the impact of poor performance. Another important part of the Emotional Part of Performance Appraisal is knowing what to say, what not to say, body language and how to communicate.
Want to have improved performance this year? then ensure there is more performance appraisal discussion between subordinates and superiors.