It’s that time again. That time of year that we all dread. Appraisal season.
Managers all over the world will soon start to exhibit the 7 symptoms of PMT –Performance Management Tension.
We will see managers desperately trying to remember anything all about their employees in order to give them feedback and only managing to recall what they did in the last fortnight.
They will eventually find the paperwork from last year, will re-read the 25 objectives they set a year ago, 23 of which had become obsolete within a month and try to think up something meaningful to say about them.
Managers will be frantically looking in their diaries and panicking, realising they’ve got to fit in 12 appraisals, plus the preparation and the write-ups.
They’ll be trying to book rooms, which the more organised managers will have already reserved, and will realise that they’ll have to hold their appraisal meetings at the local Starbucks yet again.
They’ll be studying the appraisal form, which has changed for the fifth year in a row, and will be trying to work out the difference between the six performance ratings and wishing they could just stick all their team in “Outstanding”.
They’ll be desperately trying to avoid anyone in HR who they just know will make them talk about “forced distribution rankings” or “calibration sessions” or other HR gobbledygook they don’t understand.
They’ll be worrying about how on earth they are going to tell Mary that she’s achieved “average” for the 6th year in succession.
Anyone in HR will tell you that they’ve got doubts about whether appraisals actually work. Only 8% of companies actually believe they are worth the time and effort we put into them. I’ve yet to meet anyone who tells me they value their appraisal system. The default position seems to be that they have yet to find something better and an annual appraisal is needed for the 2-3% of poor performers they have. Although why you would want to penalize the 98% to get to them is anyone’s guess. The great news is that every week I meet clients who are starting to make changes. It’s not just the hi-tech companies who are scrapping annual objective setting and complicated grading systems and moving towards a more customer centric approach involving techniques such as on-going coaching, team based objectives, peer reviews, etc.
It is not as scary to make the changes as you might think. Maybe this is the year you put your managers out of their annual PMT misery?
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