Friday, March 16, 2007

Performance Appraisal

I listened in on a performance appraisal training session at a major insurance company.
Some notions that came to mind:

As an HR manager one should clarify what intention of the session is. It is essential to have a very clearly understanding of what is the outcome to be achieved. Is the intention to have managers and team members understand the appraisal document and process OR to ensure that people have the skills to deal with the appraisal session OR all of the above.

Performance appraisals are such a touchy topic – they touch on $’s. Get the organisation to state very clearly where remuneration fits in appraisal.
Try to ensure that there is someone internal to the organisation who is capturing the developing ideas and feedback from the session. So many suggestions that came out during the session were not heard and were not recorded therby lost to the organisation.
Be prepared for the questions. Spend time pre-empting all the types of possible and probable questions that could arise during the session. Receive input from a range of people in the organisation as to the types of questions that could arise. List these questions. Rehearse, replay and rehearse again answers to these questions. Get your wording right.
During the session get the questions out on the table. Rather raise the concerns in the room - this is far better than people leaving the room and setting off a range of grapevining amongst themselves. The more transparent the session, the less noise there will be afterwards.
Ask: "Your views please" and "What are the questions?” Not: “Are there any questions?”
Get team members to work in groups to come up with questions; list them on a flip chart. Call for people to comment and do not shy away from the questions – this creates the feeling that the organisation has a hidden agenda.
Make everything as visible as possible. Don’t just talk - use hand-outs, diagrams, posters, powerpoint slides. Say your key messages again and again. People hear what they want to hear. Offering the same message in different ways allows a better opportunity for the group to absorb the message.

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