The spectrum of treatment that the Performance Appraisal Process is meted out in various organizations ranges from complete indifference to overpowering fear.
Let’s visualize the Performance Appraisal Process for once. Your Manager schedules a meeting with you and other team members to have a one-on-one where he will ‘appraise’ you. Using his extraordinary memory, he recalls every bit of contribution that you made at the workplace during the last 12 months. He superhumanly collects all the feedback you should receive from all the important stakeholders, painstakingly analyzes it and then weaves that into your performance appraisal. He then follows it up with a detailed feedback to you on where you did well and where you missed a few opportunities. He takes time out to connect you with individuals who are doing well in areas where you can develop. Well, none of this truly ever happens!
Often, Performance Appraisal is treated as just another process in the workplace. If you are lucky, your Manager will spend a few minutes to tell you about the quality of your contribution and give some feedback, based on the “recency effect” – things that he can recall from top of his mind. You end up thinking whether you got a fair chance of being ‘appraised’ and you stop looking forward to such discussions. You perhaps end up doing the same to your team when it comes to appraising them. And in the end, the entire Performance Appraisal process suffers.
Performance Appraisal process can really get a fillip with feedback on employees from multiple stakeholders. A lot of organizations do collect ‘360º Feedback’ once or twice a year. A few of them use some tools while others do it through just emails. It becomes so difficult to keep track of these emails on one hand and on the other hand, collecting feedback a few times a year is not enough to appraise an employee for her year-long efforts.
A robust Performance Appraisal process is one which runs throughout the year with continuous feedback streaming in for every employee
and is bi-directional – seniors can also get insightful feedback from their junior colleagues if there has been a meaningful collaboration over a project or assignment.
The advantages of a continuous feedback are its real time characteristics and takes the burden off the Manager to go through the cumbersome process. A real-time continuous feedback can collect feedback through everyday tools like email and collaboration platforms like Slack to give deep insights into a Manager’s team. By being available in everyday tools, employees are keen to click a few options within these tools to give feedback and the feedback giving rate dramatically goes up to 70-80% as opposed to using traditional survey tools which have a meagre 20-30% It thus allows the Manager to do coaching conversations to truly engage his team members and embark them on a path of productivity and enhanced performance, and help them realize their true potential.
The other important stakeholder, besides the Manager, is the HR. HR department can come under tremendous pressure pushing people to complete the process within timelines and then collating all the data that flows in from multiple functions throughout the organization. A true Continuous Feedback system comes power-packed with real-time Analytics that present sharp insights into the organization. HR department can easily take data cuts of every function, every hierarchy level to proceed with a successful completion of the Performance Management Process.
So it’s now possible with a Real-time Continuous Feedback System in place, the Performance Appraisal process can move from zones of sheer indifference and overwhelmingly fearsome to one of truly-deserved importance and impact.