Thursday, November 5, 2009

why appraisals don't work

The evidence on the worth of appraisals is damning.
Performance management meetings regularly fail because few managers can provide constructive feedback on employee performance in a valuable manner so that it is clear, helpful and tactful.

Usually what happens is the employee leaves the session frustrated, angered that only mistakes are pointed out and accomplishments go unappreciated.
None of us like being criticised. To cope with it we either deny the feedback or request evidence.
This usually leads to an unresolvable disagreement followed by increased disrespect for management and their performance management systems. Reduced morale means lower productivity, less commitment and more mistakes. So the vicious cycle begins.

There is an easier way.
People psychologically need positive regard, even secure people need regular compliments.
If a manager shows appreciation weekly by providing positive feedback without any buts, without adding on what should have been done and can leave it at that, an employee feels better about themselves and their value to an organisation. Their desire for continued positive feedback means they will try harder to get more praise. It's addictive.
But the tendency to tell someone what they should have done is so strong that it's a lot harder to do this than it seems.
You don't have to wait for your manager to do this, you can start consciously commenting to colleagues when you notice the good stuff they do. If sounds cheesy but is in fact a feature of superior organisations that regular positive regard for each other results in a better atmosphere with better teamworking and higher motivation. If everyone got a weekly 'stroke', it would be the cheapest most effective measure that an organsiation can take to keep people motivated and dare I say it, happy to be at work.
Will someone tell management?

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