Walking out of your boss' cabin, post an appraisal session with a sense of contentment, is a rare feeling, right?
There has been a lot of uncertainty in the industry about whether performance appraisals are really helpful. There are several HR professionals who are mulling over whether they should be drastically revised. To find out why, let's look at where the problems really lie and whether there are solutions to the same.
One of the main problems arises when one has to deal with an incapable appraiser. The human element behind the process makes all the difference. "The mantra for the assessors should be - assess the behaviour and not the person," says Vishal Chhiber, director, HR, Kelly Services India. If you want to assess the person, call it ‘person appraisal'. Performance appraisals should be done on the basis of the output. Although personal characteristics do contribute to the performance, they do not contribute to the actual output. "The human touch, that is, in-person appraisals instead of online form filling; constant, constructive and development oriented feedback throughout the year rather than a one-off exchange; and the exactness of the appraisal document (precise goals, measures, trackers and timelines) determine the quality of assessment performed by the appraisal process," adds Chhiber.
Improper goal-setting can develop into another shortcoming. "The goals of the business and functional goals of a team should be aligned. The balanced scorecard can help link business and cross-functional goals. The KRA should be well-defined and if it is not completed, reasons for failure should be sought," says Hemant Behal, senior VP, group HR, RPG Enterprises. To add to that, Sandyp Bhattacharya, VP-HR, Comviva says, "The process should rate employees not only on the basis of their performance during the last performance cycle, which is an evaluation of their KRAs, but also their potential to perform and take up a role at least two levels above their current level. This keeps alive a culture of developing a leadership pool within the organisation."
Another problem can be the lack of transparency. "The final document submitted to HR, post the appraisal discussion should be signed off by both - the manager and employee," says Chhiber. It is vital for the process to be transparent, so that the employee knows where he/she stands and in which areas he/she can improve.
"Employees should be given enough time to prepare. They shouldn't be put in the spotlight under short notice. Instead of letting them know one hour before, it is advisable to give them at least 10 to 15 days to prepare," says Behal.
The performance appraisal process exists in different avatars in various organisations. Nevertheless, it is not the appraisal template or the type of appraisal methodology that determines whether actual performance is getting measured, but how the process is run. "It helps to analyse his/her achievements and evaluate his/her contribution towards the achievements of the overall organisational goals. That is, if it's done right," says Bhattacharya. So, if you are wondering whether the whole process is any good to begin with, maybe just a tad bit of tweaking can make all the difference.
- Tanya Thomas
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