The Future of Work Capsules: Performance appraisal is not expected to be a vindictive process (2)

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Baptista Sarah Gebu (Mrs.)

Happy New Year and for those who have not read part 1 of this article, welcome with me to 2021.  I encourage you to be the change you expect to see.

Let’s make performance management and the appraisal system a great tool to help coach, mentor, and develop our team instead of making it a vindictive process.

The goal planning process for managers and employees ought to consider these steps. First, the manager meets with his/her employees as a team or individually to discuss organizational goals and how they relate to the team/department (if applicable) and the individuals. The manager can request employees to think in advance about their role in accomplishing their goals for the fiscal year. The manager may also share guidance on realistic individual objectives which will help create SMART performance and development goals. Then, discussions to agree on additional resources which would be needed by the employee over the fiscal year under review is a step in the right direction. The manager should be able to document what is needed from the employee and by what time. Committing to having regular check-ins with employees helps a lot.

From the employee side also it’s great agreeing only to what he/her can deliver over the period. The employee must be actively involved in setting the goals – the first draft of goals should start with the employee to his manager. Making sure goals are linked with the organizational strategy set for the evaluation year. If you are in thought, it’s great to weigh in with your supervisor for support and guidance. I recommend that employees think of both necessary and “stretch” goals, which will aid in their growth over the period. Making sure you include development goals that will enhance your skills and position you for long-term career growth as well, which is very necessary. At this time, you communicate with your supervisor about what you need from him/her to be successful in the achievement of your goals.

Is there a legal requirement to performance appraisal?

Firstly, there is no legal requirement that a company must have a performance appraisal system. No law compels an organization to review the performance of its members, just as no law requires a company to provide good customer service. Conducting performance reviews, and giving good customer service are simply accepted management practices and very good ideas.

If a company does choose to have a performance appraisal system, it must be sure that the system complies with the laws of the country. In the eyes of the law a performance appraisal is an employment test. It is thus scrutinized in a manner similar to that of other aspects of the employment process: initial recruitment, selection and hiring, promotion, compensation, and termination. As a result, the legal requirements for performance appraisal systems are similar to those for other selection tests.

How can we make sure our performance appraisal is legally defensible?

No appraisal system is immune to legal challenge. Nonetheless, the risk of legal difficulties can be minimized if seven basic good management practices are followed.

Base the performance appraisal on an analysis of the job. Define your performance dimensions in behavioral terms and support assessments with observable and objective evidence. Keep things simple.  Monitor and audit for discrimination.  Train raters to assess performance accurately and to conduct effective appraisal discussions. Provide for upper-management review before the appraisal is reviewed with the individual. Furthermore, to ensure our performance appraisal is legally defensible, we must provide some appeal mechanism.

What are the manager’s responsibilities in the performance-planning phase of the process?

The manager has six primary responsibilities. Four of them you’ll work on before the meeting with the individual. The other two you’ll accomplish during the meeting.

Before the Meeting, the manager must review the organization’s mission statement, or vision and values, and your own department’s goals. Read the individual’s job description. Think about the goals and objectives the person needs to achieve in the upcoming appraisal period. Identify the most important competencies that you expect the individual to demonstrate in performing the job. Determine what you consider to be fully successful performance in each area.

During the Meeting, the manager must discuss and come to an agreement with the individual on the most important competencies, key position responsibilities, and goals. The individual also has some responsibilities to perform before, during and after the appraisal process.

For the individual –Before the Meeting, the employee must review the organization’s mission statement and your own department’s goals. Review your job description and determine your critical responsibilities. Think about your job and identify the most important goals you feel you should accomplish in the upcoming appraisal period. Think about what you consider to be fully successful performance in each area.

Individual -During the Meeting, the employee must discuss and come to an agreement with your appraiser on the most important competencies for your job, key position responsibilities, and goals. Continue to discuss and come to agreement on your personal development plans with your manager. The employee must during this process make full notes on a working copy of the appraisal form or in his/her diary or digital notebook. Keep the original form and give copy to appraiser.

It is very important to understand that; performance goals are linked to your job requirement and defines objectives to be met within your current job role. On the other hand, development goals are linked to career growth and define objectives that provide professional development for the short, medium and long term. Usually, results include actual job outputs, countable products, measurable outcomes and accomplishments, and objectives achieved. Results must deal with what the person achieved. Behaviors then will include competencies, skills, expertise and proficiencies, the individual’s adherence to organizational values, and the person’s personal style, manner, and approach. Behaviors deal with how the person went about doing the job.

Practicing a shared responsibility between manager and employee during the performance appraisal system establishes commitment, ownership and expectations that are mutually understood. It’s time to start putting the “human” back into human resource practice. As a manager, your employee’s destiny lies in your hands. Be humane and treat people fairly and objectively. Remember, the very people you meet whiles climbing the corporate ladder are the very same people you meet at the top and down while descending the ladder. You may be powerful today, but remember time is more powerful. Performance appraisal is not expected to be a vindictive process, it is a great tool to help coach, mentor, and develop our team. Managers must organize workers, not just to maximize efficiency, but to nurture skills, develop talent and inspire results.

Baptista is a human resource professional with a broad generalist background. Building a team of efficient & effective workforce is her business. Affecting lives is her calling!  She is a Hybrid Professional, HR Generalist, strategic planner, innovative, professional connector and a motivator. You can reach her via e-mail on [email protected]   You can follow this conversation on our social media pages Facebook / LinkedIn/ Twitter / Instagram: FoReal HR Services.   Call or WhatsApp: +233(0)262213313.  Follow the hashtag #theFutureofWorkCapsules #FoWC

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