Performance appraisals are a regular part of job performance and contribution. They help to assess the contribution made by each of the employees to further the company’s growth plans, review the progress made, and reward the high achievers and upskill them for future growth.
Pick one of these methods described here, to your employees committed and motivated, in spite of the tough conditions caused by the pandemic:
HR teams can still use the performance appraisal to discuss the company’s performance, review the situation and share with everyone the measures being taken to stabilize the situation and to sustain the organization on its future growth path.
COVID-19 has battered every economy and brought the GDPs of countries tumbling down while companies are resetting their quarterly targets and performance goals and targets for 2020. Even as the world is battling the effects of the pandemic, HR teams are striving to keep their teams healthy and performing well. If performance management is about providing the strategy along with the guidance and support needed by the teams, performance appraisals help to keep the teams motivated to keep on delivering or gaining the required skills, where needed. Usually, these appraisals are followed by effective feedback along with some monetary affirmation of an employee’s worth to an organization, in the form of bonuses and pay hikes and pink slips. But, the economic blow dealt by the pandemic has been such that very few employees can expect any salary hike, while many others are facing cuts in pay and many others have suffered layoffs – without any commensurate issues with their individual performance.
So, what kind of performance appraisal can HR teams plan, which does not follow the usual method of reviewing each employee’s performance on the job and their overall contribution to the performance of the company? HR teams can still stay focused on evaluating an employee’s skills and the growth needed to ensure that they keep achieving. The performance appraisal can review the employee’s job performance and contribution. Rewards may still be offered to employees whose performance contributed to the company’s growth and sustainable plans for the future.
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Gone are the days when performance appraisals took a top-down approach and paid no heed to the inputs from the employee at all. In fact, the need to keep employees motivated so they will continue to contribute is really high, in the current situation where the very stability of the organization is dependent on the employees.
Managers and employees together identify, plan, organize, and communicate objectives to focus on and set clear goals. They periodically discuss the progress made to evaluate the feasibility of achieving these objectives. This is taken a notch above, with the SMART method which ensures that the objective is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timebound.
Feedback in this method is collected from the employee’s managers, peers, customers, and direct reports, to eliminate bias in performance reviews while gaining a clear understanding of an individual’s competence. While self-assessment rates one’s own performance and behavior at the workplace, peer assessment gets inputs from the employee’s workgroup. 360-degree feedback includes inputs from the employee, their supervisor, and the peer group of the employee which would combine the advantages of the above two approaches while bringing in the inputs of the supervisor who could mentor the employee to grow into a bigger role, if willing to learn and be mentored.
This resource-intensive method evaluates employees by making them take part in social-simulation exercises like informal discussions, fact-finding exercises, decision-making problems, role-plays, in-basket exercises, and others. It enables employees to get a clear picture of how others observe them and the impact it has on their performance. This method will help assess the performance of an individual and can also predict future job performance.
Behaviorally anchored rating scales (BARS) combine both the qualitative and quantitative benefits in a performance appraisal process. BARS compares employee performance with specific behavioral examples that are anchored to numerical ratings and links each performance level on a BAR scale to multiple BARS statements which describe the common behaviors that an employee routinely exhibits. These statements help to measure an individual’s performance against predetermined standards at their role and job level.
Psychological appraisals are used to determine the hidden potential of employees, to predict an employee’s potential and future performance rather than their past work. These appraisals analyze seven major components of an employee’s performance such as interpersonal skills, cognitive abilities, intellectual traits, leadership skills, personality traits, emotional quotient, and other related skills.
In a departure from the traditional performance reviews which happened once a year as standalone events, an Objectives and Key Results-based (OKR) approach can be adopted to set continuous performance management goals and be managed through regular check-ins. This would be an ideal way to manage a remote team, which will be working in a more independent fashion and will need to be constantly aligned to the company’s goals. Employees who align themselves to these goals, which in turn are aligned to the vision of the company, establish their value to the organization when they also upskill themselves where necessary.
As organizations around the world strive to manage costs and survive the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, performance appraisals still need to be conducted, to see whether the teams are coping well with working from home. Employees today will need to look upon their appraisals as an opportunity for growth and accept the need to make appropriate adjustments to compensation programs and growth plans, given the disastrous effects of the pandemic on human life in general and the economy as a whole.