Whilst everyone is working from home performance appraisal cannot be limited to a yearly downward judgment.
Feedback and appraisals play a vital role in building trust and effective superior-subordinate relationships. The data enhances the self-awareness of the individual, increases chances of success, and informs Senior Management of who can stand alone. Delay in feedback creates both frustration, when good performance is not recognised, and anger, when judgment is rendered for inadequacies long past. Although managers are urged to give feedback freely and often, there are no built-in mechanisms for ensuring that they do so. We need to adapt our appraisal systems to address the current business imperatives.
Remote working has placed an emphasis on four general areas: (1) innovation, (2) problem solving, (3) personal effectiveness and (4) team effectiveness. Therefore, upcoming performance appraisals are more than an evaluation of the outcomes of remote working. This is one of the best times to consider performance in the context of Executive Presence – has the person remain composed during the crisis, demonstrated concern and been inclusive?
Appraisals of the last six months should therefore give data or examples on:
· quality of work
· finding initiatives
· effectiveness with others
· problem solving
· decision making
· goal setting,
· organisation, and planning
· developing subordinates
Each of these categories is then broken down into example statements such as:
“exhibits high level of independence in work”.
“identifies problems and deals with them”.
“gives people genuine responsibility, holds them accountable, and allows them freedom to act.”
The appraisal is an opportunity to acknowledge and ‘bank’ past performance but the conversation should have a future focus. Although the nature of an individual’s work may be the same the way it is performed may have changed. Hence the conversation should consider not only the expectations and performance of the role but also cover, coaching needs, promotion prospects and longer-term development.
Finally, performance appraisal is not solely downward. Everyone is adapting to a new business reality and we need to review the effectiveness of our familiar ways of working. Regardless of your role, I would recommend that you seek feedback on your effectiveness from all of your stakeholders. It can be as simple as asking what have I done that has helped during this time? What have I done that hindered and what would you like me to start doing from now on? If you don’t ask, people are unlikely to tell you until it causes frustration.