Is your HR Policy allowing your Staff Appraisals to be effective?

appraisal thumbs up or ok sign or constructive criticism thumb down

Staff Appraisals are a great tool for problem solving and gives the perfect opportunity to give constructive feedback & staff praise as deserved/required. Is your HR policy set up to make your staff appraisals effective and if so are you using staff reviews to their full potential?

Companies often know that annual staff appraisals should be done but the actual time and resources to do so often mean they are put on the back burner. The resulting staff review may become a hurried tick box exercise (at the umpteenth request), or never even done. This means that the vital one-on-one employer-employee communication of this exercise – providing positive work incentive, advice for improvement and an opportunity to bring forward any unheard work issues – is lost! There is little doubt that continued appraisal abuse like this will lead to reduced staff morale and productivity.

Preparation takes too long to fit in my busy schedule if I don’t just tick the boxes!

As an employer, you probably want to receive the full potential of giving constructive feedback and praise in your annual reviews. To do this each individual employee’s strengths, weaknesses and progress must be identified for discussion in the review. If you have only a couple of employees then this task may not be too difficult, however, accurately keeping track of additional employees over time quickly becomes an arduous and/or timely task.

I’m not an elephant; I can’t accurately recall every employee’s progress over an entire year!

The incentive of imminent review in preceding weeks may spur extra productivity from an employee but it is important that these weeks are not the crux of the review. An effective annual appraisal addresses ongoing work including accurate recall and discussion of the employee’s performance, effort and progression over the entire year (not just the last week or so). With this in mind, thorough preparation should be completed before each annual appraisal to ensure the feedback fairly reflects the year’s work of each employee.

It is so time consuming to make annual appraisals effective that if it wouldn’t be so detrimental I would remove them from the HR policy completely! …So what can be done to ensure that the full potential of staff appraisals is reached whilst making it more cost effective?

Quarterly reviews may be the hot-fix for your HR policy. Performing quarterly reviews alongside your main annual review gives immediate production boosts:

  • ‘Imminent review incentive increasing production’ four times a year instead of once a year
  • Higher levels of ongoing positive work attitude encouraged by more timely praise
  • Faster improvement of work standards, where needed, through more regular constructive feedback
  • Work issues caught sooner avoiding some problem escalation
  • Higher effort levels from employee loyalty due to stronger direct positive employer-employee contact

Hang on a minute – I thought we were looking at increasing cost efficiency? Simple math tells me that holding quarterly reviews would mean four times the amount of effort required?

Now we are at the real meat of the matter. Quarterly reviews are not a duplication of the annual review, they are an aid for the annual review (as well as providing the other positives stated above). The idea is to combine four simple quick tasks to replace one longer, complex, and in some cases (where constructive feedback is strongly required) rather daunting task.

It doesn’t take an elephant to recall the productivity, punctuality, work relations etc. for just the last three months of an employee’s work, and jot down a score and praise/feedback for each. Each consecutive quarterly review notes can then be compared to the previous review to accurately determine progress during that period. This is a much simpler task that may require a couple of minutes thought rather than a complex consideration of a whole year’s ups and downs.

Finally for the annual review, the quarterly notes can be combined as hard evidence to give an overview of the full year (in particular this may be a great aid in companies where annual reviews also mean pay reviews). Essentially, using the quarterly review method, a more effective staff appraisal system is provided whilst splitting the work load into simpler, quicker segments easier to fit into a schedule – no more skipped or wasted reviews!