Prune the Performance Appraisal, Perpetuate the Performance

Is there anyone in today’s workforce that has experienced a traditional-style performance review and walked away satisfied with the exchange?

A couple of recent posts describe the problem well and offer excellent alternativesAppraising the Performance of Performance Appraisals and Replacing the Performance Appraisal by the VeraSage Institute’s Ron Baker.

Several of Ron’s points really hit home with me.  The unfortunate truth is that in today’s break -neck business world, many managers take a tactical and often defensive approach to employee evaluation.  Early on in a previous role I held as a VP of operations, I remember looking at the daunting challenge of doing 26 employee reviews on top of the everyday “real work” that needed to get done.  I would get the flag from HR; fill out the cookie-cutter sheet – because that’s what I was forced asked to do; tell the employee to do the same; and then meet to compare answers.   The process was underdeveloped, incomplete and typically biased toward negativity.  It went against the way I managed and always felt unnatural.  In this limited scope the question was always “What do we need to fix?” as opposed to “How do we get more of the stuff that makes us great?”

In Replacing the Performance Appraisal, Ron describes strategies that are much more effective bringing out the best in people.  One of these is the Key Predictive Indicator.  More than just results-based measure of success (as in: “Did we hit X number in sales?”), the Key Predictive Indicator looks at the predictable behaviors that drive sustained success.

Ron echoes a reality that we can easily forget:  Human capital determines the performance capacity of any organization.”   Yet we use traditional-style reviews as a “one-size-fits-all approach that impedes relevant, authentic feedback to different individuals.”  Organizational change and innovation is carried out by the people thinking and working in different ways to achieve a common goal.  A good leader leverages these talents.  Ron makes another great point about this aspect: “Good leaders—like good coaches—design performance processes and tasks around a person’s strengths, and ignore—or make irrelevant—their weaknesses.”

I would further argue that a reliable, science-based personality assessment (such as Predictive Index®) is essential to helping build authentic baselines for identifying and understanding the measures that map directly to positive work results. By identifying the behavioral requirements of each job – requirements such as work style, pace and risk-taking – managers can more effectively pinpoint proper expectations, giving even the most novice manager an automatic baseline for performance appraisals, and a clear road map for both praise and essential conversations that will lead to performance improvement.

When strong managerial skills are paired with a reliable analytical tool, managers can be very strategic and deliberate about giving employees real, actionable feedback that will help them happily grow and positively impact the company.

How satisfied are you with your current performance appraisals?  Reach out to me if you would like to continue the conversation or hear more about the role Predictive Index can play.  If you are thinking to yourself, “Hmmm…not sure we have ‘good managerial judgment…’”   ADVISA can help with that too.   Email me to learn more about our impact areas.