In the first parts of this guide we discussed the performance appraisal process and the exploitation of its results within your company. If you do not feel comfortable with these topics, feel free to read them again.
Continuous Improvement Through Analysis, Benchmark and Communication
What are some basic things that we can do to improve appraisal systems?
I’ll deal with this in two sections, if I may, without getting into how to redesign an entire system. The first is to analyse and benchmark properly and the second is to communicate positively, early and often.
Analysing and benchmarking is critical. As we mentioned earlier, it is absolutely critical that you therefore understand exactly what skills are required of a team member for him or her to excel at the job. You may think that you have an efficient and productive marketing or sales team but are they really as good as you think they are? The simple answer is that, unless you are assessing and, equally importantly, benchmarking your sales and marketing teams against company and industry standards, you really can’t objectively know.
Ensure that you therefore understand which competencies are important and to what level they are required for your team members to be successful. The appraisal process is usually less than scientific; so make sure that you have clear performance standards.
Communicating early and often is also key, as is the type of tone you use with your team members. Since acceptance of any feedback is essential for any change in behaviour to occur, an appraisal system may become useless if it does not elicit positive reactions amongst team members. In addition, research clearly shows that performance appraisals are ineffective if there is a lack of regular communication, allowing for specific, timely and behaviour-linked feedback. In addition, when you communicate, ensure that you are organised, with all of the relevant documentation to hand.
Anything else you’d like to mention as we finish?
No, nothing else, except to reiterate the need to clearly identify the required competencies that are required for success within the job role and to ensure that you benchmark yourself clear against industry standards.