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When is a Performance Snapshot not a performance appraisal?

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So you like the idea of con­tin­u­ous per­for­mance man­age­ment, that doesn’t focus pri­mar­i­ly on rat­ings and rank­ings, but you still need to iden­ti­fy top and bot­tom per­form­ers? Fear not! We have a sim­ple and fair solu­tion to help you do just this. Here at Clear Review we believe that annu­al appraisals are an out­dat­ed method of eval­u­at­ing staff, that doesn’t give a full and accu­rate pic­ture of a person’s per­for­mance. That’s why we believe organ­i­sa­tions should be using the Per­for­mance Snap­shot” instead. 

A Per­for­mance Snap­shot is done by answer­ing a num­ber of high­ly tar­get­ed mul­ti choice or rat­ing ques­tions. This can be done eas­i­ly by using the data that has been gath­ered from the inter­ac­tions staff have had with their man­ag­er over the last 12 months, includ­ing check-in con­ver­sa­tions, agile goals, and real time feed­back. By using the Per­for­mance Snap­shot and fol­low­ing 3 rules, your organ­i­sa­tion can make fair, fact based deci­sions on staff ratings. 

Keep ques­tions clear and sim­ple
Annu­al appraisals some­times pose a mul­ti­tude of ques­tions that could be tak­en in dif­fer­ent ways depend­ing on who is read­ing it. These ques­tions could lead to unclear and com­plex answers that don’t real­ly say much about the employ­ee and their per­for­mance over the last year. An arti­cle in the Har­vard Busi­ness Review’ talks about the prob­lem with ask­ing ques­tions such as Describe the ways the employee’s per­for­mance met your expec­ta­tions” or What are their sig­nif­i­cant accom­plish­ments?” as these ques­tions are too gen­er­al and open end­ed, result­ing in unclear results. 

Our sug­ges­tion to com­bat this is sim­ple. Ask man­agers clear and easy to answer ques­tions. For exam­ple, Has this per­son con­sis­tent­ly deliv­ered their objec­tives suc­cess­ful over this peri­od?” With a mul­ti­ple choice answer such as Incon­sis­tent­ly deliv­ered / con­sis­tent­ly deliv­ered / over-deliv­ered.” These sorts of ques­tions allow for fact based answers, rather than opin­ions, lead­ing to a fair­er rating.

Man­agers should find these ques­tions espe­cial­ly easy to answer, as they will be able to use the data that has been gath­ered on the Clear Review plat­form, which dis­plays a clear overview of the employee’s per­for­mance from the past year. 

Avoid bias
When answer­ing cer­tain ques­tions a manager’s opin­ion may get in the way of an accu­rate depic­tion of an employee’s per­for­mance. Even if they don’t mean to they might have pre­con­ceived ideas on a mem­ber of staff that could pre­vent them from think­ing about their per­for­mance objec­tive­ly. This works both ways, with aver­age employ­ees get­ting rat­ed bet­ter than they should due to favouritism, and good employ­ees get­ting rat­ed down due to tur­bu­lent work­ing rela­tion­ships. But a manager’s per­son­al rela­tion­ship should not have any bear­ing on a person’s rating. 

By stick­ing to clear, mul­ti­ple choice ques­tions with no room for ambi­gu­i­ty, the chance for bias to affect a man­agers answers is vast­ly low­ered. If the ques­tion is Describe the ways the employee’s per­for­mance met your expec­ta­tions” this gives the oppor­tu­ni­ty for man­agers to con­strue the ques­tion in a vari­ety of ways. But if the ques­tion is has this per­son reached their goals’ with an option of Did not reach set goals / Met set goals / Exceed­ed set goals, and the man­ag­er is bas­ing their answer around data on a sys­tem, they should be able to give an hon­est and unbi­ased answer to this more easily. 

Use a 3 point scale
When it comes to rat­ing staff we sug­gest not com­pli­cat­ing mat­ters more than you need to. By intro­duc­ing a sim­ple 3 point scale to your organ­i­sa­tion you elim­i­nate any grey areas and avoid annoy­ing staff with words like sat­is­fac­to­ry’ or that they meet expec­ta­tions’?. We believe it is bet­ter to use the rat­ings On Track, Off Track or Excep­tion­al. Most of your staff mem­ber will nat­u­ral­ly fall under the On Track’ cat­e­go­ry, which is pos­i­tive but avoids the shades of grey’ between mul­ti­ple mid­dle-rank­ing ratings. 

As well as appeas­ing the major­i­ty of staff, this sys­tem allows you to iden­ti­fy the top achiev­ers and those not per­form­ing as well as they should do. Your top achiev­ers can then be reward­ed how­ev­er your organ­i­sa­tion sees fit, incen­tivis­ing them to keep up their good work the in the com­ing year. And the bot­tom per­form­ers can be reviewed and steps can be tak­en to improve their per­for­mance mov­ing forward. 

Mov­ing for­ward with your new sys­tem
Most staff should be hap­py with this new sys­tem, as it is easy to under­stand and should give a fair­er pic­ture of staff per­for­mance. Just remem­ber to com­mu­ni­cate the new sys­tem as ear­ly as pos­si­ble and explain why you are mak­ing the changes. There are plen­ty of resources on this on the Clear Review web­site — https://​www​.clear​review​.com/ and you can sign up here to ensure you don’t miss any of our upcom­ing con­tent here.

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