The Performance appraisal exercise is an opportunity to connect, gain trust and build deep relations.
Most of the organisations, on the other hand, treat it as an exercise to pitch managers against subordinates, reinforce the concept of who is the boss and erode trust.
We need to reverse the order in organisations.
How do we build trust through performance management? We can start by telling the truth, being transparent and having straightforward conversations, educating everyone in the company on the bell curve and having courage to answer tough questions on the same.
We can start the change by applying the 4 steps outlined below:
Share the Logic of Measurement:
It always helps to define what achievement percentage of an employee will lead to what kind of rating and how will a forced rating mechanism be used. Share the logic with every employee transparently. All the measurement mechanisms are relative and imperfect, making them transparent is the key.
Train Managers on Handling Performance Conversations
Most of the organisations train managers on various processes, SOPs and forms of the PMS process. Very few focus on the conversations. Managers should know the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of the process and be trained on having this conversation with employees. Role plays and practice situations always help. Managers should prepare by participating in role plays for handling tough conversations, and then they would be much better prepared to handle the actual conversation and many time be delighted by the fact that it was easy.
Provide Guiding Tools:
Make HR accountable for providing all the tools needed for such a conversation, including a ‘how to’ guide on the typical situation a manager might encounter. Research shows that there are typically 6 kind of situations which a manager encounters and these are easily manageable. Policy documents and FAQs should be readily available and managers trained on these. Preparing and sharing videos of the typical 6 situations can greatly enhance managerial skills.
Share Escalation Mechanisms:
Free yourself from the fear that most of the employees will use escalation. You will be pleasantly surprised on how infrequently this is used (not more than 3%). After few years this will be abandoned by the employees since the conversations will become meaningful and empowering.
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