A few more bloggers got in on the appraisal conversation. Check out what
- Bren over at Slacker Managers has to say in his post, Performance appraisals bite? Check out the comments, too, there are several good ones.
- Rosa offers a second post with sage advice for those of you who are stuck with performance appraisals in, 5 Questions for Your Performance Appraisals.
- Dick, over at Come Gather Round offers his perspective about why we don’t stop using appraisals by sharing an interesting quote from his book.
Both Bren and Rosa write about how to make the best of it for those who are stuck with doing performance evaluations (both acknowledge that the idea of scrapping them is alluring).
Their point is well taken that many managers need to determine how to do the best they can with the tools they have been asked to use. But that is not my purpose for this series of posts. Perhaps I will join in on that conversation another day……
I don’t want to lose my focus, which is to discuss why scrapping appraisals is the way to go and strategies for improving and optimizing performance.
Let´s just say that you have convinced your company that using performance appraisals is not worth the time and energy involved.
Imagine a future without appraisal……… The fog has lifted and the sun beams down onto teams. It´s gonna be a swell day.
Well, not quite. Stopping appraisals is a great step, but it does not mean that things will miraculously be wonderful.
A systemic approach to performance and results:
(Caveat – This is a blog, not a book or seminar. Unless this series is to go on for months, I need to keep things broad. I have mentioned and linked to several great resources for more details on the topic and you can feel free to ask any specific questions. You might want to start with Abolishing Performance Appraisals, by Tom Coens and Mary Jenkins.)
Organizations are systems and therefore any performance strategy or initiative worth it´s salt will address the various aspects of the system. This is likely one reason why corporations don´t change. You cannot implement one program or process and call it good.
If you really want to optimize performance, you will want to infuse the system with aligned practices, beliefs, and projects. Here´s what I mean by "the system:"??
- Structure: How is the work divvied up?
- Culture: What are the shared assumptions and beliefs? How do people generally feel about working for the company?
- Processes: Which processes influence the system´s performance? How are processes evaluated and maintained?
- Practices: How do people go about doing their work?
- Goals: What are the goals (stated and unstated) of the organization? To what degree are organization goals and group goals in alignment? Organization metrics: How is success defined and measured? How do individuals and teams know whether their work is meeting the organization´s goals?
- Communication and decision making processes: How and by whom are decisions made?
- Use of technology: How is technology being used? How are technology solutions enabling or getting in the way of results?
- Work flow: What are the steps that work follows from beginning to end? Where does the work flow slow down or stall?
- Skills: How are individuals and teams trained? Are there skills gaps? To meet the organization´s goal, what new skills will need to be developed?
- Management practices: What assumptions about management determine practices and policies? How is performance managed?
When improving a system, it is important to crisply define the desired outcomes, then look at how each element of the system can best support the desired outcomes.