There seems to be a disconnect between human resources, managers and employees as to why employee performance reviews should be completed. Speaking as an HR professional, effective performance management serves two primary purposes: an evaluation to identify any performance gaps, good or bad, and feedback to inform the employee about the quality of performance. Performance appraisals may be used as a tool for career development, compensation and terminations; however, to make your performance management system successful, it is helpful to understand what you are trying to accomplish – what do you want from your employees?
Another way to look at it is through the employee’s eyes. From the employee’s point of view, the purpose of the performance appraisal is: tell me what you expect from me, tell me how well I have done it, help me improve, and reward me when I do well. What it comes down to is the employer wants accountability from employees and must communicate that in advance to them. The appraisal system provides the medium for this communication.
Managers take on the lion’s share of the appraisal process, since they have to write up the performance for every subordinate. Depending on the number of employees, this could be a time-consuming process. This is why many companies struggle to get full support from managers. Managers have a lot of work on their plate and many see the appraisal process as merely “busywork” that the HR department wants completed. Managers need to realize the importance of performance management.
Companies with successful performance management will outperform those that do not set effective goals and/or hold employees accountable for meeting those goals. As confirmed with the WorldatWork/Sibson 2010 Study on the State of Performance Management, “Sixty percent of study participants indicated company performance as better than average versus competitors.”
In order for the appraisal process to be successful, the process must have support from top management and managers should be coached on their contribution to the process, the benefits of an effective performance management system and how it can be used to get the most out of their employees.
Most employees want to perform well at work. If a manager does not clearly state the expectations for a given position, the employee won’t know what goals to strive for. Also, the employee does not have a sense of accomplishment, which can negatively impact employee engagement. Nobody wants to limp along in a job and hope for the best. If the employee knows what the goals are and is meeting those goals, he/she can feel good at the end of the day. Even if the employee falls short of the goal, with clear expectations, that employee will know where he/she stands and will strive to achieve that goal or ask for help.
If managers can effectively communicate their expectations and provide feedback to employees, employees will become more engaged in their work and, overall, perform at a higher level. Managers also need to hold employees accountable, which is accomplished by identifying performance gaps and providing quality feedback to the employee about his/her performance. Managers, who invest in the performance management system, will reap the benefits by having employees who are accountable for meeting the essential criteria for their positions. By having employees who meet, or exceed, the job expectations, this will, in turn, directly impact the bottom line and help their organization to succeed.
That’s why we bother with performance reviews.