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Relax! It is just performance appraisals !

Performance appraisals period are generally filled with nightmares for the HR team due to the following reasons:

1) HR sees a significant increase in their administrative overload, due to lack of compliance which results in frequent follow-ups and reminders to employees to complete the appraisals on time.

2) If an organization does not have performance appraisal software, the amount of workload is much higher. But sometimes, even when an organization uses performance appraisal software, some of the follow-ups are manually done.  Or HR team spends time in addressing software related support queries and issues.

3)  At the end of appraisals, usually a significant number of employees are dissatisfied with their appraisals.  Lot of time of HR goes in hearing the concerns of the employees and mediating between the manager and employees.

4) After appraisals, HR may still have to do lot of manual calculations to arrive at the salary revisions.

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If an organization focuses on the following areas, the performance appraisals will become easy and relaxing for everyone involved:

1) Defining a simple appraisal form is the first step to have greater compliance. If the form is big or has irrelevant rating dimensions which are not connected with the employees work, then the employees and manager will find it difficult to rate on them. So the aim is to have a simple and a relevant form that focusses only on the important performance goals and competencies.

2) The appraisal system should provide sufficient help to managers to pick up appropriate ratings for his employees. This will help managers to know when to give the highest rating and when to give the least rating for the employees, on a particular competency.  This can be called Rating Guidelines.

3) Defining a simple and easy appraisal workflow would also greatly help.  Self-appraisal, manager appraisal, one level of approval by a department head and a one-to one meeting with manager and employee would be a simple process which will be easily understood by all.

4) A system of continuous feedback, where manager can share his feedback to employees about his performance through-out the year would not only ease managers time in appraisals, but also remove the surprise element to employees.

5) Automatic reminders for people who do not complete the reviews on time, from the software and escalations to higher management would make sure that employees take appraisals seriously.

6) If the software takes care of the compensation management and increment calculations as well, it would greatly benefit.

7) Having a simple process alone would not suffice.  If an organization plans to go for a software, they would have to make sure that it is very user friendly and easy to use as well.

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Finally, one of the critical thing – HR and Managers should make sure that the actions and promises made during the one-on-one meetings are captured and acted upon.  That is the most important item out of the performance appraisals which will strengthen the manager-employee bonding.  HR has a critical role to play in this.

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