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careersMost employee performance reviews take place once a year and require managers to evaluate their subordinates on a battery of skills and their accomplishments from the preceding year. This practice is widely accepted as an essential and valuable tool throughout the business world.

However, the reality is that the traditional annual appraisals practised by a majority of organisations are fundamentally flawed. Research has shown that they are ineffective, unreliable and unsatisfactory and they can also be counterproductive. That is why leading organisations (including Accenture, Adobe, Deloitte and Microsoft) are replacing the annual evaluation cycle with ongoing feedback and coaching that focus on developing employees in the future given their current performance. This approach entails that at the end of every major project, or once a quarter (if employees have long-term assignments), managers or team leaders should answer the following four questions about their subordinates:

1. Given what I know of this person’s performance, and if it were my money, would I award him/her the highest possible compensation increase and bonus?” This measures the employee’s overall performance and value to the organisation on a five-point scale ranging between ‘strongly agree’ (5) to ‘strongly disagree’ (1).

2. “Given what I know of this person’s performance, would I always want him/her to be part of my team?” This measures the employee’s ability to work well with others on a five-point scale ranging between ‘strongly agree’ (5) to ‘strongly disagree’ (1).

3. “Is this person is at risk of low performance?” This identifies problems that might harm the customer or the team on a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ basis.

4. “Is this person ready for a promotion today?” This measures the employee’s potential on a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ basis.

The answers to these four questions provide a clear depiction of the actual performance of the person under evaluation at that point in time and eliminates inherent subjectivity and personal bias of the person conducting the evaluation by asking team leaders what they would do with each team member rather than what they think of that individual.

– Fauzia Kerai Khan
The writer is Chief Consultant, i&b Consulting,Training, e-learning. fauzia@iandbconsulting.com