Welcome to this edition of our Business Performance newsletter. For our new subscribers, we trust you will find here much that is useful for making you more effective in your profession or your business.
This month our Director, Leslie Allan, looks at just what is wrong with the traditional employee performance appraisal cycle. Disenchantment with what usually passes as performance management continues to grow. We can't fix what we don't understand. Here he crystallizes the key reasons why traditional appraisals fail to make the grade.
We all appreciate the importance of developing the potential of our employees. But why is employee development essential for business success? And how do we measure the real value of our development programs? Our second feature this month considers these important questions. Enjoy!
Stay Up to Date
Keep up with all of the latest news and commentary by regularly visiting our Business Performance blog. Check out our recent blog posts on employee learning and workplace coaching. While you are there, why not share your views with others?
- Are Your Internal Coaches Doing More Harm than Good?
Internal coaches can help your organization adopt a coaching culture without costing a lot of money. But a new survey shows that a lot more work needs to be done on selecting the right people for the job and preparing them for their roles.
- Survey: Organizations Evaluating Coaching Programs Poorly
As many businesses embrace coaching as a developmental tool, a new survey shows the majority are falling short of measuring the impact of their programs. This shortcoming puts at risk program funding as budgets tighten.
- Training Seminars: Who Is Responsible for the Learning?
Is there a difference between a seminar and a training session? And what implication does that hold for who is responsible for applying the learnings back on the job? Is it the presenter or the attendee?
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Performance Appraisal Blues
More and more managers are becoming increasingly frustrated with the traditional annual employee appraisal cycle. Managers don't have time for them, they have a tendency to fray employee-manager relationships and they don't help the organization reach its strategic objectives. In a recent article on attitudes to performance appraisals, I pointed to evidence that employees, managers and HR folk are rejecting their performance appraisal systems in droves.
What's wrong with the usual appraisal system? They are designed and rolled out with the best of intentions. How did they get so far off the tracks? Here is my summary of the key reasons most traditional employee performance management systems fail to get and maintain the respect of the people using them.
The usual errors from appraising managers include halo effect, recency bias, contrast effect, and so on. These types of rating errors are now well-researched and documented.
Lack of Feedback
The annual appraisal is sometimes an excuse for giving no meaningful feedback to the employee between appraisal meetings. Or worse still, it is some managers' normal way of operating.
With no feedback given throughout the year, emotional tension builds like a crescendo. Some managers then use the once-a-year event as a huge mallet with which to bludgeon the employee.
Ignores Systemic Deficiencies
Some 80% of performance shortfalls are due to failures in the organization's systems and processes. Focusing almost exclusively on individual performance is diverting attention from the real causes of poor performance.
Continue reading the other problems with performance appraisals
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Why Develop Employees?
I see a lot of people struggling with how to measure the effectiveness of their training programs. And, of course, there is no "one-size-fits-all" answer as every training program is different. A question that was put to me recently was whether measuring the level of employee retention is a relevant measure of usefulness. To put the question another way, "Is measuring the proportion of employees that stay on with my employer an indicator of the worth of my training program?" This question is usually posed about developmental type programs; that is, programs for which the employer is not expecting to see an immediate boost in work performance.
My first response to this kind of question is that we need to be careful as there are many causes of people staying in their job, other than the developmental program they attended recently. These other influences include factors both external to the organization, such as the current demand for work in the region, and internal factors, such as salary level and group camaraderie. To use this kind of measure effectively, then, you will need to put serious thought into how you will separate out these other non-training influences.
A second aspect you will need to consider is whether you are retaining the right kind of people. The people who are leaving may be the most talented, looking for greener pastures in which to apply their new skills. You may be enticing the people who are the least likely to add value to your organization to stay. So, my advice here is that if you are going to use level of retention as a measuring stick, then only measure the retention of your high performers and those with the most potential.
Continue reading about measuring the value of employee development
Are you wanting to get more out of your learning and development programs? Check out our comprehensive "how to" guide and toolkit, From Training to Enhanced Workplace Performance. Learn proven strategies and techniques for finding performance roadblocks, aligning training to real needs, developing training partnerships, engaging learners and demonstrating bottom-line impact. Download today!
Visit our web site at www.businessperform.com for lots of expert guidance and practical tools designed to help you get ahead of your competition. Also, be sure to pass this newsletter on to friends and colleagues who want to stay up with what's on. From all of us here on the Business Performance team, we wish you a productive month and look forward to communicating with you again soon.